My Accidental Breathwork

breathwork stories Jun 03, 2018

Have you ever...

• Felt stuck in a life that wasn’t yours?

• Dimmed your light to fit in and be accepted?

• Felt a gap between who you are and who you dream of being?

Me too… many times! Being out of alignment sucks. And I’d love to share how breathwork helped me find my way back home.

Loosing Myself In the Big City 

My very first breathwork was "by accident”. I didn't actually sign up. At the time I was living in San Francisco with my then husband, a tribal house music DJ. I was running myself into the ground working in my global hula hoop business, HoopGirl -  managing a manufacturing crew, creating instructional DVDs, traveling the world to perform and teach, and working on my book. 

I had fallen head over heels in love with my guy at Burning Man and moved up to the big city of San Francisco for love. At first it was thrilling! The underground parties were unlike anything I had experienced: hedonistic multi-day events of flashing lights, glitter, sweaty non-stop dance and a feeling of euphoria. There were expensive gourmet dinners, boutique wine clubs, extravagant costume galas and my first exposure to what guess I would call, “high society.” We partied at VIP penthouse events, boutique warehouse productions and exclusive high end bars. My famous husband whisked me to the front of long lines that curled around entire city blocks as he was often the star act. Soon I was also performing right alongside him and also booked with a weekly residency at biggest nightclub in the city, Ruby Skye. 

But even though I had tons of “fans”, students and a zillion party people knew me through my husband, I soon felt out of place and alone. While I loved my husband so much and the glamour of the big city was intoxicating, I craved time in nature, at retreats and hot springs, meditating, and listening to the personal growth audio books which I used to do. I soon felt I was just an adornment to my husband’s image. I couldn’t emotionally connect with his friends and I didn't invest time into making my own since I was such a workaholic. His people worked in the financial district as investors, lawyers, doctors and bankers. Among them, I felt like a new age freak. As the darker sides of the nightclub scene became more apparent, I felt a split. Attempts to "talk through" my conflicting feelings failed.

I started writing about my dream life every day in my "Miracle Manifestation Manual". I longed to connect with starry-eyed people who felt like “tribe” to share deep, meaningful connections. I wanted  to sleep and rise early, return to my healthy lifestyle of juicing, raw foods and cleansing, do yoga, focus on ecstatic dance and hiking... and one day, move to an exotic tropical island. Meanwhile, my reality was foggy, cold concrete streets, clubs with tons of booze, cigarettes, and drugs, pounding music and non-stop commotion. The morning after one of these all-night long parties,  I scrolled though Facebook and found an ad for an afternoon of "lightbody meditations". Maybe I would find “my people" there?

I drove over the Bay Bridge to attend the Oakland gathering the next day. We sat on colorful pillows in a circle in a small garage converted into a temple with light from glowing candles. The people there felt so different from the people in the city. They were softer, more calm, made longer eye contact, and felt so present. It was more like the community I had enjoyed for the 12 years prior in  Southern California… people like massage therapists, artists, musicians, energy healers, and yogis.

I loved the whole day of meditations, visualizing swirling energies, settling into  a sense of home in all the luminous, cosmic visions. I was feeling on top of the world when our facilitator, Maggie, announced we were going to do something called, “breathwork”. "Sure, why not?”, I thought. I followed the directions, laid down on the grey carpet floor, closed my eyes and began the open mouth, connected breathing practice. Acoustic music with heart-warming lyrics began to play.

How Breathwork Blew the Roof Off My Reality

It took me a while to get comfortable with deep breaths. It felt like my tight lungs had to stretch, like I wasn’t used to really filling them up. Leaving out the pause between the inhale and exhale took effort. I could feel my forehead, frowning and my jaw clenched a bit, concentrating. I was afraid I wasn’t doing it “ right”.  I found myself drifting away and had to keep bringing myself back.

As the music changed, I relaxed more, feeling the floor supporting me from underneath, drawing in each breath and rolling it out to an exhale. I lifted my chest as I breathed in, slightly arching my back. The tenderness of the music's words made my eyes tear. But I still couldn’t fully relax.

About 15 minutes in, tingling sensations began on my arms and my hands painfully cramped, curling like crab claws. A vibration come over me, as if I was levitating out of my own body. As I took deeper and faster breaths, I found I needed to move my body and began bouncing my legs. The combined effect of the delicate feminine music, mantras and motherly words spoken seemed to build up a pressure in me. It felt like my heart was a dam, holding back a churning river that wanted to break through.

I saw light, incandescent glowing orbs and peach pinks behind my closed eyes. My skin was buzzing all over and it felt like my eyes were uncontrollably twitching. I could feel my back sweating, my clothes sticking to me. Where was I? I was disoriented. I kept connecting my breaths.

All the hairs on my arms and the back of neck suddenly stood up. I actually felt the presence of something very close to me…. Many things. Behind closed eyes, I saw angels with broad white wings, and beings of light standing and kneeling all around me. “Is this real?? “ I wondered. Up until now the spiritual realms had always been part imagination, part wish, part fantasy. But I felt hands on me, I saw this sort of shimmering, light green phosphorescence, heard the rustling of feathers and heard comforting voices. When I opened my eyes to look, there was no-one there.

I was familiar with LSD and also the drug, Ecstasy from the party scene. I was feeling the same breathless opening of my senses. It was emotional, sensual and scary all at the same time.  I felt vulnerable and sensitive. Everything was so amplified, all the pinpricks all over my body got stronger and my hands clenched tighter.

I saw prisms of lavender light and a giant, deep glowing pink rose quartz crystal. The pressure in my heart seemed to open up into a tidal wave that washed over my whole body as sensations and tingles continued. The loving beings were comforting me with reassurance, surrounding me with a cocoon of white light. The clenching in my hands intensified and I felt even  more afraid. I suddenly realized that fear was familiar. 

