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Breathwork doesn’t always have to be frantically intense. Above all, the main purpose of breathwork is to release suppressed emotions, traumas, stress, tensions, unconscious thought patterns, and negative beliefs from the body and the nervous system to create balance. However, the release happens in the body as feelings and emotions. Sometimes, these feelings are stronger and more intense. Other times, they are softer and calmer. Sometimes, we can access those suppressed charges through a calmer and lighter process.

Here are nine ways to make the most of your next breathwork journey.

1. Leave expectations at the door.

Often, entering any situation with expectations sets the stage for potential disappointment. However, disappointment arises when things are not or don’t go as we imagined. Exactly, the expectation is an imaginary scenario of how things should be. More often than not, our imaginings have nothing to do with reality.

When approaching breathwork without expectations, you open yourself up to whatever comes and happens. You are more accepting. Acceptance, however, is a prerequisite for letting go. Letting go occurs perhaps automatically once we have accepted the situation, feelings, and emotions involved and surrendered to them.

2. ’Less is more!’

Focus only on breathing, relaxing, and letting go. Allow yourself to experience all feelings, sensations, and emotions. When possible, look into them with curiosity and surrender. If you feel tense or uncomfortable, relax into it. Hold yourself in breathing, even if you initially resist or notice that you’re holding your breath.

The less you control the process, the more will happen. The more you try to manage and control the process, the more you prevent the limbic brain and the brain stem from exposing and completing reflexes and instincts.

Our minds like to control situations and processes, especially if traumas and repressed emotions are involved. Our Western cultural mindset often promotes the idea that the more effort we put in, the more we get out of it. Often, the mind also believes it knows how things work. Yet, this doesn’t apply to our nervous system and subconscious mechanisms. The limbic brain and the brainstem – the oldest parts of the brain and the subconscious – know best. These are the two parts of the brain responsible for our survival. Even now, as you read these lines, these two brains manage all our traumas, repressed emotions, subconscious beliefs, and defense mechanisms. So, if during the Breathwork Journey, we let them work without interruption, they will do a decent and excellent job for us. 😉

3. If the mind is racing, let it run. 

Don’t fight if you find your mind constantly analyzing everything, and it won’t give you peace. Resistance and self-criticism are useless here. They create more noise in your head, and you’ll end up in a situation where you are trying to put the flames out with petrol. Let the mind analyze in the background. Notice how it analyzes. Just observe.

One participant in a breathwork session shared that she started having insights once she stopped analyzing and allowed it to be.

4. Scream, laugh, and cry all the way!

Use your voice and let your tears flow if they want to come. Tears and voice are part of emotional expression.

If we’ve been suppressing our voice and expression heavily throughout our lives in situations where we really wanted to express ourselves, such as setting our boundaries, then using our voice while in a Breathwork session helps us to bring out that emotion and step back into our power. Here, stepping into your power is about expressing your voice in its full force, driven by emotion. It is about standing up for yourself, whether by a maniacal laugh, a cry, or even a roar of anger.

But remember that this voice must be driven from emotion, not of mind and thought. In the latter case, it’s an act of self-deception.

5. If something in the room bothers you. 
If something becomes overwhelmingly distracting during your breathing session, pay close attention to it. It presents an opportunity to connect with the part of you that experiences external events as disruptions. What is that button inside of you that the outside world is pushing? What is it that the outside world triggers in you? You can also ask: What am I trying to control? Why is it bothering me? What’s underneath it? What am I protecting and hiding? What am I feeling in the body? What emotion is it?

It’s an opportunity to connect with some hidden emotion and release it.

The world is constantly functioning beyond our control. We cannot control it. Or maybe,  through dictatorship or complete separation from the world altogether. Both of these only create an increased need and dependence for control. The only thing we have control over is our reaction and the meaning we assign to the situation.

Instead of starting to tell yourself the story of how something in the room was a bummer, I invite you to observe and experience the feeling and emotion, raw, without the mind-imposed meaning. Be in it and physically experience what is happening in your body.

6. Come into your body from your mind.

Breathwork is a practical experience. Everything we experience during it happens in our body. And that is why it creates such a powerful experience for us. Avoid intentionally seeking and giving meaning to your experiences. Keep coming into your body and bodily sensations.

The good thing about conscious connected breathing is that we don’t need to know which ‘problem’ is being resolved and released within us when it is happening. Our nervous system does it automatically for us.

7. Am I breathing correctly?

If you find yourself worrying about whether you are breathing correctly, don’t worry. I am moving around the room, and I’m constantly keeping an eye on everyone. If I see that someone’s breathing needs to be corrected, I’ll come and do it. If you’re still unsure about your breathing and its functioning, raise your hand, and I’ll come to you as soon as possible to correct it.

8. I feel overwhelmed by the group session and other people’s breathing and energy releases. What should I do?

Sometimes, this can happen, too. Pay attention to how your body reacts during these moments. What is happening within your body? What exactly is your body doing? What is it responding to? What is happening to your breathing? It is best to bring your focus back to your breath in such moments. Let the attention remain on others if it is staying there so firmly. But it’s important to always come back to your breath when possible. Bringing your breath into areas in the body where you don’t want to breathe at all or where it is challenging to breathe can trigger an emotional release in you. 🙂 With practice and the releasing, the breathing and emotions of others will start to demand less and less attention from you.

On the other hand, if you feel that you can’t relax when breathing in a Breathwork circle and keep your focus on your breathing and your process is disturbed, then it makes sense to book an individual session. The same advice applies if your emotions surface, but you still don’t allow yourself to experience them or avoid letting go (you feel unsafe, wondering what others think about your voice and crying, etc.). During an individual session, you can focus more freely on your process without external distractions. It allows you to access and release inner blocks. A private session allows more personal work with yourself.

9. Commit to the breathwork – 10x

As with anything, if we want to see any tangible results, we need to do these things consistently. Whether it’s going to the gym or learning something new, the same applies to breathing. You indeed release something with every session, but bringing this practice into your weekly routine will soon result in an accumulation of releases. S. Kierkegaard has said: “People settle for a level of despair they can tolerate and call it happiness.” It may have been so long since we’ve felt any natural lightness in our bodies that we’ve forgotten about it. We can’t even imagine how we could feel lighter than we already do. But we can only experience this if we make a “contract” with ourselves to trust the process and to consistently follow this path for a while. Those who have grabbed the bull by the horns and consistently followed through have experienced the most significant life changes. Some, including myself, are still making progress 😉