The type of breathwork that I practice is an active breathing meditation taught by David Elliott and is genius in its simplicity. It’s a two phase breath (or three phase breath, depending on when you start counting): you breath deep into your belly, then into the chest immediately after, then you breath out, all through the mouth. And this we do for a while. This is it!
Now, why would you want to do breathwork? There’s this powerful thing called ‘feeling the feelings’ that seems to be essential for feeling alive. Most of us have a chronic habit of suppressing our feelings, which leads to anxiety, stress, depression, the storing of emotional trauma in the body and being trapped in our mind. Breathwork has this curious ability of bypassing the mind while letting us really feel the feelings. While doing breathwork it’s very difficult to keep suppressing feelings, so whatever lives in our bodies comes to the surface to be fully felt and subsequently released. Although breathwork can be an intense experience, afterwards we feel relaxed and light. It’s like a deep energetic and emotional cleansing.
The more we release these suppressed feelings, the more we can live and be our authentic selves. It’s like the layers of conditioning and core beliefs get peeled away and the person underneath gets the chance to thrive and really live their life. Breathwork can be done to specifically work on this deep cleansing/letting go, or can be done as a check-up or regular practice, when we feel we haven’t been living in the flow of life or if we’ve experienced an emotionally challenging situation.
The whole concept of being with the feelings, being with the moment isn’t new of course and can be found in many healing and spiritual practices, but breathwork has a directness that I really like. Breathwork creates a safe space that allows the body to be with feelings that were too much at the time they happened and were somehow stored in the body. Major shifts can happen within a session. It’s a simple technique that can be done with or without a practitioner, in a group or just by yourself. Doing breathwork in a group is also a magical experience. Like with any meditation technique, doing it with other people deepens the experience and raises the energy in the room.