So what exactly is Breath4Life™ Breath Work?
The breath is our fuel for living – we wouldn’t survive without it. Breath4Life™ Breath Work is a therapeutic use of that vital breath. It is a simple breathing technique that enables you to connect with emotions attached to past traumas and unresolved issues. Connecting with those emotions gives you the opportunity to heal the past and bring more clarity to your future.
Why do it and how does it work?
Whenever we experience a traumatic event – which can be as ‘big’ as the loss of a close family member or as ‘small’ as losing a favourite cuddly toy as a child – there is always an emotional reaction to that event. Over the course of our lives we encounter numerous traumatic life events. However, we do not always fully experience the emotional response to those events, and so they become stuck. This is often referred to as ‘emotional baggage’, which can affect how you are living your life. Breath4Life™ Breath Work is a dynamic use of the breath that enables you to reconnect with those ‘stuck’ emotions and free up the energy surrounding them for you to use in a positive way.! !
What happens during a breath work session?
You lie down on the ﬂoor or on a bed, under blankets or a duvet, get yourself comfortable and close your eyes. A qualiﬁed practitioner then takes you through a relaxation process and a countdown with colours and numbers to take you even deeper into a relaxed state. You then start the Breath4LifeTM breath – a simple connected breathing technique during which you breathe in through your mouth 2 imagining you are taking in energy and gently allow the breath to sigh away, leaving no gap between the in breath and the out breath. You continue with this rhythm of breathing while the practitioner holds the space and keeps you safe – probably for around an hour and a half. Music will be played throughout the session, which may help you to access particular feelings.!
Does it really work?
We can only go on our own experiences I will share a little of my story to try and help answer the question. For me the short answer is yes it does work. After being a carer for my dad I watched him pass away, at the time I was ready for that. However I did not prepare for what happened after. The hurt, pain, anger, depression, sadness the list goes on yet I had no idea how to deal with it. I didn't want to sit and talk to someone about my problems it was hard enough to think about them let alone speak about them. I was invited to a Breath4Life™ Breath work session by a very good friend of mine. I arrived at the taster day where they gave a clear explanation around how emotions work and relate to the body and also how the process of Breath4Life™ breath work helps before guiding me through the process. In that first session I realised that my life had changed, I had found a tool where with out having to talk about my story I could still heal and clear the stuff stopping me from living my life.
What is it good for?
There are so many ways in which you might gain from Breath4Life™ Breath Work. You might be anywhere along a spectrum at one end of which is that you just don’t seem to get where you want to be going in your life; and at the other end there are emotional and mental issues related to anxiety and depression, deep-seated fear and anger or unresolved grief. Breath4Life™ Breath Work can help you wherever you are on the spectrum – to gain clarity around an important decision; to gain insights into unhelpful behaviour or situations that are limiting your life; to reduce emotional overwhelm or even conversely to re-energise from a feeling of being numb. Emotional baggage can weigh heavily on a person and this baggage can be reduced over time and the load lightened signiﬁcantly.!
How long do I have to do it for?
An individual breath work session typically lasts two hours – including time to settle in and make sure you are ready to go home afterwards. Frequency of breath work sessions is tailored to the individual, with some people needing to breathe weekly, monthly or after a time less frequently. In terms of commitment to the process, a rule of thumb is one month per year of living with a particular problem or set of problems. A practitioner will encourage you to make a commitment to 10 sessions (or to follow a course, such as the Acorn to Oak Breath4LifeTM Foundation Course) in order to gain the most beneﬁt and to achieve a good level of progress with your health and wellbeing.!
What if something comes up that I can’t handle?
People often worry that they will become overwhelmed during a breath work session. It may feel difﬁcult for a short while during a breath work; however we know that clients experience only what they are ready and able to – plus the Breath4LifeTM practitioner will be there to support and guide you through any challenging periods during the session. By lightening the emotional baggage bit by bit, you gain more sense of self-control and are more likely to be able to experience emotions in a healthy way.!
Can I do it by myself?
When starting out with Breath4Life™ Breath Work it is not advisable to do it by yourself – the support of a qualiﬁed and experienced practitioner is necessary. The practitioner’s role is to make sure you get the most beneﬁt from your breath work session, to help keep you on track, to guide you through any difﬁcult parts and to ensure you are fully present and ready to leave at the end – usually giving you a cup of tea and a biscuit into the bargain!
Will I have to talk about my stuff?
Sometimes it is difﬁcult to talk about what is happening for you, or you just can’t ﬁnd the words to express how you feel. Breath4LifeTM Breath Work does not require you to talk about your story; the practitioner supports you to experience the breath work session and guides you through it with very little talking – it’s all about using the breath to support you to heal the emotions connected to past traumas and periods of difﬁculty in your life, so that you can move forward more freely and with an understanding you have gained for yourself – not through someone else’s ﬁlter. There is, however, space to talk with your practitioner if you feel the need to do so.
I’ve tried lots of therapies – what’s different about this?
There are many different types of therapy available and how people respond to a particular therapy is very individual. Jill says that in her experience of a number of therapies, particularly talk therapies, she has felt it was being ‘done’ to her and that the practitioner’s agenda was running the session – she didn’t feel she had a stake in her own healing process. Beverley has also tried many different therapies and has had some good results in the past but feels that psychotherapy in particular gave her a clear intellectual understanding of her issues but it didn’t shift her emotional baggage.! ! With Breath4Life™ Breath Work there are a number of clear differences – ﬁrst of all it is a modality rather than a therapy. It is also recognised that the client is at the centre of the process and by them doing the work, with the support and encouragement of the practitioner, they gain insights and understanding that no amount of talking can give. ! It is also immensely empowering as it enables the client to tap into the resources of knowledge, wisdom and understanding that has previously not been accessible. This type of breath work allows people to access and build on that wealth of inner understanding. The practitioner will give feedback during the process, but clients are also encouraged and expected to develop their own reﬂective practice to monitor their progress in all areas of their lives – thus further encouraging ownership of their healing process.!
Many thanks for allowing me to use some of the content from Take a life changing breath Put together by Jill Pay, Beverley Glick And Pennie Quaile-Pearce