5 Ways Breathwork Blows Your Mind

breathwork benefits Jun 09, 2018
Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “spiritual awakening" slung around for a while, but what the heck does it mean? In a nutshell, a spiritual awakening is discovering that a world exists beyond what you’ve ever imagined. It's a often a place of love, understanding, peace and vastness that blows away your little “me” and connects you to an infinite, “We.”
 
Enter breathwork. Circular, connected breathing is a practice done lying on the floor, breathing through an open mouth, connecting inhale to exhale without pauses. This ecstatic practice liberates stuck energy and is radically different than the nose-based breathing practices in yoga. While Stanislav Grof and Leonard Orr pioneered connected breathing in the 60’s and 70's in America, native and aboriginal peoples around the world have used this form of breath in rituals and ceremony since ancient times. Chances are if you go far enough back in YOUR lineage, you probably have an ancestor who used this form of breathing in trance states for healing and prayer.  
 
The cool thing is this: tons of people who do breathwork report having spiritual awakenings. But how? Here’s five ways I’ve found connected breath can help you move from mundane to magical.
 
1. FEEL RIDICULOUSLY ALIVE
Breathwork can help you feel a exhilarating sense of aliveness. Imagine yourself at the at the top of a blustery mountain looking out over an incredible view. All your skin is tingling, the little hairs on your arms are standing up, your whole body is buzzing and quaking with an intoxicating feeling of, “YES!”. This is the the aliveness I’m talking about.
 
You may feel waves of emotion and sensations, such as a weight on the heart with sadness, tightness in the gut with fear, clenching of the jaw with anger, heat in the pelvis with sexual feelings, or even exhilaration with joy, as if champagne bubbles were dancing all around you. Depending on wether you taking deep or shallow breaths, you may also notice a “pins and needles” sensation in hands or jaw, a natural release of energy which always goes away by the end of each session.
 
Some feel their skin get warm and sweat and some feel cool. There can be pulsing, tingling, vibration, tremors and tightness. All of this is natural. Its' the self-regulatory genius of the body restoring you to wholeness. 
 
You may see vivid otherworldly images behind closed eyes, the sounds in the space may be magnified, and taste and smell can be heightened. Your spatial awareness can also be amplified, so that you sense when someone is close to you, even with closed eyes, and you may become exponentially sensitive to touch.
 
No matter what you may be feeling, this simple awakening to FEELING MORE can be a spiritual experience. Feeling alive instead of disconnected can create a euphoric, and almost addictive state of pleasure. We unfortunately live in an age where many of us numb out, disconnect and suppress uncomfortable personal truths, emotions, memories or even creativity. Circular, connected breathing arouses whatever has been dormant within and creates a safe space to feel it all.
 
2. MELT OPEN YOUR HEART
For some, “heart-opening” sounds like a vague, woo-woo idea.  But here’s the truth: breathwork blasts through cynicism and delivers an undeniable cracking open of our capacity to feel love, compassion, empathy and understanding. The armoring that many have developed in response to unmet childhood needs, broken hearts, painful experiences, traumas and disappointments can come tumbling down, and fast. 
 
The awakening of the heart is a precious gift. Connected breathing can help you feel softer, more kind and more human. It can help you feel more gentle and caring, sincerely concerned about others’ wellbeing. It can help you realize how much everyone simply longs to love and be loved, to be seen, held, appreciated and cared for. 
 
For many, this sweet tenderness restores a previously lost sense of innocence. You more easily accept all of you are, struggles and all. Beathwork can also put you in touch with your inner child. You can become aware of how you parent your own little one, or not, and choose to be more patient, considerate and loving. 
 
Your perception of being separate and alone can dissolve. Because of this, breathwork can help you forgive more quickly, letting go of old resentments in just minutes. Even when you can’t really "let go", just being aware of it, and loving yourself no matter what, is healing.
 
As tears flow, so do our endorphins. Pain lessens and your mood can elevate. Also, because your tears open the hearts of others who may see you crying, letting yourself be seen while you weep during or after a breathwork can create a ripple effect of love.
 
3. REWIRE YOUR BRAIN
About 75% of all Breath of Bliss testimonials contain one of two phrases: “mind-blowing” and “life-changing”. Breathwork can literally help rewire the brain! We did our own brain-mapping study with Dr. Dani Gordon, a double board certified medical doctor and mental performance trainer who created Zen Brain Lab, a world leader in brain-based wellness and neurofeedback.
 
