What is Breathwork?
Breathwork aka conscious connected breathing is a powerful approach to self-exploration and healing that integrates insights from modern consciousness research, various depth psychologies, transpersonal psychology, Eastern spiritual practices and mystical traditions of the world.
Breathwork offers an alternative approach to conventional models of Psychotherapeutic Practice, Counselling and Therapy and can take us far beyond traditional cognitive therapies to provide a deeper, non-verbal path to healing. Although self-inquiry through verbal discussion can be useful, with Breathwork it is only an entry point for a deeper inner awareness. Focusing on sensory awareness via breath, self observation, and movement as doorways into conscious awareness, we explore a deeper reality beyond the "mind" and our thoughts. Allowing a shift away from our conditioned perception and reaction to our world to a more responsive and authentic awareness. This shift is achieved by being prepared to self-investigate, to explore, and really see ourselves, and through re-learning and remembering how to feel our feelings.
Breathwork does not set out to 'accomplish' anything, and we do not use a constructed process or any conventional method in an attempt to reach a goal. Instead we immerse ourselves in whatever arises in our experience and embrace it. Not trying to move away from, or distract ourselves in a desperate attempt to avoid our experience. We learn to be consciously present throughout whatever emerges for us.
We learn how to live in the Present Moment. We learn Mindfulness.
The process involves being guided through a practice of ‘conscious connected breathing’, a breathing pattern that is comparable to normal, regular breathing yet different than the breathing which happens automatically in a normal state of rest. One of the main differences is that in breathwork the in-breath or inhalation is more active and deeper and through the nostrils only. There is also an emphasis on not leaving any pause between the inhalation and the exhalation, between the in-breath and the out-breath and the following in breath.
The out-breath of conscious connected breathing is inactive and a process of simply letting go of the air and of all the tension, a relaxing of muscles and any any tightness or sense of contracting held in the body.
While practicing conscious connected breathing you are encouraged to maintain an accepting attitude to anything that arises and any experiences that occur, while simultaneously avoiding getting caught up in or attached to any interpretations around these experiences.
While practicing breathwork you may come into contact with unresolved uncomfortable experiences, in the form of tensions, aches and pains, (feeling tingling sensations or a feeling of vibrating, or an overwhelming sense of tiredness) in the body, or in the form of heightened emotional, psychological experiences such as fear, anger, grief or any other state of mind. As the breathwork session continues, the breathing disturbances change and can be resolved, and the original, historical and distressing events can become integrated.
It also helps you step back from emotional reactions and access the intelligence of your own body-mind, and establish new patterns and responses in your life. It offers an increased freedom of expression, and a connection to your true self as well as an overall feeling of personal empowerment
Breathwork is a powerful tool for pretty much anyone. Most of us live in cultures that value the mind and thinking as of primary importance. We are taught and encouraged to intellectually process and re-process our problems and use the mind to ‘figure out’ a solution. Sometimes we believe we understand them, but things still don't change because we haven't addressed the emotions and energy that are still lodged in the body.
Stagnant energy manifests as limiting beliefs (I can't do it, I'm afraid, I'm not worthy, no one will love me, etc.), chronic physical discomfort, emotional instability, relationship problems, and more.
Breathwork provides a context for which to explore and gain insight in to our world. It allows a space to inquire into the nature of who we really are beyond our social conditioning. Through the use of several simple methods - breath, observation of sensation, movement and relationship, we can initiate the process of self discovery that can free us from searching outside of ourselves for inner peace.
Breathwork is a safe and gentle process that encourages everyone to experience, express and release his or her emotions. It uses the breath to facilitate vital change and transformation that lasts.
If you're looking for a new way to expedite the healing process, Breathwork along with a practice of self-observation and mindfulness are it.
What I really do is help you feel your pain
We all want to feel like our lives have meaning. We want to have the courage to take risks for the things that matter. We want to experience deep love and connection. We want to feel good in our bodies. We want to feel like we're enough. We want to feel inspired and ignited. We want to feel deeply connected to life. We want to know how to love ourselves.
The greatest gift I have been given in my life is the courage to face my pain. To really acknowledge it, stay with it even at the most painful moments, and then to come through the other side and discover life's sweetest moments are on the other side of that pain. Through it I continue to discover who I truly am. On the other side I continue to find the beauty of life.
When we run from our pain we are victims but when we face into it we become spiritual warriors.
Wendy Matthews Therapist and Counsellor in Auckland is a place to find tools and inspiration to release pain, open your heart, and create a life where you experience joy.