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The Power of Awareness: A Journey Through Breathing

Every year or two I get a cold which turns into a cough which turns into bronchitis.  Until it hurts to breathe, I don’t pay much attention to my breathing on a day to day basis.  Same is true for most people …  Unless it affects our quality of life, we take breathing for granted.  Yet we do it– inhale and exhale—20,000 or so times a day. I found that figure astonishing when I first read about it.  Is there anything else we do that frequently, ever? …Approximately 70 percent of our body’s waste is excreted through our lungs, breathing affects all sorts of physical conditions from Renaud’s disease to blood pressure and breathing expands inner awareness to the point where it becomes a form of psychotherapy. Read more about the power of our breath in The Power of Awareness – A Journey Through Breathing in Sibyl Magazine May edition.

 

Body and Breath: Two Gateways to Healing

Two of the most powerful and effective tools of healing are the ones the client brings to the therapy session themselves:  their body and their breath…Two modalities that put the body or the breath as an equal partner with the emotions and the mind are Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Rebirthing Psychotherapy (breathwork).  Read about how body awareness and breathing can transform therapy sessions and help people move through difficulties quickly and safely.  Body and Breath:  Two Gateways to Healing by Catherine Dowling and Brenda Doherty in Inside Out, the journal of the Irish Association for Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy.

Breathing In A Circle: Transforming Consciousness Through Breathing

The Breathing Circle Movement is now world wide.  It provides an affordable, accessible way for people to experience breathwork with a trained therapist.  Read about the breathing circle movement and the evidence for the effectiveness of breathwork in Positive Health Online and on PsychCentral.

The Global Inspiration Conference – Radical Awareness Through Breathing

Next month I’m giving a keynote speech at the annual Global Inspiration Conference.  And because it’s taking place in Ireland, I have the added bonus of a trip home.  I’m talking about Radical Awareness, the kind of awareness that comes when we meditate, breathe deeply, pray…or it just comes spontaneously.  Science calls Radical Awareness altered consciousness.  But before Western psychology as we know it developed,  states of Radical Awareness were called mystical and they were quite “normal”.  And a Gallop Poll from 2002 showed that over 80 million American adults have had a profound experience of awakening that influenced the course of their life. Read more

Rebirthing: Breathwork For Transformation

 

Yoga Therapy Ireland Issue 52

Yoga Therapy Ireland Issue 52

Article on breathwork for personal development published in Yoga Therapy Ireland.  Scroll down to page 12.  Rebirthing:  Breathwork for Transformation in Yoga Therapy Ireland

What is Breathwork? (Part 4 of more)

 

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We can see what’s happening on the outside of a breathwork session. 

But what’s happening on the inside?

Well, sometimes it’s physical.  The breather may feel tingling in their hands or feet, changes in their body temperature or localized pain.  They may experience waves of energy moving upwards, gathering in intensity until they come cascading back downwards after reaching the head.  The breather may see fabulous swirling colors, hear sounds, experience deep relaxation or feel their whole body vibrate with aliveness and vitality.

Sometimes there are memories from the distant and not-so-distant past, memories that have been forgotten and ones that have never been forgotten.  These memories are more real than anything we normally recall because in breathwork they are multi-dimensional.  In other words, it’s more like reliving than remembering.  Although the memories can be very real, the breather always knows where they are – lying down in their breathwork therapist’s consulting room.

And here is where breathwork takes us to one of the basic spiritual experiences – the reality of paradox.  Linear time disappears.  We can be deep in the past and fully in the present all at once.

There’s a place for emotions –sadness, fear, anger, pain of loss, disgust.  But also joy, exuberance, contentment, peace or satisfaction so intense it’s physical as well as emotional.  The end result is a growing sense of lightness, freedom and well-being.

And there’s a place too for mind.  In the same way as our sense of time dissolves into something more fluid, the usual limitations to thinking also fall away.  We cease to think in the forms and structures of everyday life and the results can be valuable and profound insights into ourselves, others and life itself.  These insights are like little epiphanies, moments of real and lasting change.

In other words, breathwork is a spiritual experience that integrates all the parts of who we are – mind, body, spirit – and connects us with the Life Force in a very real, tactile, experiential way.

Tell us about your spiritual practice?

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Alexander Lowen on Breathing

What is Breathwork? (Part 3 of more)

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Breathwork takes many forms:  Holotropic, Vivation, Resonance, Integrative, Transformational, Breakthrough, Clarity, Rebirthing and many more.  Some rely on hyperventilation which is controversial in the medical community, others rely on relaxed breathing.  The form of breathwork I practiced – as both breather and therapist – and have written about extensively for nearly 20 years is Rebirthing Breathwork.  So when I use the term Breathwork, I’m talking about Rebirthing Breathwork.

The breathwork experience is one of those spiritual states that are difficult to explain unless you’ve been there.  Let’s begin with a description of a Breathwork session.

If you were to watch someone practicing Rebirthing Breathwork, you might see their chest moving, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes hardly moving at all.  You might see them shift about, yawn, scratch.  There might be some crying, sometimes quite a lot of crying.  There might also be some laughter.  And, at the end of the session, you might see someone so deeply relaxed that they haven’t’ a tense muscle in their body.  You might also notice radiant skin, luminous eyes and a face that, at least temporarily, looks years younger and more relaxed.

But nothing you can see would give you any indication of the depth and wonder of the world you can’t see, the world breathwork opens up inside the person who is breathing.

Note:  Rebirthing Breathwork has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the regression technique psychotherapists in Colorado called rebirthing, a technique that led to tragedy a few years ago.  They are totally different practices that have no connection whatsoever with each other.

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

What is Breathwork? (Part 2 of more)

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If you live primarily in your mind, getting beyond it can be a tough job.  When it comes to getting beyond mind, Breathwork can be your best friend.

So what is Breathwork?  It’s using your breathing to access the world inside each of us, the fascinating, jumbled, wonderful world of contradictions, the good and the bad and the in between, the mind, the soul, the body the spirit that make up all of us. 

We breathe all day, every day.  We do it without thinking much about it – until we get asthma or emphysema or a lungful of unwanted smoke.    But breathing is the only bodily function that everyone can immediately bring under conscious control. 

Breathwork takes that free and natural bodily function and consciously controls it, molds it into patterns that are designed to open up our awareness to the spiritual nature of ourselves and our world.

There are many forms of breathwork.  It’s an integral part of yoga.  Awareness of breathing is essential to most forms of meditation and breathing itself is the central focus of some  meditation practices. 

The form of Breathwork I’m talking about is consciously controlled breathing and it’s more vigorous than traditional meditation.  In Breathwork, the breather alters their breathing pattern noticeably for 45 minutes to over an hour and the results can be spectacular.  We travel far beyond the mind while taking the mid with us on the journey.

Have you experience of breathwork in any form? 

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Giovanni Papini