In this study, 3 people did 10 days of Breath of Bliss ceremonies with ecstatic dance, heart shares, and an hour-long breathwork journey. The results? Breath of Bliss created improved alpha asymmetry and alpha dominant frequency, reduced overarousal and anxiety, and increased brain inter-hemispheric connectivity. What the heck does all that mean? Here's the  impact... after 10 sessions participants reported less anxiety, anxiousness, emotional withdraw, worry, chronic depression, and low libido. They left feeling more connection, peace, openness, sensuality, optimism, creativity, and spiritual awakening. The slept better, experienced more clarity, pleasure and energy, had heart-openings, and felt a deeper connection to Source.
 
4. HAVE COSMIC INSIGHTS
Connected breathing is like one giant, “Sat Nam”, like diving into an endless ocean of Truth. Many have contact with non-physical, spiritual realms. This can include conversations with guides, lightbeings, angels, ancestors, and more. We’re talking DIRECT, as if someone was leaning over next to you and whispering in your ear. Some even have the sensation of warm healing hands physically touching them, then open their eyes to see that "no one" is actually there. Others may see fantastical, technicolor visions. And some people simply “sense” something miraculous is present, they just “know". This can include insights about outdated ancestral beliefs in your lineage, clarity about life purpose, messages from the Earth, the stars, the afterlife and more.
 
How does this happen?  Connected breathing can activate the pineal and pituitary glands to release dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychotropic substance known as the "God molecule". This substance radically shifts perception of space and time, provides access to non-ordinary states of conscious and psychedelic visions. This is the same active ingredient of Ayahuasca and LSD, inducing cosmic breakthroughs and soul level “a-ha”s. 
 
DMT can increase communication between the amygdala, insula and pre-frontal cortex. This helps you feel whatever you've been keeping bottled up inside and create new meanings.
 
Personal accounts from breathers are profoundly moving. A South American software engineer laughed after a breath journey and said, “Who needs Ayahuasca? That was by far the most spiritual experience of my life!” A German computer programmer at a Breath of Bliss ceremony with 350 people at Bali Spirit Festival approached me afterwards. He had tears in his eyes as he said, “I’m a skeptic. I’m an atheist who doesn’t believe in anything. But after that experience, I’m no longer afraid to die. I talked to beings of light on the other side. I met star beings who reassured me it’s all okay. It's all real. When the day comes to go, I’m okay with it."
 
5. FEEL BLISS
And then… there's the exalted state we call, “bliss”. Breathwork proves that bliss is not an exclusive experience reserved for mystics and sages who meditate for decades on mountaintops. Bliss is belongs to everyone. But what is bliss? It’s that magical, eternal part of you - what some call your soul -  realizing itself in oneness with everything. 
 
Here’s the deal. Breathwork is soulwork. Breathwork is like a shamanic journey to collect all the little bits of you that you left or forget scattered along the way in your life in people, relationships, traumas, careers, memories and unrealized dreams. Every breath gathers your soul bits back into the medicine basket of your heart. Bliss is looking into that basket and saying, “Wow! There I Am!” All the bits you thought were lost, broken, forgotten, stolen or abandoned — they’ve been here all along. 
 
"Our problem is that we identify with all the moods of the mind. When we are angry, we become anger. It is the same with fear, excitement, anxiety, sorrow and happiness. We become with with that emotion, whether it is positive or negative. We identify with the mask, but in reality, none of these moods are really you. Your true nature is bliss." - Amma 
 
So that's it for now, the five ways I've found breathwork blows your mind. If you're new to the practice, I hope this article inspires you to give it a go. And if you're an experienced breather who hasn't done it in a while, I hope this reignites your passion. My wish for you is that you get the guidance you seek from within.
 
If this article whet your appetite and you’re hungry for your own first-hand experience, check out a live Breath of Bliss. No facilitators near you? Download a guided breathwork audio journeys and explore from the comfort of your own home. And since we are talking about spiritual awakenings, may I suggest the I AM BLISS breathwork journey, which is specifically designed to help you connect with your soul :) 
 
If you're a free spirit who loves travel, crystal clear tropical waters, rainbows, exotic fruits and lush jungles, come breathe with me in paradise. Breathing at sacred sites amplifies the experience.
 
We gather this September for the Self Love Journey Breathwork Intensive and Group Facilitator Training on the enchanted island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. Together, with the support of this magical land, we will dive deep into the breath and discover what wants to be seen, felt and realized within.
 
If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear your thoughts and know more about your spiritual awakenings with breathwork.
 
* Photo by Leeroy Pearce, taken at at one of my favorite places to teach Breath of Bliss, Byron Spirit Festival.