There are many styles of Breathwork.
Breathwork is a transformational tool and it has psychotherapeudic and physiological benefits as a consequence. Sometimes they are the focus. However most people come to breathwork sessions when they feel they are just surviving life, repeating old patterns, and not really living. Its perfect for that transformation.
The keystone to breathwork is to breathe consciously, instead of automatically. We humans can have conscious breathing and automatic/involuntary breathing. All of us breathe automatically, and survive. it is conscious breathing that takes us from survival to choices of actions and being freely expressed in life. This is a process. It can also be a called a secret – as its not well know just how much an individual’s life can be changed by conscious breathing – although the personal practice of yoga and meditation and studies and research have proved this is so.
There is also ancient and modern breathwork. The ancient form has been techniques directing the breath that have been passed down in yoga as pranayama and most meditation practises use conscious breathing. The ancient form is usually practised seated and the breath is directed and it changes the mind, the thoughts or thinking. The methodology in meditation is to withdraw the senses to open the witnessing consciousness, and discharge reactivity step by step through regular practise.
The modern form has emerged since the 1960s and is mostly practised lying down. It is an amplification of the senses in breathwork practises and it matters to be present to whatever is coming into focus or awareness. The objective is to breathe with awareness into the physical, emotional or thinking sense that emerges.
In the case of physical – the body sensations, they increase, diminish dissolve or move as a result of breathing into them as sensations. The emotions may disperse, or spill into external expression from breathing into the feeling sense. The thoughts are mostly clearer and more inspired and information and clarification may come as a revelation – something that has not been thought of before – therefore it was not previously revealed as part of the ordinary thinking process. This includes realisations of irrational and limiting decisions about oneself and life.
Limiting decisions are a experienced as a contraction or feeling of block in the body and there is a sensation of discharge if that block is being released or resolved with modern breathwork, and often an emotion, including a sense of relief is expressed. The body also relaxes.
The signals to breathe consciously come from the more creative and evolved part of the frontal brain than the automatic, survival signals. Creative solutions to disturbing problems emerge. Many clients spend long periods of time in a session being quite relaxed and feeling fairly inspired. It is the simple form of the psycho-spiritual level of a modern breathwork, although major religious and recognised spiritual experiences or transpersonal journeys can also be an outcome. Self validation becomes an important reality for a client in modern breathwork. Its simple, easy to do and seems to be what is needed for resolution of many an issue.
A more positive outlook towards oneself and one’s life seems to be the most bottom line outcome of any modern breathwork session and there can be minor and major changes in behaviour as a consequence.