THE LIFE FORCE
Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die.
I remember the first time that I used breathwork to deepening my self-awareness and to help my own healing process was like finding one of the most precious diamonds in the world. I felt direct access to my emotions, to my unconscious, to feel my body in a way I never did before, to some others dimensions of existence.
Through breathwork I found myself in a way that I never had experience before. It’s a precious tool for experience life from a total alive vibrant way that awakes what we can express as almost death, bring us back to a more conscious live, through the body, the mind, the emotions and our soul.
We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss.”
― Alexander Lowen, The Voice of the Body
In the principal spiritual traditions such as yoga, tao, zen, shamanism, conscious breathing is the key for well being and spiritual fulfillment, the key to enjoy life, sadly in our modern lifestyle stress, tension and competition dominated the world, and we lost our breath, we lost ourselves, we have lost our potential to be healthy, loving and joyful beings.
“It is a common belief that we breathe with our lungs alone, but in point of fact, the work of breathing is done by the whole body. The lungs play a passive role in the respiratory process. Their expansion is produced by an enlargement, mostly downward, of the thoracic cavity and they collapse when that cavity is reduced. Proper breathing involves the muscles of the head, neck, thorax, and abdomen. It can be shown that chronic tension in any part of the body's musculature interferes with the natural respiratory movements.
Breathing is a rhythmic activity. Normally a person at rest makes approximately 16 to 17 respiratory incursions a minute. The rate is higher in infants and in states of excitation. It is lower in sleep and in depressed persons.
The depth of the respiratory wave is another factor which varies with emotional states. Breathing becomes shallow when we are frightened or anxious. It deepens with relaxation, pleasure and sleep.
But above all, it is the quality of the respiratory movements that determines whether breathing is pleasurable or not. With each breath a wave can be seen to ascend and descend through the body. The inspiratory wave begins deep in the abdomen with a backward movement of the pelvis. This allows the belly to expand outward. The wave then moves upward as the rest of the body expands. The head moves very slightly forward to suck in the air while the nostrils dilate or the mouth opens. The expiratory wave begins in the upper part of the body and moves downward: the head drops back, the chest and abdomen collapse, and the pelvis rocks forward.
Breathing easily and fully is one of the basic pleasures of being alive. The pleasure is clearly experienced at the end of expiration when the descending wave fills the pelvis with a delicious sensation. In adults this sensation has a sexual quality, though it does not induce any genital feeling. The slight backward and forward movements of the pelvis, similar to the sexual movements, add to the pleasure. Though the rhythm of breathing is pronounced in the pelvic area, it is at the same time experienced by the total body as a feeling of fluidity, softness, lightness and excitement.
― Alexander Lowen, The Voice of the Body
LUNGS PRODUCE THE MOST DMT IN THE BODY
– Conscious Breathing is psychedelic.
Breath work is a state-shifting practice for deep self-exploration that harnesses the power of your own body to dig deep into consciousness and reveal your inner healer.
For thousands of years, conscious breathwork was practiced
• To expand consciousness
• To access healing and insight
• To gain clarity and vision
• To connect with higher forces / spirit guides
It has the power to alter your state of consciousness. By hyper-oxygenating your lungs you can access higher realms of awareness.
In the course of many research, it was found out that through certain breathwork techniques, you could stimulate a similar psychedelic effect to LSD. Breathwork uses intense breathing to get individuals to transcend consciousness as a way to experience emotional catharsis and healing.
Breathwork theorists believe that the altered state of mind produced by hyperventilation and the change in the level of oxygen in the body can help an individual access parts of the psyche and consciousness that aren’t usually accessible. Stan Grof supports the comprehensive theory of human psychology that suggests levels of human consciousness include memories of “past life” experiences, one’s own birth experience, and past events. Supporters breathwork believe that by working with the technique and altering their minds, individuals can access these different levels of consciousness.
Breathwork produces an altered state of consciousness. In this state, individuals gain access to deep parts of their mind that aren’t accessible in their daily lives and report a range of physiological, emotional, mental, and spiritual effects. It is a powerful technique that aids self-exploration and personal empowerment. People get released from the trauma and difficult experiences they may have buried, and gain the capacity to move toward positive transformation and wholeness. There have also been reports of a higher level of trust in self, release of stress, and clarity in personal issues.
The BREATHWORK is constituted by bodily exercises linked with breathing. It was created on the assumption that the child, when forced to suppress the expression of his feelings (which is equivalent to suppressing the feeling itself), develops body blockages corresponding to the emotion that was suppressed, thereby reducing the mobility and vitality of the body.
Emotions that are not expressed throughout our lives are contained in our body, causing contractures (the muscular armor).
For example, when a child becomes angry, he learns that he should not express his anger, because he will be punished. To contain this anger, it needs to create tension in your body and at the same time changed his/her breathing. It will probably tighten the jaws and paralyze the breathing in the diaphragm, and sometimes it will contract the neck as well. These tensions, when repeated, become chronic.
Another example: a child is sad and feels like crying, but his crying often bothers his parents, and then he learns to contain it, closing his chest, projecting his shoulders forward and breathing down. Later, as an adult, even though there is no reason to restrain her emotions, she will find it difficult to cry and to express other feelings such as love, joy, and passion.
Breathwork can help unblock this expression, because through exercises and body postures, as well as breathing techniques, it will break these blocks.
There are exercises for all body segments: eyes, mouth, neck, chest, diaphragm, pelvis, legs and feet. The exercises allow the release of suppressed energy through crying, laughter, catharsis and spontaneous vibration of the body.
These experiences alleviate tensions, giving us the opportunity to become aware of our automatic behaviours and to modify them. In this way we can be more real, more spontaneous, more conscious, more authentic.
Text by Satya in Breath The Life Force (Awareness Facilitator training)