Breathwork Can Be Gentle and Powerful at the Same Time

breathwork stories Aug 07, 2018

Two days ago I shared a Breath of Bliss ceremony at Pyramid Yoga Center set in the jungle of Koh Phangan, Thailand as a free offering to the community to help boost awareness of the upcoming breathwork facilitator training program. The psychic atmosphere on the island was quite odd on that day… it was very windy in an unsettling way, dark clouds, and many I spoke to said they had been feeling ungrounded, restless and anxious in the days prior. As a result, I decided to create a more tender ceremony that was “extra yin” to invite in deep safety, softening and comfort. 


Believe it or not, many people assume that they've got to be crying their eyes out, yelling, screaming or having loud orgasms to have a profound breathwork session 🙂 But this just isn’t true. This is a myth perpetuated by those addicted to over activating their nervous systems who need a constant drip of adrenaline to feel alive. In fact, this is one of the reasons I really love Breath of Bliss - it can help re-educate our bodies to learn that slow, sustainable awakenings can often be integrated at an even deeper level that dramatic, explosive experiences. 

Over the decades and in response to life's challenges so many of us develop adaptive and protective strategies to deflect and diminish our sensitivity. But deep in our hearts, we are all delicate, yearning to love and be loved. Because of this, a connected breath journey that is gentle, subtle and transformative at the same time can help us feel safe expanding in new ways. Our gathering was a beautiful example of this...


I had a heart-warming team of angels (see our team above in the photo!) including Doris, Ricardo from Peru, Mar Rita, Patty and Kharinna. We all spent an hour building a big beautiful altar with massive amounts of orchids, crystals, and divine images of ascended masters, teachers, guides, art and a beautiful luminous oracle deck… there was soothing theta frequency music playing when people arrived and they were smudged with copal and sage upon entry. We spent some time programming the space with deep peace and I called in Mother Mary particularly to bring her comfort to all who arrived. 


The dharma teachings were about Awakening to Bliss… and about how everything is a portal to bliss because bliss is just dissolving resistance to what is happening in the moment. Bliss is found in moments of being fully with whatever is. It’s reveals itself when we bow into being human, having emotions, parenting our abandoned and neglected parts and also when we embrace our higher self and divinity. I also mentioned the Gene Keys and how the siddhi of bliss is arises when we can transmute dissatisfaction into vitality... 

I shared a personal story about navigating a lot of grief over the loss of my mother the night before the breathwork ceremony, and how surrendering to what was happening instead of trying to fight it, rationalize it, control it or say I “should" be feeling anything else led to a long, powerful, gut wrenching cry... after which I felt tremendous relief and blissful feelings of oneness and peace. Everyone in our group was invited to think about something they may be resisting in their lives that they may be willing to breathe into, and generate some vitality around to transmute whatever dissatisfaction they may have into something new, as well... 


We had three ecstatic movement and breath pieces - the first electronic dance track was primal and intense to get everyone sweaty, into the moment, their breath and bodies. The second track was a silly jig to help everyone take themselves a little less seriously and have fun with each other. And the final track was a slow sensuous one for long, deep breaths with arm movements as we imaged growing our angel wings and spreading the feathers wide.  

The heart share practice took this visualization of ourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience even further with this sentence starter, “I am an angel here on Earth to…” It was so beautiful to watch people’s faces soften and light up while they spoke to this…imagining themselves as angels who came to this planet on purpose to share something very unique and special. 


I designed a breathwork journey that had a slow build with many peaks and then valleys to allow people to come back to their bodies after intensity. Breathers were also were supported by essential oils, flute playing and singing bowls. Most of my coaching was somatically based about following the breath of life, getting intimate with the inhale and exhale, letting the breath breathe you and welcoming in the air like plant medicine to the organs, muscles, bones, and emotions…  

From the outside watching the group, one might have assumed that very little was happening since there were few flailing arms and loud outbursts… but on a closer look, crouching down next to breathers, you could see the slow drip of tears down cheeks, the sweat building and intensity of experiences on people’s faces. 

The need for tenderness and privacy was clear at the end, so I gathered them into small groups to slowly come back, sharing transmissions through their eyes and a few words with each other, then we all went outside and hugged some trees and rubbed our feet in the dirt to ground, breathing deep with Mother Earth. Being out in the trees was a glorious refreshment after the depth of the journey and the breeze carried away any lingering density. 

Many stayed for up to an hour afterwards to share with each other and our team, to breathe deep and bask in the healing energy of the trees and to sit with the altar, looking closely at the images of ascended masters, sharing quiet conversations. 


As a breathwork facilitator I was reminded of many important things. First, having an unexpected massive cry the night before leading a breathwork, even though it may feel uncomfortable, is actually a really good thing. It really melted open my heart as the facilitator to be more gentle, attuned and empathic with the whole group and gave everyone permission to be exactly as they were. Though I may have remembered less of what I had “planned” to share, my heart was wide open and available to connect with each person there. 

Second, never underestimate the value of “downtime” in the music to allow breathers to recalibrate their nervous systems, come back to their bodies if they have been drifting, and reorient so they can dive deeper in the next song. I specially chose songs that had slower builds or outros so people would have spaciousness to reconnect with their breath. 

Finally, never make assumptions about what is really happening for your breathers based on how they “look”. Space-holders often leap to the conclusion that they need to “push” breathers harder to create a visual response in them to demonstrate the impact of a breathwork … in truth, sometimes when people are accessing the deepest levels of the subconscious, it can look to an outsider as if, “nothing is happening”. Yesterday's breathwork was a great reminder of this… 

If you’re interested in learning more about facilitating breathwork, explore our September trainings. And if you’re new to the practice, I have one more free breathwork ceremony on Monday August 27 for those who want to join us to learn more...