What is Rebirthing and Breathwork Mastery?
Rebirthing Breathwork is a conscious, connected body/breath technique which activates an inner non-mundane experience. This results in a number of internal experiences. One is where thoughts, pains, memories or feelings or energies that have been held down with the breath, are able to surface to be released, cleared or resolved. The process is freeing of limitations from previous decisions, beliefs or conditioning.
This also can include the psycho-emotional aspects of your physical birth, in-utero experience and early infancy and their psycho-spiritual implications. The opportunity is to decondition and reprogramme self. In the non mundane experience of a Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery session, a new perspective to life issues emerges. The continued process brings a point of choice or free-to-be-in-action instead of reaction to events and people. In a breath cycle of approximately 90 minutes duration, the full and connected breathing accelerates detoxification in the body. This cleanse extends from the physical into an emotional, mental and/or spiritual experience.
The total time frame of a breath session is approx two and a half hours. Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery (RBM) is the name given to define specific use of intention + body awareness + conscious breath over time. Rebirthing Breathwork is known for effective release of tension, physical, emotional or psychological. Mastery comes from yoking conscious breathing to body sensations, which are the cellular memory being activated by setting an intention.
RBM is most powerful for using conscious breath and cellular memory to resolve whatever is not yet resolved in the conscious mind. Breath is the link between the conscious mind and the sub/unconscious mind. The other main emphasis is on integration of the session. The use of the conscious and effortless, relaxed breath, allows the intensity of the breath session to be in accord with whatever can be integrated by the breather. This is now a process that has proved its worth over time!
Nine defining points of Rebirthing/Breathwork Mastery (RBM) as a strand of Breathwork
- emphasis on body sensation awareness as well as conscious breath all through the breath session – it is a body/breath process.
- emphasis on self mastery – individuals are self generating their process and are self regulating organisms – RBM is a creative tool.
- awareness on process – when an individual is safe enough, supported enough, and ready enough, he or she will clear unresolved past events – allow time and awareness in the process.
- application of well chosen intention setting within the process – relate all the content of the breath session to the intention in a debrief.
- use of breath that allows a physical, mental, feeling or spiritual experience – start with full, conscious, connected, subtle breath, in and out the nose until or unless the nose closes (refer to scientific research on nose breathing and the brain connection – starting with nose breathing in RBM is optional, yet recommended)
- allow the breath session to unfold with minimum intervention – use the debrief afterwards to integrate all the wisdom, inspiration or clearing that emerges during the breath cycle
- be present to, name and identify exactly what is happening on each level of the breath session, without adding any interpretation – stay in touch with whatever emerges on the physical, mental, emotional, or psycho-spiritual to create the maximum opportunity for clearing on all levels.
- awareness of safety – that a breather can only regress to something that he or she as already lived through – any past event which is surfacing for clearing is because of intention – the process is safe and any intense symptoms are immediately affected by a change in intention.
- agenda free focus for facilitation with emphasis on expanding self awareness – both for facilitator and participant.
The instructions in RBM breath sessions are for full, conscious, connected, easy breathing, in and out of the nose until or unless the nose closes. Intention is specifically what does a participant want to make a difference to in their life. The emphasis for each session is on taking a step that is as close as possible to being integrated by the end of the session. After the 90 minimum breath cycle, time is given to debrief the breath session to allow relating the content to the intention. Subtle shifts are honoured as well as mild or intense releases on any level, all of which lead to ultimate resolution in time. Rebirthing/Breathwork Mastery is about having your life go in the direction you intend.RBM is about having your life go in the direction you intend.
What do you want to be happening that is not yet happening?
This is the question that you answer when you come for a breath session with a Breathwork Mastery pracititioner or trainer. This becomes your intention as Breathwork Mastery is a creative tool. Humans have alreaday been programmed by past events. Now what do you intend to create? This is the focus of your session. It is not a mental focus, because the Breathwork Mastery technique is a body/breath process. However, what has been in the way of your intention does emerge in each session or series of sessions.
What happens in a breath session?
The experiences of a breath session are likely to be physical, emotional, mental and or spiritual. The experience happens on whatever levels you need in the session, depending on the intention of the session. The session mostly relates to what is happening in your life now, or what is in the way of the intention.
How many sessions do I need to have?
With the Breathwork Mastery process, this becomes apparent to you as a client. With each individual being unique, it is up to the client to monitor their own process of clearing through conscious breathwork. Clearing will happen as breathing in the session is connected, no pauses, and mental and emotional material is held within the body-mind as breath holding. RBM practitioners allow each participant to experience whatever ease or difficulty in breathing to unfold when they facilitate. However, they do support the client to self pace their self revelations and clear themselves in their own timing. The emphasis is on self mastery and self awareness. So you as a client, decide for yourself how many sessions you have. It is generally recommended to have at least three sessions to give your body-mind a chance to allow the technique to really have the “breath work” for you. To undertake ten sessions has been recommended from the start of rebirthing in the 1960, with the understanding that it takes this many sessions to start to break the habits of breath holding in our life. This is the common experience of clients and participants. Therefore the course in training participants “Breathing Well – Living Well, how to self clear – a twelve session training, has been put in place as a highly useful training for using the breath for clarity and balance for the rest of your life.
