What is Breathwork?
‘Breathwork is the use of Breath Awareness and Conscious Breathing for healing and growth, personal awakening, and transformation in spirit, mind and body.’ This is a definition by Dan Brulé, in his book ‘Just Breathe’.
We all breathe, even if we were not consciously aware of it all day long, we are definitely breathing! As human beings we can take conscious control of our breathing to our benefit. Such capacity has the breath to transform our lives! Yet we all too often do not maximise the use and benefits of this amazing system. In fact, it is very common to even hold our breath as we go through every day life, especially when we are stressed or angry or sometimes just thinking. Go on try it……. Stop for a minute and notice your breath…….where does it go in the body? Are there any areas that feel tense…….just take a moment to be still and notice…….
These days Breathwork can be found in many, diverse settings from counselling to coaching, pain management, childbirth, schools, drug rehabilitation, medicine, military training, social work, the performing arts, the list goes on!
Learning more ways to use the breath in every day life can help us in so many ways. It can help us to slow down, accept ourselves as we are, offer more joy in life and in our every day contact with others. It can reduce the effects of stress and PTSD, pain, depression and anxiety, increase clarity, focus, energy, calmness, improve sleep quality, enhance immunity, and boost cardiovascular and respiratory function.
Rebecca Dennis, a workshop leader this year at Breathe, explains, ‘Breathing is something we all know how to do. And yet, the majority of teenagers and adults let go of their natural ability to breathe fully. We are conditioned from an early age to control our feelings and emotions, and as a result our muscles tighten and our breathing patterns become restricted. The impact on our mental and physical wellbeing is huge.’
Anthony Abbagnano, also speaking and delivering a workshop at Breathe says, ‘Our brain uses 20-25% of our oxygen supply as nourishment. But in today’s world with pollution, air-conditioned environments and less exercise, we are just not getting what we need. The result is dimmed awareness, foggy thinking, confused and/or slow responses, inability to make clear decisions and more, but we have got so used to it that we think of it as normal. We accept diminished vitality as our baseline, and our brain and being learns to live with less.’
When we learn to breathe more fully, freely and naturally again, the natural healing processes that we all hold within us are activated. With inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content of the experience is unique to each person and their intentions and needs.
Breathwork is not a new concept. It has been used for thousands of years by many different cultures that recognized the profound physiological effects it can have. For example, in yoga the importance of observing and regulating the breath has always been stressed. The most ancient sourcebook for yoga practice, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, includes breathing practices - ‘Pranayama’ - for health and well being but also to draw in, channel, and store universal life energy so that it can be used to facilitate self-evolution. In Sanskrit, "prana" means not just breath but also the life energy that fills the universe.
Breathing is at the heart of virtually every meditation system, helping us to focus our awareness totally on the present moment. Anthony Abbagnano speaks of his Alchemy of Breath practice, ‘For those who have meditated before, you will find the experience a powerful way to support your practice. For those who know they should meditate but don’t, the Alchemy of Breath will provide you with an instant opportunity to connect to the benefits of deep meditation, simply by the practice of slowing and connecting to the breath.’
Anthony explains that when we increase the doseage of oxygen to the brain, we ‘awaken the system again, and through our connected breath pattern, we not only restore our brain by giving it what it truly craves, but we also nourish our internal organs, release locked in trauma and discover so much more too.’ He adds, ‘The body is an archive of everything we are born with, as well as all the trauma we may have faced as we have moved through life. Learning to live with unresolved trauma is possible, but oh how it limits and controls us! We get ‘triggered’ easily, misinterpret and mishandle situations, and may create many unnecessary and avoidable obstacles for ourselves as we stumble though life, uncentered and relatively ineffective whilst governed by our past stories and pains. There is another way! A way where we seek resolution instead of temporary relief. A way that connects us with our innate wisdom with compassion and joy. A way that creates harmony and peace in our lives’, ‘In our busy lives, where the demands of our work and home life compound the stress and anxieties that we suffer, what if we had a tool that we could use as a remedy. One that could not just reduce the pressure, but reawaken our enthusiasm, reconnect us with our passion and even act as a guide for the way forward. How exciting to know that the answer lies in each of us, and the quickest way to it is through our breath!’
The Breathe Festival
The workshops at Breathe will introduce and deepen experiences and learning in using the breath as a therapeutic tool.
These sessions with Dan, Anthony, Rebecca and Sophia will be group sessions. The space will be held lovingly by these experienced practitioners and there will also be assistants to offer support. The workshops will allow you to experience breathwork and what it can be, and to deepen your practice. They may go into a specific theme such as with Sophia Magdalena whose ‘Loves Breath’ workshop is around giving and receiving the Breath of Life and Love. Participants will set intentions based on Love and Acceptance. The process aims to release fears and allow for a deeper connection to Love, Peace, Joy and Freedom.
The practitioners will also leave you with exercises and tools to take home so you can continue your practice. If you wish to have sessions with a qualified practitioner before or beyond the festival, you can look on websites such http://www.ibfnetwork.com/members/
At Breathe you can also have one to one sessions (at an additional cost to the ticket price) with any of the practitioners, depending on availability. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session.
Breathe will be a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and learning with each other. Breathwork can be the perfect compliment to other modalities.
Many people who have practiced breathwork have called it the most powerful experience of their lives. Certainly the Breathe team agree, and this is why we wanted to create Breathe, A Festival of Life, to celebrate it and bring together others who also love it, and help to share it with others who can benefit and enjoy it too.
This annual event is going to be truly amazing, for people of all ages and experience in breath work. We are looking forward to seeing you there!
Buy your tickets (via the tickets tab on this website) soon to avoid disappointment!
Anthony Abbagnano https://www.alchemyofbreath.com/