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.

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)

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.

What is Breathwork? (Part 3 of more)

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)

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.

What is Breathwork? (Part 1 of more)

The way is sometimes easy, smooth, a downhill trip.  It happens naturally as we go through life.  We have an insight, a transformation.  Sometimes we recognize that it’s the result of days or weeks  or even years spent mulling over things, facing hard facts and processing our emotions.   And sometimes it seems to happen spontaneously, out of nowhere … Poof!  A major obstacle is gone, a tenacious habit has changed, a depression has lifted.  

I suffered from depression from late childhood until my mid-20’s.  I remember clear as anything the day it disappeared.  I was sitting in the living room of a house in Missoula, Montana that has since been demolished.  I can still see the wallpaper, the billowing white curtains, the light flooding through the bay window, the people in the room with me and where they were sitting.   I looked over at my then boss and suddenly felt a weight or energy, don’t really know how to describe it, lifting up from my shoulders and head.  The depression that had hounded me almost constantly for as long as I could remember was gone. 

It’s nice when it happens that way.  It’s very nice.  But it’s rare.  Mostly we have to put some work into it. 

The most effective technique I’ve found to help us do that work is, without a doubt, Breathwork. 

I’m going to write a lot about breathwork, but at the same time I’d really like to know what you’ve found to help you move on.  What works for you?

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

Quotes for Life: Robert Moore