The Awakening

The dots connected with each breath. I actually felt fear all the time! I was afraid of not being able to pay back my student loans. I was afraid of "failing" at my dreams and having to get a desk job. I worked harder, faster and longer hours to try to prove myself. I was afraid of disappointing my successful, mainstream parents. Tears streamed.

I was afraid to share all of who I was in my marriage. I didn’t want to be mocked, diminished or rejected. I had been trying to make our relationship work by concealing and downplaying my spirituality. 

It was as if I was watching a movie of myself and seeing the whole drama from the outside. Wow, what a story this was!  My awareness was multi-dimensional. A part of me was watching it all and sending me love in during my struggle. Another part of "me" was sobbing on the floor while breathing, completely caught up in it. And a third part felt the small, young, scared child inside who desperately wanted love and would shapeshift in any way to try to earn it. I saw it all of these parts of me at the same time.

The back of my throat was parched. I licked my lips and struggled to keep my mouth open as tremors shook my arms. More memories arose of other times I'd felt afraid and covered it up.  Choices to hide, censor myself and dim my light so I could fit in and feel like I belonged at school, at jobs and with my family.

The clenching in my jaw and hands felt like vice! I wondered if I would stay in this pain forever. My nose was completely stuffed and my ears seemed to pop as tears kept flooding. I was moaning on the exhale, feeling a catching in the back of my throat and coughing. I was embarrassed that everyone in the room was having to deal with all this coming from me, but at the same time I felt powerless stop it.

Becoming One with Divine Love

As a new song came on, something shifted. My breaths were more fluid, deeper and connected. There was warmth and nurturing, as if Mother Mary had appeared in the room. She was shining like the biggest angel of all. She had open arms and her face was soft, a knowing smile on her lips. There was a feeling of PURE INFINITE LOVE! 

My heart was a geyser of sensation. It felt as if the space was filled with grace, like white doves gently flying up shafts of light. This was so different from the voices in my head and how I spoke to myself, so different than the “love” I felt in my relationship. My perspective shifted again. I saw myself the way a parent sees their child in pain, with so much compassion. As the song changed again, a strange thing happened. The pain in my hands released a bit and I laughed loudly. I could’nt stop myself. Just being alive suddenly felt like such a miracle. Life was so fucking beautiful! All this pain was so ridiculous. Everything was buzzing.

As I kept breathing, I flew forward through a tunnel of white light, towards the sun. A heaviness around my heart fell away. I saw glowing, laughing little sprites, slightly transparent fairies with wings fluttering and rainbows. "Are these  parts of me? Did I gave my magic away to try to fit in?” I wondered. I felt the child in me, light and pure, the innocent little me. I was amazed and sad at the same time, realizing that somewhere along the way I abandoned her.

At the end of the hour, we were asked to sit up and share. All I could do was lie there curled in a ball, weeping and shaking. I wasn't sad. I was raw and blown open. I felt so feminine, so pure and light. I was free. Free of trying to keep my life together. Free of trying to make my husband understand me or make my marriage work. Free of needing to try so hard to succeed. 

Life-Changing Breakthroughs 

That day was one biggest wake up calls of my life. After it, I dove deeper into breathwork. I did as many private and group sessions as I could with my beloved first teachers, Ashanna and Dana, and became a certified practitioner. I peeled away my identity like an onion, letting go of being defined by "HoopGirl", family, traumas, men, emotions, memories, and beliefs and connected with an ancient part of me: my soul. 

Today, I’m still completely in love with breathwork. It connects me with my truth when I’m afraid. It helps me open my heart when I would rather shut down. It helps me make important life decisions. It shows when I'm betraying myself.

Breathwork gave me the courage and clarity I needed to leave a marriage that was out of alignment with my values. It has put me in touch with suppressed emotions, like grief from my mom’s death, and anger from transgressed boundaries.

I’ve reorganized my whole life with insights gained, and since moved to several paradise islands where I’ve lived the last 6 years. In short, breathwork has helped me create the life I used to pray for.

Now I'm Living My Miracle … Join Me?

After many years, I developed my own unique circculum called Breath of Bliss, sharing breathwork as a sacred ceremony, combining unique elements I learned in over 20 years of consciousness studies (I’ll save that story for another blog!). These breathwork ceremonies include beauty, blessings, ecstatic dance, deep sharing, connection practices, and an hour long guided breath journey. After many students asked how they could also teach it, I finally created my own unique, professional 200 hour certification program which now has over 70 Breath of Bliss facilitators actively teaching around the world, a mobile, global breathwork festival called Breathfest and, most recently, an  incredible collection of downloadable breathwork audios. Join me this September in Thailand for the next trainings!

I’ve just finished a brand new downloadable breathwork audio journey called, "I AM BLISS", which includes my own unique creation called, "Breath of Bliss Brain Boosting Technology" to induce expanded states of consciousness. This magical guided journey feels like the most pure transmission of soul that I’ve ever shared. I dream that this audio will help people like you, all over the world, have gentle, life-changing experiences. You can download this miraculous practice  and enjoy it from the comfort and privacy of your own home. After you journey with it, please write me and share about your experiences! Until then, I’m sending you love from paradise, from my heart to yours. 

I hope reading my story inspires you to give breathwork a go. I've collected hundreds of stories from my students about the transformative power of Breath of Bliss. YOU have the power inside of you, with the simple power of connected breath, to change your whole life. You can create the life of your dreams and close the gap between who you are and who you dream of becoming. Begin now.

---> If you enjoyed reading this, please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear your thoughts and about any breathwork experiences you want to share.