I’m in a big dark room, laying on a camping mat in my dusty sleeping bag and blanket, with a stranger watching over me “sitting” on a chair at my side. Loud dramatic music starts to play and then I hear it. The breathing of 8 other people is pronounced but barely audible through the music. That’s my cue to start my breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Rhythmic, intense, diaphragm heaving. Is this really how breathwork can heal my heart?
Bang! I am in complete and utter darkness.
I can’t stop the flood of emotions from coming and I hear a baby start to wail. Is that me?
I calm my fear by asking my angel guides to show me what I need to see. I repeat, “I surrender, I surrender, I surrender…”. The blackness dissipates and then I am in the desert, hot sun, calm, grounded. My angels showed me a gigantic white oval pod that looks like a cocoon.
They start to tear it apart, piece by piece. Then I find myself growing up, up and up above the tree-line. I look down and see myself as a tree. My legs are a tree trunk and I sense my feet as roots. Wow! This is so cool, I think to myself.
My journey continues through realms of space, the ocean, the desert, and back as a tree. Over and over again I travel. And then it’s finished. My “sitter” answers my question. It’s 3 hours later.
I’ve done a lot of “out of the box” things in my life, so this experience wasn’t weird by any means. This was a Holotropic Breathwork Workshop. And I’ve come to see breathwork as an important element in all of my practices, especially when it comes to healing my heart. It’s not only essential to life but it’s been around for a millennium. From Ancient Yogic and Buddhist practices, Tai Chi, to all forms of Meditation, breathwork is the link to guide us on our path to enlightenment and our evolution.
Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born to the last thing we do when we die. It is the thread that keeps us in this realm of existence. We hold our breath when we are fearful and we breathe out as a sign of relief. We can exist for days without food or water but we die instantly if we stop breathing.
It is essential to life. But what’s so phenomenal about breathing? Scientifically speaking, we need oxygen for our cells to function, for our blood to flow and our organs to work.
Diaphramatic breathing, in particular, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, improve our cognitive ability, level off our emotions so we can cope with stress and anxiety, help us sleep better and ward off dementia .
But more importantly, breathwork helps us heal our hearts by allowing our bodies to start producing happy neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
One study suggests that breathing through the nose most significantly increases the electrical impulses in the brain necessary for cognitive ability, whereas breathing through the mouth does not.
Max Strom, teaches how 10 – 20 minutes of breathwork can change your heal significantly.
Stanislav Grof, a Czech Psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of “Transpersonal Psychology” (think Ram Das and Timothy Leary) was known for using LSD in his therapy sessions. Dr. Grof, invented Holotropic Breathwork (after the war on drugs happened in the ‘70’s).
And Wm Hof, a.k.a. IceMan and 26 time Guinness World Record holder, has proven that through his technique you can withstand extreme temperatures and become super strong. I did this one as well. 😉
3 Essential Breathing Techniques
These are three of my favorite techniques that everyone should have in their arsenal of practices.
- Clearing Breath. According to the Dalai Lama, this technique will “clear away impulses toward lust or hatred” or “counter-productive currents of energy”. Whether you suffer from “lust or hatred” isn’t the point. This technique serves to clear the mind so I recommend you do it first thing in the morning.
Start with your left hand, using your thumb and middle finger. Placing your thumb on your left nostril, breathe in deeply (allowing your diaphragm to expand), then release the left nostril and with your middle finger hold your right nostril and exhale. Do this 3 times.
Then reverse by closing your right nostril with your middle finger and inhale through your left nostril. Place your thumb on your left nostril then exhale through your right nostril. Do this 3 times.
When complete, lower your left hand onto your lap and take 3 breathes in both nostrils, remembering to fill your belly. Watch the clarity come.
- Fire Breath. This technique is a staple in many yogic practices. It is perfect to do in the middle of your day if you are feeling a bit tired and lethargic. It also helps to activate your 3rd chakra, which is your power center. This technique is most helpful if you’re nervous about a presentation or have an interview.
First, sitting cross-legged or Japanese style on your knees (my preference) or standing, close your eyes and focusing on your exhale only, use your diaphragm to sharply push your breath out of your nose. Do this as quickly as possible, 30 times in one set. Do 2 more sets. Go get it, girl!
- Calming Breath. Becoming aware of your breathing and slowing it down is scientifically proved to reduce cortisol levels, support your immune system and increase your feel-good neurotransmitters.
Start by taking in a deep diaphragmatic breath through your nose on the count of 4. Once full, hold that breath for the count of 4. Then slowly release on the count of 6. Do this 20 times. Watch the tension melt away.
In this day and age, when we are challenged to be the best we can be; we can become smarter, stronger, sleep better, and be super calm, by doing the one thing that we were born to do and more importantly breathwork can heal your heart on all levels. Just BREATHE.
Where to find Breathwork Workshops near you:
- Wm Hoff Breathwork –
– with Wm Hof
– In Toronto
- Holotropic Breathwork
– In Toronto
- Pranayama Breathing
– any good yoga studio
– my favourite yoga practice – Sivananda Yoga.
If you want a guided daily breath work meditation, simply start here: 5 Minute Breathing Meditation.
How To Heal A Broken Heart And Move On
Thank you for such a good passage discussed. I really have a great time understanding it.
I was married for 27 years. As I’m starting my journey of healing from divorce I am realizing how much control he has had over me throughout our marriage. As I have been on the healing journey I am in the midst of a home renovation. I thought I could have my ex help me with the renovation which was such a bad idea. As he sees me becoming stronger and doing things on my own he continually puts me down ir tries to tear down what I have accomplished. I have stopped having him help me because it has not been good for my healing. The biggest thing I miss right now and am worried about is someone ever going to love me I’m I going to be alone the rest of my life. I’m 52 years old my ex over the years has made me lose my self confidence. I’m worried I’m to old who is going to want me at this age and will ever be able to trust someone again.
You are not too old to find true love again. We are preprogrammed when we pick someone who really isn’t aligned with our love goals, which is what you are now discovering with your EX. When we work on dismantling that programming then you will start attracting the love that you deserve. Book a FREE breakthrough session with me and I’ll show you how. Use this link – https://calendly.com/diana-mikas/breakthroughsession