On Friday I had a blissful and transformational breath experience just practicing alone at home, and it inspired me to commit to conscious breathing every day this week and to try to write some blogs to share about it.
I have a workshop coming up on Sunday, and I think I’m the only person currently running group breathwork in Oxford. Although the media talk about it as a current wellness trend - most recently the Guardian called the experience ‘A Cosmic Orgasm’ - I know there’s a lot of people that haven’t heard of it, who aren’t sure exactly what breathwork is, or why they should do it.
Experiences can be can be very varied, so I’ll be keeping it personal and talking about a few of my most profound encounters with the practice and how these have changed my life over almost four years.
This is a practice from which people frequently report deep emotional healing, bliss states, connection with the dead, connection with God, full-body orgasms, trauma release - to name a few of the more intense experiences. But it’s best to not come to the practice with too much expectation, as each experience is unique. At first, the physical effects are often most noteworthy – particularly the vibrations of energy you may feel in your body, of the kind which most people have never experienced before.
So back to Friday…
Some things hadn’t gone my way in my work and I’d got into a self-critical funk that had lasted a few days. Relief from yoga and reassurances from loved ones was only temporary. Eventually, I decided I’d have to take the medicine I prescribe, and just be fully present with the discomfort and breathe into it.
I gave up my work plans and my desire to do or to try to fix things, and instead lay on my bed. I played a lovely free recording from Clarity Breathwork (my teacher Anthony’s teachers) which I find helpful when struggling with something or someone. It assists us to find the root of our issues in our own limiting beliefs.
As I breathed I started to see more of what was underneath the tension in my body, the feelings of not enough that had been rising, the anxiety, the need to control, the unease that I’d been feeling.
I was guided back to my core belief that I wasn’t loved: The wound that so many of us sustain from life's rejections, and that along with not being enough, is at the bottom of so much of our fear, suffering and neurosis.
I realised that I had subconsciously been seeing the events that had unfolded in my life as proof that I wasn’t loved. That was why they were so painful, not because of the situations in themselves. And I was making things worse for myself because I was acting from this wounded place. As this realisation brought up tears, the recording asked me to consider: "What if the opposite was true?"
With this thought in mind, I put on the Breath of Bliss 'I am Love' audio - a heart-expanding, self-love-inducing, vibration-raising breathwork audio. Using the breath, movement and sound I reminded myself that I was the source of Love - the ancient truth that what we are grasping for outside ourselves is always waiting for us, within ourselves.
When I went to meet my boyfriend that night, he was pleasantly surprised to see such a difference in me - and 48 hours later the effect of this self-healing experience has yet to fade. It's not always this easy to shift perspective with one breathwork, but of all the healing practices I've tried, this is the most effective I know.
If you would like to join me in my upcoming workshop please visit Eventbrite.