This is unit 1, unit 2 and unit 3, – pre-professional training for becoming a RBM practitioner, although participants can start at any unit.
Do I remember my birth?
The technique is often a regression. This can be to any point in your past, including in-utero recall and past life symbology. The main value of regressing is to discover the belief that was made in the past, and sometimes at birth since it was a significant event, that is affecting or limiting you in your life now. Another is to recover information from past events or see them from the adult perspective. Or there is value in being present to what you could not be present to in the past, sometimes moments or stages of birth or childhood. All this leads to resolution of that issues produced by those events, partial or total, in the RBM breath session.
Is birth that important?
Birth itself is a physio-emotional event with psychological implications, and a spiritual dimension. It is a point in time when patterns and beliefs about life and people also take birth. That gives rise to the name Rebirthing. You do not always regress to your birth in a session. That is most likely when you are in transition in your life, or a relationship, or some similar major change is happening.
Why go back to my past?
People usually come to Rebirthing Breathwork out of wanting to be more self-aware and self realised. The re-experiencing of birth or any event is only to release or resolve anything “left over” or incomplete from this or any other past event. Usually this comes through re-experiencing the event or events and identifying the decision that gave rise to the belief that has been conditioned or imprinted and lived out from that time. This creates the climate for release or resolution, which is mostly immediate.
What does the breath do?
Through breath the conscious mind connects with the subconscious mind and material surfaces. Once something is in the conscious mind, it no longer has the same power over us that it has when it is subconsciously driving us. In RBM breath sessions we get the messages and images from the subconscious mind and it makes a difference to our life.
The RBM technique is to increase breathing to the fullest comfortable use of the breathing mechanism, navel, chest and upper chest. Also on the physical level, the instructions are to extend the length of breath so it is connected – there are no pauses, allowing a higher breath intake into the lungs. The increase from longer and deeper yet relaxed breathing, speeds up the detoxification of the body through breathing, which already detoxifies the body to a high degree. The third and major instruction is to breathe consciously. The neurological centre in the brain that gives the command for the automatic breath comes from a different part of the brain to that for the conscious breath, which is commanded by the more evolved part of the brain. Therefore when we follow the RBM instructions our ease or difficulty in breathing indicates the amount of material, which can be emotional or mental overloading, that is in the way of being freer in life
The interpretation is parallel. The automatic patterns of breathing keep you in the automatic patterns of living and responding. It parallels the survival mechanism for people to survive life, reacting to events. The conscious breath is a generated breath, a created breath, leading to created life in terms of being able to generate your life from choices made in the present. In a psychological model, RBM is best described as a technique for belief system restructuring. Or de-conditioning and reprogramming. With Breathwork Mastery, people discover the source of beliefs or belief systems from which they have operated. It may take a series of sessions, depending on how much awareness is present around the issue, or how conscious a person is. However in time there is resolution of obsolete or limiting beliefs.
Many individuals grew up not being safe to feel or have authentic emotions when small, or have been shamed or humiliated about their feelings, or shaped by expected or family pressure responses on what feelings are ‘nice’ or acceptable, Added to a family or cultural conditioning around feelings, as children, we have also gone through a number of experiences when tiny which were life threatening to us when tiny, yet were not for the adults around us. For the first few months and years we are totally dependent on others and cannot move or speak to ask for what we want or get a blanket if we are cold, tell of pain or injury that is not visible and so it goes. Even being lost in a supermarket for five minutes could seem to be life threatening for a small child and for example, having the cord cut too soon before the lungs are brining in oxygen, can seem life threatening for a newborn. The feelings and decisions that are made as a consequence, remain embedded in the psyche, become subconscious, and as adults, we ‘react’ to associated events. Many people do not know that what is being triggered is the body memory of the original event or cause. RBM techniques allow individuals to be safe to feel and safe to remember. In time, individuals experience authentic feeling responses in their life. This of course, includes bliss, which is one of the most suppressed feelings. Until then, each of us has valid survival modes for avoiding , masking or hiding/suppressing previously valid feelings, including addictive behaviours, and irrational responses – in spite of becoming adult!
If someone is totally at peace, deeply in a state of mental, physical and emotional expansion, in touch with self and having a deep sense of connectedness on all levels with all forms of life and the universe as a whole, you will find that person is breathing fully, effortlessly, with a rhythmic, even flow of the breath that comes from the bottom to the top of the torso, as if breathing in an out of every pore. Therefore, if we as RBM practitioners give you the instructions for a full conscious, connected relaxed breath, you are quickly able to become aware of what material is in the way of your peace and connectedness, and you are more likely to be able to create these states for yourself.
In a medical model, RBM is most powerful for pain reduction. In RBM breath sessions, through the breath and its affect at cellular memory activation, individuals are able to release body pain, often chronic, by getting to the emotions, or memories plus emotions, held at that point, Chronic pain is emotional, mental or spiritual trauma locked in the body. This is usually held in place also by a belief, formed at the original event which imprinted the trauma. A resolution is created in the same way the pain was created.
