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Breathwork for Emotional and Somatic Healing
Welcome! In this blog I’ll explain what breathwork is, the type of breathwork experiences I guide as a Wellness Coach and Breathwork Facilitator and why this type of therapeutic modality is so important in addition to any other therapy or coaching work you may be doing.
"It's funny...we never think much about the breath. Until it's all we ever think about" - Tim Winton
First things first, breathwork is a broad term used to describe many different breath control practices - some as ancient as thousands of years old, and some more modern originating around the 1960s. Different breath patterns, breath holds, and breath control techniques are used to create different states and emotions in the body. Breathwork generally means there is some sort of emotional, cognitive or therapeutic benefit to your practice (this could include practicing for better focus, more energy, or trauma / stress release).
At this point it’s also important to know what “somatic healing” means from the title of this blog. Traditional talk therapy has prioritized expressing ourselves, our emotions and challenges through words alone. It means talking to a trained therapist to understand our childhood, or unconscious thought patterns and behaviors, and creating healing strategies and behaviors that the therapist decides would be beneficial. While it can be extremely valuable and saves countless lives every year, there is also a big missing piece to talk therapy. Traditionally, talk therapy does not involve the body, movement, breath or other mind-body practices that can be extremely helpful to dig deeper beyond the words we can use to express our emotional state.
The truth is that our body stores emotions, stressors and triggers on a physical - or somatic - level. By this I quite literally mean that our muscles and fascia - the connective tissue that supports the structure of your body - are physically impacted by the hormones that stressful or traumatic emotions create. This leaves a physical imprint on us any time a stressful or challenging event happens in our life. We feel a jolt of chemicals flooding the body and the emotional memory is created physically. You may notice that certain emotions are most strongly felt in certain parts of the body, or notice yourself carrying tension in body parts like your neck, upper or lower back, or your jaw. This appears differently for different people but one thing is for sure - none of us are immune from the impact our unprocessed emotions have on the body.
This is where breathwork comes in and becomes a meaningful way to clear stored emotions out of the body. In the breathwork that I guide - which I call Releasing Breathwork - you are lying down being guided through a breath practice live by me along with a supportive playlist built with a specific focus. I guide you through various breath patterns and breath holds in sequence which initially can bring emotions to the surface but with space for processing, can be released from the body throughout the practice. There’s a breathwork practice we can do for self-love, releasing stress, processing past trauma, or completing virtually any past or current challenge or event to feel lighter in the body and mind, and able to move forward from a place of clarity and confidence.
It's important to mention that the process of releasing can sometimes take more than one session to complete. Depending on how big the challenge you are working through is, more than one session may be needed to fully shift your relationship to the stressor.
This breath pattern is grounded in traditions such as Holotropic Breathwork and Wim Hof style influences, but is ultimately guided in support of you clearing out mental overwhelm and physical tension from the body. Often it can even help with sore muscles or psychosomatic pains (that is - pain that manifests in the body as a result of our mental or emotional state). It’s helped my past clients release pelvic floor pain, pain from old injuries, jaw pain and clenching, and other symptoms of stress that show up in the body.
I’ve found Releasing Breathwork to be a complementary and critical piece of my coaching work. Through coaching you're able to understand what needs to change in life and set goals and a path toward creating the life that you dream of. Breathwork helps you release anything stored away from your past - the stories, the resentment, the anger or fear - so you can no longer let those things hold you back in life.
Interested in trying your first virtual Breathwork session? The easiest next step is to schedule your 20 Minute Coffee Chat to discuss your goals and what you’d like to work through, and see how I can support you with this life changing self care practice. This is a meaningful healing strategy for your mindset, physical and emotional health and I can’t wait for you to experience it!
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I'm fully remote, mostly based around Central & South America