This blog post will orientate you to, what to expect and what you might experience during a Breathwork Journey. A regular workshop I enjoy facilitating. It will also offer some insight into the Breath and its myriad of ways it can be both listened to and crafted with as a resource. I hope to generate some curiosity to the Breath, it’s possibilities and experiences.
What happens on; A Breathwork Journey – Navigating States.
Through this journey together, we will explore the breath as resource in the day to day, learning to both receptively listen with and actively craft the Breath. During the first half we learn resources with the aim of cultivating your curiosity, sensitivity and ability to use the Breat, to navigate your states. In the second part, we then journey together with Conscious Connected Breathing and Breath-holds.
What do I mean by States?… Sensing our nervous system as a way in… think up in to Activation, down into relaxation… and the myriad of spectrums between as we move, sense and relate with ourselves and the world around us.
These states might have braided with-in them a whole range of thoughts, sensations, emotions, feelings and imaginings within your experience. Perhaps some more fixed or repeating.. some more fluid and adaptive to the present.
The breath, is always here, in the present. Reacting with the now, that is always different. How can relate with the Breath, both to it and through it, cultivating response-ability relationally?
To contrast to likely very different states. Imagine your state of being, relaxed on a beach amongst friends… compared to your experience in rush hour, Monday morning, middle of London late for a meeting.
What might your rhythms or patterns be? How might the breath be a support for you?
The breath can be unconscious or conscious… thus can act as bridge between. Think of it as an, animating thread we always in our experience through, waking, sleep, dreaming, medative, trance and ecstatic states. Always flowing with-in our bodies.
What happens when we listen and follow the natural rhythm of the breath?
What happens when we relate and shape the breath?
The inhale and the exhale has, both sides, active and receptive, and the tension between them, are an ever present relationship. One we already innately have…and if we choose, become curious to, deepen and cultivate. Thus, supporting our sensing of and response ability to our internal atmosphere, inter-relational atmosphere… and who knows how that plays with-in the mystery too?
During the Breath-work journey we learn some tools to craft the breath:
Up regulate into activation, recharging,
Balancing coherent breathing, refocusing
Down regulate into relaxation , rejuvenating.
Inhale the heart speeds up. Exhale the heart slows down.
This interacts with our bodies and minds, in a similar (yet different) to the gears on a vehicle.
What happens when we explore the intimate link between the flow and volume of breath, and the pace and intensity of our thoughts?
We then have a brief intro into the magick of breath-holds. What happens when intentional suspend the flow of the breath? How do we meet and trace the contours of the edge of the need to breath?
What might this mean for our retraining our sense of fear?
I find through my experience and having an evolving understanding of the physiology, that this can deepen our capacity to breath, increase our adaptability to stress and support the steadying of our sensing of our internal atmosphere.
When we increase our capacity and awareness of the Breath. This has a whole cascade of health benefits, increasing our CO2 tolerance (a good thing) meaning we can take less breaths a minute, increase in O2 uptake (the other part of our fuel source), this can lead to lower blood pressure, improving heart rate variability, leading to an ability to attune or nervous systems relationally, another layer in increasing adaptability to stress. Through increasing breathing muscles and tidal volume or VO2 max(think increasing your uptake of a key ingredient of your fuel source) athletic performance and recovery…. the list goes on!
Refraining from diving into the rabbit holes of the physiology (recognising we are each unique ecologies with different subjective experiences, histories and interactions with practices) One of my favourite aspects of Breath-Holds is cultivating the ability to use to enter states of stillness with the inner atmosphere. This stillness can be tricky to find in our times, what happens when you find an inner peace, you can create?
After planting the seeds of further growth with the Breath as a resource and exploring some exercises that ground concepts into felt sense experience..
We will then journey deeper in to Conscious Connected Breathing and Breath-holds
A potentially profound, or soothingly simple … as you are in control with the pace you create the Breath…. Rhythmic journey, active inhale, receptive exhale… exploring our inner terrain.. with psychedelic potential.
The invite is to lift ourselves into our edges of activation, being with, breathing through and releasing what lifts up for us. pendulating into plateaus of calm and stillness in our breath-holds… sensing the space in-between.