An inner experience
In the RBM breath session, we set an intention for the session. The specific breathing is started and the body starts to have sensations. This leads in time to the surfacing of emotions, or psychological material, regression to memories or images relating to what is happening in life now, or what is in the way of the intention of the session. There is the facility to get to the cause of a pattern or issue. The other experience is transpersonal or spiritual or can be described as a meditation type experience with an accompanying deep relaxation and a feeling of rejuvenation.
In the session there are also energy experiences and or tingling or what I call a spiritual cleanse, which is usually accompanying the release or resolution of an emotion or an obsolete belief. The session is complete when the whole body is calm, usually after ninety minutes or more.
A practitioner or trainer is someone experienced in the process from personal application. Your RBM practitioner specifically provides a space for you to be safe to remember, feel or express yourself anyway you need to fulfil your intention, including experiencing spiritual dimensions. The space the practitioner holds is an agenda-free space. Regression often happen spontaneously in life, without lying down and connecting the breath in the presence of a practitioner. What is called spontaneous regression can be triggered in high energy places, like some points in nature, in places of spiritual power, or in childbearing or lovemaking or by a song, movie, some association, drug taking, loss, another trauma, social or work pressure. The spontaneous session happens mostly when the breath increases as an attempt is made to push away the cellular memory, feeling or emotion that is surfacing. The feeling is of being taken over by an energy and most panic attacks, if facilitated would possibly turn into the full body memory birth recall, in the presence of someone like a RBM practitioner who can support the process and is quite allowing of what is happening.
Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery emphasis
is not only on release, it is on resolution. The emphasis is that with specific questions about what is happening to you in the session, in time, you arrive at any emotion or feeling around what is the way of the intention, and release it, AND discover the imprinted belief system or series of beliefs, which has created current issues in your life until then.
Use of intention + body + conscious breath creates a resolution in time. Having an Intention for the session activates the cellular/body memory in time to surface the point of decision that has been in the way of the intention and let it go if it is no longer true, then state in that altered space, what is now true. This is the process of deconditioning and reprogramming specific to Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery. The other main emphasis is on integration of the session. The use of the effortless, relaxed breath, allows the intensity of the session to be in accord with whatever can be integrated by the breather.
History of Rebirthing and Breathwork Mastery
Rebirthing Breathwork is a form of conscious breathwork founded by Leonard Orr, an American, in the late 1960s and very early 1970s. Another form of conscious breathwork, was founded by Dr Stanislav Grof, a European psychiatrist, in the late 1970s. It was later named Holotropic Breathwork ™
Orr founded conscious breathing as one of the five aspects of spiritual purification that he still supports today. In his low intervention approach, there is breathing guidance at different points and no encouragement for movement or externalising emotion. His practitioner and trainer training is informal and is based on the personal presence that is communicated by a participant. His main interest is in facilitating how to learn to breathe energy as well as air, and release the birth/death cycle.
Grof founded conscious breathing that has a distinct emphasis on pressure and force on the breath in the session with a pre-arranged client directed approach to intervention. In the background is loud and powerful drumming music that induces movement and emotions – some of which can be extreme – with specific support for release. This support is in the form of trained facilitators respectfully placing pressure or touching certain points in the body that are cramped and tight or spasmmed after an hour or more of breathing faster and harder than normal, to support release – often accompanied with sound and expressed emotion. Grof laid down long term and in-depth training for practitioners and contra-indications for clients and his main interest is in the healing potential of non-ordinary states.
Ensuing practitioners and trainers who participated in the 1970s and started training others in the 1980s called both strands of breathwork ‘Rebirthing’, although each approach was very different. For twenty years, all types and approaches to conscious breathing, from minimum intervention to full directed intervention in the session, the full range of breathing in regard to pressure and force or none, use of the nose or mouth and use of types of music/drumming, movement, expressed emotion, or none, use of intention and integration techniques or none, came under the title ‘Rebirthing’.
Since the 1990s, and to date, individuals, practitioners and trainers have identified with one term or another:-‘Rebirther’ or ‘Breathworker’. For this reason, both terms are included in the title. When having the courses accredited in the Australian Qualification Framework, the decision was made to allow graduates to take one or another name for themselves by including both words in the title. The use of either name is very personal and continues to be the cause of much debate.
‘Breathwork’ is now an international umbrella term for modern breathwork within the transformational education and health care industry. Yet the term does not fully identify the nature of the process for the general public. This is still in process. Yoga courses also call yogic breathing ‘Breathwork’ of late, while referring to techniques that have been available for thousands of years as pranayama. Accreditation has a part to play in this process within its role of defining modalities.
Rebirthing/Breathwork as a conscious breathing modality has grown globally and diversified since the 1970s, as more individuals take interest in the body-mind-emotion connection and take responsibility for getting the information and training they need to create, maintain and sustain optimum wellness and enjoyment of life.