My journey to become a Breathwork Facilitator
Breathing is the only thing in the body which happens autonomically, but that we can also take control of. We breathe an average of 20,000 times a day and many of us take this for granted, never really thinking about how we are breathing from day to day and what that is doing to our body and mind.
The breath mirrors how we are feeling, if we are anxious or stressed, our breathing patterns will be shallow and short. If we are calm our breathing will be slow and relaxed, but what if we start to take control of our breathing patterns to then contour our body and minds response? The mirror effect can work both ways.
We can use the breath as a tool to navigate and also influence our inner world. We can breathe to support our physical and mental health. We can breathe to release emotions and trapped energy. We can breathe to energise and invigorate ourselves. There is so much which starts and ends with the breath!
What is Breathwork?
How we breathe has such a huge impact on our physical and mental health. The breath can help to regulate most systems in the body. There are so many different ways in which we can practice breathwork. We have so many tools within us that just need to be practiced and harnessed to findwhat works best for us.
Our breath can control our heart rate, our nervous system, controls how much oxygen is carried into our cells, can regulate anxiety and stress. It can be an amazingly powerful tool to access and release emotions, pain and even trauma trapped within us and the beauty of it all is that we can control our breath!
Breathwork is practicing and exploring your own breath, being conscious of and tuning into your breathing patterns and also delving deeper into the body and mind using the breath as a tool. It can be as simple as working with your breath to calm or focus the mind. Breathwork can help to create or move energy to relieve sluggishness and tiredness, the breath can also allow us to strip back the subconscious layers within us to see what's beneath. It's a type of therapy, its a type of meditation, its whatever you need it to be and that's the simple beauty!
My first session of Conscious Connective Breathwork was unforgettable and it opened my eyes to breathwork in a whole new way! I did this session online with Make some Breathing Space. The facilitator introduced us to the theme which we would be breathing to and she reminded us that we are in control of our breath which stuck in my head.
When the breathe started, the facilitator gentle led us in, we breathed to music and the technique is a very active; open mouthed inhales and exhales which felt really activating for my body and mind even after only about 5 breaths. I started feeling tingles throughout my face and arms. I didn't feel anxious because the facilitator guided us throughout and as the music escalated, we were invited to breathe into it and "put the work into breathwork". My whole body felt alive but a dead weight whilst laying on the floor.
Once the breathe was over and we were brought back into our space, I could feel every part of my body. The energy and life was running though me. I then experienced a rush of tears which bubbled up - not sad, not happy - just a release of something deep inside. After that I laughed (probably at myself) and just felt completely mellow, focused and free.
Conscious connective breathwork is such an immensely powerful practice and I have learnt to play with this technique, so on days where I need the focus and release but am not quite comfortable with activating my body to heavily, I can be the driver of my own breath and breathe into what I need.
I love that the breath can take us to places which we maybe aren't even conscious exist! It's a deep meditation, yet a workout for the breath. Each time I practice I have a different experience and that's what I love, it's connecting with yourself that day at that moment.
What is a breathwork facilitator?
I wanted to learn how to facilitate breathwork on a deeper level, creating a safe space to encourage others to dive into their breath. I wanted to learn how to confidently and safely hold others with whatever arises for them, so I decided to take this path into becoming a breathwork facilitator.
The facilitator is the guide into this experience, they hold the space and provide support throughout the breathwork, allowing you to feel safe and able to explore through the session. They guide you back out safely and give you the time to process the experience.
The unpredictability of what can happen during breathwork sessions are endless and this is something which I am learning to confidently deal with within myself, so that I can then use my experience to help others.
What led me to this path?
Through the practice of yoga, I have been able to build my confidence and strength back up from my health issues. My practice is a place where I can go, work through what's going on, question myself, challenge myself, empower myself, get frustrated, get it wrong, try harder and learn.
It's like the most incredible magic; when I come away from a practice I feel like nothing needs to be fixed, what was bothering me no longer seems to be a problem, its like the RESTART button has been pressed.
The breath, and connection to my breathing has been really important for me over the past 6 years living with Crohns Disease. There are times when pain stops me in my tracks and the only control I have within my body at that moment is through my breath.
Before I was diagnosed I would experience days of symptoms and I would just lay down and breathe because it helped my find a way to relax into the pain when my muscles were spasming, also helping me to focus my mind on something else in the moment. Breathwork helped me to remember to stay calm when my mind was panicking (because symptoms and flare can literally come out of NOWHERE)! It also allowed me to feel like I still had some control over a body that was clearly failing me.
I developed anxiety, especially in social situations, because of my symptoms constantly flaring and I lacked confidence because I had little control over my body. Finding my breath and working with different techniques during these times helped me to stay grounded and connected to the positives and what was reality, rather than allowing the overwhelming sense of worry about the what if's take over completely. It became my anchor!
Through my own practice and experiences I have come to understand and appreciate how much power our breath and the way we breathe has within our lives.
Now that I'm a yoga teacher, I am so passionate and excited about helping to empower others to build on their own strengths. I have absolutely loved being able to share the practice of yoga. To hold the space for people to connect back to themselves is amazing. I love to share what I already know about the breath and when I teach yoga, the breath is always at the heart of my classes, connecting to that energy, our Prana, life force. I love to allow the time and space for others to be able to connect to their breath, listen to their own patterns, turn inwards and check in so that they to can utilise their own breath and practice the techniques when they need them.
Last year I completed a Functional Breathing instructor training with The Oxygen Advantage®. When discussing the breath as being functional, we can learn to breathe in a way that that our breath is efficient and effortless. Essentially doing more with less. This style of breathing adapts well to rest and various intensities of physical exercise. It balances the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2), engages the diaphragm for core support and reduces breathlessness, amongst other health benefits for the mind and body.
Some of the techniques I learnt from this training, like taking calm, light and soft breaths, avoiding big inhales and sighs and breathing through the nose helps me bring myself back to balance and also allows me the awareness to gauge when I’m stressed or activated, so noticing my breathing and allowing my breath to feed back how I’m feeling and what state I’m in. This is important for me when trying to keep my body balanced when having an illness which can be triggered by stress and anxiety. I love to learn new ways to feel as in control as I can, where I can. The breath is such a powerful and useful tool
The more conscious I am of my own breath, the more balanced, focused and aware of my reactions I am. Over the past couple of years I think its safe to say I have become pretty obsessed with the breath and want to share it with everyone!
I am 2 months into a 10 month Breathing Space Facilitator Training course at Make Some Breathing Space. Where I am learning and soaking up as much as I can to be able to become a fully qualified breathwork facilitator! I am planning on sharing my experiences along the way here in this blog space and also over on my instagram @yogacrohnie.
I'm so excited and passionate about continuing on this path, living a life that serves both myself and others. I want to be confident enough to stop doubting my journey, my choices and my lifestyle and be able to lean into my future without the fear of failure. Sharing my experience and my knowledge with others to allow them to also take charge of their own lives, health and happiness is the most fulfilling experience.
If you would like to know more about how, when and where you can breathe with me, please feel free to get in touch, you can send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.