BREATHE… How often do you hear this in a yoga or movement class? It sounds so redundant but sometimes when you hear it you realize you forgot to do it 🙂
Breathing happens naturally (eventually)…
This is what makes it so powerful: we need to do it, and by choosing how to do it we can create impact in our bodies and minds.
On a wet cold Friday evening I was about to discover just how significant this impact can be.
I was recommended to try breathwork… the name sounded a bit like a challenge, and the requirements for this event were to bring comfy clothes and an open mind – not too difficult for me. This session took place at the Yogisi studio and was led by Jayasri and her partner. The location is modern, classy and beautiful, and I was certainly at ease in this setting I knew from yoga classes.
There were 14 of us embarking on this breathwork journey, and I wasn’t the only rookie. Thankfully, Jayasri took time to welcome us all and explain what we will do and what we may expect from this session. The “work” sounds simple enough: lay comfortably on your back and breathe in and out through your mouth without pausing. For a while it may be easy, but if it’s done for a full hour then things may happen – one can never know what, but we were informed about the following possible “side effects”: tingling sensations in the body, cramping, emotional rollercoasters, trauma releases, spiritual encounters… Intense!
It may sound a bit crazy, but this intense, continued, connected breathing is a mechanism to crack through repressed feelings, traumatic experiences, anxiety and other mental barriers from our subconscious. So there I was, thinking I signed up for some special pranayama session, processing the fact that I had no clue what was going to happen next.
After the extensive (and to me very informative) intro, we moved around a bit to warm up before lying down on the mat and starting the breathing practice. This so-called “connected breath” involves using only the mouth instead of the nose, inhaling fully and consciously, releasing the whole body with the exhale, and continuing straight away with the next cycle. We kicked off with gong sounds and vibrant, tribal music … as far as I can remember before fully focusing on the breath.
We were advised that the “side effects” apparently kick in after about 10 minutes, I can’t tell what time it was when I got hit pretty hard by cramps in my hands. I was struggling but got a lot of support and relief from Jayasri who guided me through an alternate breathing pattern for a few minutes. The pain released and let way to probably the most liberating and empowering feeling I had felt in years! I had an emotional rush of joy, freedom, and truly thought that I can do *anything”! A trip powered by my own breath – insane!
The journey continued and took me many places, back to my first home and my family, to the core of my values, to experiences and encounters I probably never processed properly. It was an extremely intense and truly revealing ceremony that released many triggers in my mind, body and soul – a very very personal journey.
I won’t elaborate more on this, as the experience will vary for each person. From a purely physical challenge, down to a face-off with your inner demons: anything is possible if you keep on breathing!
What is pretty much guaranteed is the feeling of relief and physical exhaustion after such a journey. At the end of the session we shared some vague impressions in the group, everyone still somehow dazed, digesting what they had gone through. I was speechless. And grateful. And safe.
Maybe something unlocked in me, physically or mentally. At any rate, I can say breathwork is WORK, and it WORKS ♥
PS: Last ceremony for the year is on 13 December (see Facebook event). For more dates, see Jayasri’s website: www.essentiallypeace.ch