Conscious Connected Breathing is the main technique we explore the larger journey with (similar to Holotropic or Re-birthing) (all originaly stemming from Yogic Pranayamsa, Bastrike- Krama 1) Active inhale. Keeping the breath connected, dropping down into a passive exhale. Connecting up into active inhale.
I invite journey this in three phases, with three breathholds.
Building charge with continuous care and listening, into and through soma and psyche, sensing our edge and what lifts up.. then pendulating into Breath-holds releasing into a plateau of calm
First phase, we journey through the nose. Explore a Breath-hold. Second through the mouth (imagine 4th or 5th gear),Explore a Breath-hold. Third phase back through the nose, Explore a Breath-hold.
Note- plenty to wonder out loud about the group field dynamics in the breath, and breah-holds.
The intensity of the experience breath is down to speed and strength of the breath. The distinction between activation and relaxation is key here to invite the neuro-phenomological softening through, what’s just been lifted up and amplified on the inhale. The interaction between vagal tone (think state of neurological charge on a spectrum of activated, social engaged and down regulated), mental perception and myo-fasical openness or armourdness is a key curiosity here.
Note – There’s a rabbit hole to drop down into here about how creative adjustments/sub-p/parts/complexs/coex’s are created, stored/lived, and either wound in or unwound in the body, and how this effects our relational field. Curious to find out more?.. reach out and ask about the Breathwork Mentoring I offer.
Note – there is both an active and receptive side to both the inhale and exhale, cultivating awareness of this, exploring and switching can offer an array of tuning to a practice. Alongside and active or receptive mental stance.
Wether implicitly or explicitly I believe it is of vital importance to hold the space invitingly to the mystery To be open to descent down to soul and ascent up to spirit and welcoming any benevolent others.
Amongst many happenings in the body rhythmic breathing suppresses the pre frontal cortex. The part of our brain associated with analytical thinking. This can allow us to get under the “default mode network” “DMN”, part of the neurological finger print of how sense, label and relate to the world. Wether in fixed rigid ways, repeating patterns or more fluid and adaptive.
In this way the journey can be a rhythmic inviting of multi sensory meanderings, through inner terrain. With the aim of supporting heart centred thinking, sensing, feeling and imagining in the rest of life. There is psychedelic potential in this journey. Which you can approach with care, listening and respecting your capacity on the day.
Psychedelic – “soul revealing”. Lets deepen into the words roots to encapsulate a wider range of experience to different tones of intensity or subtley. What if, Soul is not a noun or object but an individual’s unique ecological niche?.. with-in the interconnected relational web of life…. and perhaps something more mysterious too? If we see soul as relational and imagine all of your relational webs spanning intra, inter and transpersonal. A psychedelic experience might be a multi-sensory opening or it might be a subtle flash or revelation.. A momentary glimpse of some aspect of a relationship idea or thing, making known a tone of soul.
After the three phases of CCB and Breath-holds. We have some time to rest, let the body and psyche settle at the end. Then a sharing circle.. afterwards some free unstructured time to enjoy chatting, tea, fruit and chocolate.
I hope this blog post sheds some light on the style of Breathwork I’m offering. A synthesis from my different teachers, Yogic lineage, trauma informed, marinated with my personal and professional explorations.
If you are reading this and thinking that’s confusing, great unveil or got it.. or not.. it might well take organic time for concepts and information to be metabolised by our bodies and psyche’s, as felt sense, into knowledge and embodied into experience.. perhaps even wisdom? This often asymmetrical and uncertain process of organic time is often at odds with our cultures programmed, goal orientated, instant gratification. Breathwork is not a panacea or is “it”, yet it might be a way to cultivate care. Using the Breath as “tool” takes time, like any relationship, to both be with and respond with.. as it does with the experiences it can deliver. they are unique to you and they need care in their integration and deepening of meaning. I aim to approach this work with a reverent uncertainty to the mysterying which can flow through.
At the end of reading this. I invite you, if you will, to close your eyes… Breathe slow and notice what’s stirring in your body and mind…. sensation, thoughts, images, feelings, memories, flashes.. or not.
If you have any questions reach out! Jezgkane@gmail.com