Conscious Breathwork: Challenge Your Beliefs
This is going to sound so simple that it will be hard to believe.
How Do You Breathe?
Silly question right? You inhale and you exhale. For the most part, it is an unconscious action that is required for us to stay alive. It may not be the only necessary function, but it is crucial to our individual existence. But just how do you breathe? Do you breathe deeply? Do you breathe fast? More importantly, how often do you actually acknowledge this? What if answering these questions could help you to answer all of life's bigger questions?
Take a few moments now to bring awareness to your breath.
Repeat ten times and feel the effect on the mind and body.
This is conscious breathing at it's most basic.
It is common to experience some form of this in most yoga and meditation classes. It will help settle your mind, keep you focused and let the body relax into a deeper stretch. A conscious breathing session focuses purely on the breath and may last many hours. Focusing on an unconscious action for an extended period of time can lessen the gap between levels of consciousness. What does this mean? It means you may be able to communicate consciously with your subconscious. Your conscious mind can only handle so much. Throughout the day most of what you see and do is passed on to your subconscious to be organised in your sleep or stored away, lost forever in the depths of your expansive mind. Imagine being able to look back into all the things you missed while you were walking around on auto-pilot.
Everyone will experience a conscious breathwork session differently. It is like being guided into a deep dream state but staying completely awake the whole time. Similar to a lucid dream but a little different. In the same way that a psychotherapist might guide you to the root of trauma through questioning, conscious breathing may help you unearth answers to questions you didn't even know you had. Everyone experiences the process differently and yes, some may have intimidating barriers to work through before they feel much of a benefit. On the other side is a blissful state that is unlike anything else. A natural high that is well deserved after some very hard work.
Is This Safe For Everyone?
Yes. Be prepared though as it may not be what you expect. There is a theory among many yoga/meditation teachers that you will only be given what you can already handle. Although a conscious breathing session can bring up past trauma that can't be pushed back down, it will only uncover things that are desperate to get out. If you wish to keep all your fears and experiences locked away then don't go to a breathwork class. If you are willing to work with yourself then find a teacher and get ready to completely change your life.
Expect to cry. Expect to feel scared. Expect to take a side step on reality for a short while. It really is just breathing. It can not harm you. No one can force you to breathe. No one can control how deep you go. If you do dive deep and you hit a wall of pain, remember, just keep breathing. I have heard the stories but am fortunate to have only ever come across careful and honest guides. A good rule would be to check out the guide to student ratio and ask for recommendations. It is a grey area, however, having one person attempting to manage 100 people as they all hit their buried past is always going to be a struggle. Common sense is your best defence. Trust yourself. If you are uneasy around the guide then walk away. The practice will find you when you are ready. If you start to see or hear about someone a lot then perhaps you are being called. Perhaps it is time to look inside.
What Is The Point?
This is the only question that really matters. To answer this I'd like to ask you why you chose to read this article? Something sparked your curiosity. Something has held your attention until now. Could it be your subconscious guiding you? Is your scepticism, your concern just your unconscious fear trying to hold you back? It is far easier to stay in your comfort zone. It is much more manageable to live an ignorant life. Why go looking for answers that might be too painful to bear? No one is forcing you. You are free to close this page and continue as you were. This is certainly not the only powerful meditation out there. I definitely have an unfair bias towards these practices, however, it has not come from nothing. I was in an awful place. I was anxious. I was scared. I had hit rock bottom and was faced with an ultimatum. Yoga and meditation brought me back. Breathwork gave me so much more. I spent hours in different trances with nothing but my breath to guide me. This practice showed me how much I didn't know, how much there still was to embrace!
As I continuously explore further and further into my career as a teacher, I realise the true importance of looking for help. You do not need to travel to far off lands to sit in caves with famous gurus. You carry within you, all the truth you'll ever need and more. However, it is a practice that can take time to understand. It is not crucial but I do encourage the search for a reputable guide whenever possible. 'Conscious Breathwork' is a term that covers quite a range of different methods. From fast-paced breathing with particular movements, to slow steady breathing in a relaxed supine position. There is no wrong, there is no right. Listen to your inner wisdom. Trust yourself. Believe you have the strength to do this and you will.
I am keeping this short. If you feel a calling then the experience will explain everything. I wish you the strength to go deep. Contact me through the page if you have deeper questions.
With love, Logan Pike.
Founder & Teacher at Pono Healing