In the last month I had the opportunity to do some dedicated breath work outside of my usual pranayama, typically offered in yoga classes. The idea of being able to release some really deep seeded emotions while lying down and manipulating the breath.
The first dedicated breath workshop I experienced was in early May, led by Erin Telford at the Wanderlust 108 Festival in San Francisco. My intention when I attend yoga festivals is to remain super open to any and all experiences that are presented; trying new things with a totally open heart and zero expectation trusting in what the Universe has to offer. That’s how I found myself in Erin’s workshop where she led us through a two-part breath; two sharp inhales through the mouth followed by a sighed exhale also through the mouth. After some time while we were lying on our backs it almost simulated the rhythm of a deep cry— you know that ugly sob that we try to keep private? That’s what it felt like. Then before I knew it, actual tears began rolling down my cheeks in total release.
As I mentioned I go into these festivals it is very open-minded, with a soft heart, welcoming new experiences. This particular festival timing coincided with the end of my near fifteen-year corporate career. For the first time ever, I am stepping into a new role as a full-time yoga teacher and entrepreneur. I was feeling particularly open and ready to receive any messages or direction from the Universe. Needless to say, it was a bit of a surprise when all of a sudden these tears were freely flowing, I don’t have much of an explanation for the emotional release but I do know that afterwards I felt so free and so ready for whatever life had to offer. Thus my interest in deeper breathing and to better understand breath work has grown with a fiery passion in the last weeks.
My second experience with breath workshop was actually hosted by my chiropractor at The Source Chiropractic here in Oakland. Dr. Brett Jones with a once a month Breaths of Awakening workshop where you are actually tapping into the benefits and healing powers of holotropic breathing. Breathing in this workshop really felt like a little bit of hyperventilating where you are inhaling a deep complete breath all the way down from chest down to the belly through the nose and then one big deep exhale out of the mouth to press out all of the air. Sometimes individuals can actually start to experience an altered state when deploying this breath technique.
During this breathing session, I felt another big emotional release. About halfway into my breathing cycle, tears began to flow uncontrollably. Interestingly, though these tears didn’t feel heavy or sad, there was a sense of grieving, a letting go that gave way to expansion. I feel like I have shed a container of my previous self. I feel as if I’ve tapped into the Universe herself like I could connect with my soul for the first time. Coming out of this second breath workshop, I feel more deeply connected to my community with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose.
These two breath workshops feel like the beginning of a potent practice, deeper breathing has absolutely captured my attention. I’m looking forward to continuing my education about breath work; I want to learn more about the science behind of breath manipulation and what is physiologically happening to facilitate deeper connections with the self and how to achieve an altered state. I’m also really interested in learning more about the healing capacity of our breath work and plan on starting with this book, written by Erin Telford’s teacher, and this one too which relays subtle but impactful changes by manipulating the breath (required reading for David’s breath work training!).
I already have another breath workshop on my calendar for the end of June hosted by The Heartbeat Collective. If you’re local to Oakland, I would love to see you there. Also, if you have any experience in any other types of breath work I would love to continue the breathing conversation with you, please let me know.
With deep love,