Wanna get high? Breathwork is creating a buzz on the holistic wellness scene as a way of rapidly releasing stagnant “shadow material” from the Second Chakra. Practitioner Erin Telford reports…Images: Via Disco Rat on Behance.com
The first time I ever experienced Breathwork was on a yoga retreat in Nicaragua. The plan was to do some Prana Yama before dinner. No big deal, I thought. We’ll do some Nadi Shodana, some meditation, nice and mellow. I had no idea what I was in for and that this practice would change my life.
We started out lying on our backs on our mats. Luke Simon, our teacher, instructed us to take a deep open mouth breath into the belly, the second into the heart space and exhale out of the mouth. No big deal. I actually thought for a minute that I might get bored! Little did I know…
After about ten minutes, the vibration in the space started to crackle and the jungle backdrop only magnified the energy that was starting to flow. You could hear the ocean waves thundering onto the beach, the wind whipping in the trees, the buzzing of the jungle and all of its creatures, and the gentle accompaniment of some beautifully channeled chants and drumming. Things were about to get wild.
Luke asked us to yell as loud as we could on the count of 3…2…1. We let it rip. Normally I would be really self-conscious being asked to scream but it was easy in a group and everyone went for it. It felt AMAZING to yell. I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that in such a neutral, safe and supported way.
Then things got really interesting – because once I opened up that channel, the tears started to flow. One of my very favorite acupuncture professors used to say, “Anger is the oil slick on an ocean of grief.” Once I roared out my heartache, a huge surge of sadness started to well up in my body. I really resisted that pain at first. I wanted to close my mouth and swallow it all back down where it came from.
But finally, I completely let myself go and gave myself the experience I truly needed. It was one of the most profound healings I’ve ever had in my life.
Luke moved fluidly around each one of us, holding a hand, stroking a head, applying an essential oil, placing the perfect vibrational crystal on each of us. When it was all over, I felt the most open and soft that I think I’ve ever felt. The breath acted like a spiritual Brillo pad and stripped away the bristly stickiness of resentments and pain. The afterglow was one of the highest natural highs I’ve ever experienced. It felt warm, intimate, loving, a little drunk feeling, and like a soul cleanse. I wanted to hug everybody!
After we shared our experiences and closed the circle, I grabbed Luke and was like, “What did we just DO and where did you learn that??” He told me he had learned this Breathwork from a man named David Elliot in L.A. I was hooked and ran to my room to see how I could get to study with David as soon as possible!
I’ve since been studying with David since May, and his classes are really like Life Training. His message is Self Love, and he teaches healthy ways to balance the exchange between giving and receiving. When we’re filling our selves up with love, the Universe can feed us and we can experience grace and miracles. When we’re seeking love from outside ourselves, it can lead to pain, suffering, aggression addiction and ultimately spiritual illness.
Here’s what you need-to-know about Breathwork before you dive in:
Know that David Elliott learned Breathwork from a healer named Tim Heath that he apprenticed with. It is a rebirthing breath technique that was popular in the 1970’s.
Know that sessions can be done privately, in a group setting, or even by phone or Skype.
Know that in a private session, you have the opportunity to go deeply into what is keeping you stuck or limited in your life. In a group session, there is usually a universal human theme that is chosen to focus on.
Know that active breathing happens for about 30-35 minutes although you will completely lose track of time and be in your own world.
Know that during this time, you may feel extreme tingling or vibrating sensations throughout your body, and that this is the sensation of spirit moving freely through your body.
Know that every experience is different for every person depending on what they are working with, where they want to go with the work and what their body and soul feels ready to release on any given day.
Know that our emotional experiences of our family, our creativity, our sexuality, all of our relationships, and any trauma live in our low belly in our Second Chakra. This is where a lot of our murkier, shadow material can hang out – shame, guilt, humiliation, things we don’t want to admit to ourselves or to others, and experiences we had before we had any coping mechanisms to process them.
Know that when we direct consistent attention to this area by infusing it again and again with our life force, things begin to shake loose. We are effectively “stirring our own pot” of a lifetime of emotional experience. We then draw this breath up to the Heart to be purified and transformed, and then exhale to let it all go.
Know that the euphoric after-glow from a Beathwork session can last for hours, or even days.
Erin will also be hosting group sessions on: