“What are you doing Thursday night?” my friend,Pam, asked in her sweet Texas drawl.
“I don’t know...why?”
“Come over and breathe with me. You’ll love it.”
Had it been a different person, I may have passed on this invitation. My business is always busy on Thursday evenings, filled with clients wanting plump pretty skin for weekend parties and events. But this is Pam. Nickname: “Same Same”. Three years ago she spontaneously invited me to take a trip to China with her and it was an exceptional experience. One of the best journeys of my life, really. Travel can be stressful and strains the most solid friendships! From Beijeng to Shanghai, Pam and I were super compatible travel mates. Looking back, I think the thirteen hour train ride (complete with bunk beds) had sealed the deal for our friendship. We were headed to Xian, home of the infamous Terra Cotta Soldiers. The train traveled unnervingly fast throughout the night, twisting and turning around sharp bends. It was quite terrifying. The next morning when we arrived to Xian, we were exhausted. Pam rose from her bunk and bravely navigated the trip to the kitchen looking for much needed coffee. The brightly lit kitchen was filled with a large boisterous group of Chinese men sitting and talking with coffee cups on the counter in front of them. When Pam requested coffee, they seemed confused. She did her best sign language for a typical cup of joe only to return to our cabin with two cups of hot water and a perplexed expression on her face. We realized that there were no tea bags on the entire train and everyone on board was drinking hot water! Between the language barrier and sleep deprivation, we both quietly sipped our water. Then the giggle attack crept in. You know, when a laugh attack is blended with a little crazy? We were two very under caffeinated baggy eyed Americans that day! China forged a bond in our friendship, never to be broken.
“Bring a yoga mat, pillow and blanket!” Pam’s text chimed through as I was dressing in the required ‘loose comfortable clothing’ that Thursday .
On a cozy Autumn evening with a crackling fire, a small group of women and one brave man gathered in Pam’s comfy cottage. Our facilitator, Jane, asked us to fill out paperwork that involved eight very interesting questions. In a soft and gentle way (with a pretty British accent) she discussed each individual’s answers to the questions, and assisted us with an affirmation to use while breathing. I meditate daily and understand the power of a positive affirmation. Affirmations keep my heart and brain on track and prevent chatter during meditation. Jane’s suggested affirmations were chosen for the individual’s “Personal Lie”. The Personal Lie is something that we tell ourselves every day, subconsciously. It is a thought that rules our life. It’s most likely something negative that stems from our childhood or even our birth! The affirmation used during Breathwork is usually something positive and opposite of your Personal Lie. Jane helped me identify my Personal Lie and gave me an affirmation”.
As we prepared to breathe, the group started to spread out yoga mats, blankets and pillows, making it feel like an adult sleepover. Pam dimmed the lights and slipped under her blanket as Jane instructed us to start breathing a circular breath, meaning you don’t pause at the top or bottom. It is a continual breath with your mouth fully open, raising the chest (not the abdomen). For the first fifteen minutes, I was aware of my breath and concerned that I wasn’t doing it correctly. Jane encouraged us to keep breathing and I soldiered on. The breathing became easier and I concentrated on my affirmation and fell into a natural rhythm. I began to feel a tingling sensation in my legs. It moved into my back and hands. My entire body was vibrating and it felt heavenly!
Sondra Ray, the creator and ‘Mother of Liberation Breathing’ describes Breathwork as “A Spiritual Therapy that lines up the subconscious, the conscious and the super conscious so the life force can fully flow through us. This means our body, mind and spirit are fully integrated and in balance, producing an experience of heaven on earth”. Breathing empowers a person to self heal by recognizing toxic thoughts, old patterns and behaviors that are no longer serving them. After all, we are our thoughts. “Every relationship, every experience is happening because of your thoughts!” Test this theory: Sit in your home and observe the furniture, photos and decor. Everything in your living environment is there because of a thought. It is the same with the rest of your life. Our life reflects our thoughts!
Breathwork helps you release old thought patterns and clears out old grievances. My first breathing session was like a ‘picture show’, meaning several visions of my childhood passed through my mind. Breathing activated memories that were stored in my subconscious and each vision collated with my Personal Lie. It was incredible! As the session started to fade to an end, a warm soothing peace surrounded my body and my breath went back to normal. Beautiful music wafted through the room and the group slowly stirred as Jane asked if anyone felt a desire to share. The experience can be super emotional and private and she made it clear that it was our decision to share or not. “What’s said in the room, stays in the room”, she said with a gentle smile.
Sitting in a cloud of tranquility and trust, the group began to describe their breathing experience. The woman next to me quietly wept as she revealed that her session had led her to realize that it was time to forgive her ex-husband. She was nowhere near forgiving him before the session! It was very healing for her family.
The affirmation that I received that night is sacred and I now breathe on a regular basis. My life is forever changed! Sondra Ray says Breathwork “can save a person years of therapy” . The physiological-psychological-spiritual equation of this technique is so universal that it applies to every person, regardless of their belief system. It works with who you are and where you’re at in your life. It is a pure harmless approach to self healing. In the past, I dabbled in regular therapy. Had I known that my very own breath had the ability to make me feel the joy and peace I was seeking, I would have started breathing years ago.
I love it so much that I am becoming a certified Breathworker!
I believe that if the entire world practiced conscious circular breathing, we would live on a much happier planet. I’m willing to help with that. One person at a time.