I just came from a Breathwork session. What should I know?
Your entire body has just undergone a profound and intense process at the levels of the nervous system, glandular functions (hormones and blood chemistry), emotions, and also mentally. Therefore, I’ve compiled some information to assist you in navigating the integration phase smoothly over the upcoming days. Additionally, I’ve included practical insights to carry into your daily life. Furthermore, I’m providing you with two tools that can aid you in managing intense emotions should they become overwhelming.
- Be kind to yourself today. Be mindful.
- Listen to your body. If you feel inclined to engage in any activity (walking, exercising, moving, resting, eating, relaxing, etc.), allow yourself to do so. This way you are strengthening your connection with your body and its needs. By fulfilling our body’s needs, it makes the body feel good, and we live in our body.
- Allow yourself time and space for introspection, embracing your body, thoughts, and emotions.
- You might experience a sense of increased gentleness and heightened sensitivity post-breathwork. It’s entirely natural to encounter more emotions that are also heavier than usual. On such occasions, I’m inviting you to allow yourself to experience and connect with these feelings and emotions. Allow them to flow through and out. Directing your attention towards your breath, embracing relaxation, and tuning into bodily sensations can be quite effective in these moments. (Below you’ll find a link to breathing exercise).
- Monitor your emotional state in the next couple of days. Observe your responses to various situations and interactions. Notice what you feel within and how you respond to that too.
- Experiencing greater fatigue than usual is normal – honor your body’s need for rest.
- Feeling more easily irritable is normal – pause and attempt to identify the source of the irritation, what irritates? Perhaps you left something unexpressed?
- It’s also normal to feel more emotions than usual – breathing puts us more in touch with our bodies and that means more feelings. However, feeling is necessary to experience these emotions. When we have suppressed a lot of emotions in our lives, it takes time to release them from the body. On the other hand, if we’re not used to feeling and now suddenly we’re starting to feel, it can be a bit scary.
- Feeling more emotions in the body is also normal. Our body’s subconscious transmits information to our conscious mind through physical sensations. Intuition is also a bodily sensation. If we are not used to feeling what is happening in the body, it can feel strange and even scary at first. The more we are in touch with our bodies, the more we feel, and the more we feel, the more we are in touch with life.
Bear in mind that emotions typically last for about 60-90 seconds on average, and at most, 2-3 minutes. If an emotion lingers longer than this, it’s likely trapped within us and we don’t let it flow through freely. This might stem from being stuck in thoughts and stories or there is some defense mechanism in place that prevents us from fully accessing the emotion.
If you feel that your body is full of emotions and your mind is full of restless and chaotic thoughts, writing is a good practice to unload the heaviness and clear your mind. (below you will find a link to a writing practice).
If you feel it is difficult to fall asleep after breathwork, know that this is also normal. Often, conscious connected breathing recharges us with energy.
What’s the Next Step?
It all depends on what your goal is. Whether you want to work on yourself to bring real change into your life, or you’ve come to Breathwork just to experience something new.
If you really want to bring change into your life and release subconscious negative thought patterns and repressed emotions from your body and mind, then I would definitely recommend committing to a minimum of 10 Breathwork sessions, maintaining a consistency in work. In consistency lies also a greater change.
If you’ve come out of curiosity to experience what this breathwork is all about, that’s okay too. We are all moving through life, exploring and experiencing new things and seeing what speaks to us and what doesn’t.
Breathwork is not just about releasing something. For example, it can help to widen our respiratory passages and calm our nervous system from overwork or other stresses. It helps us to come to a state of calm and ease.
3 Essentials – Expressing Your Boundaries, Needs, and Truth.
Identify where your boundaries lie and how you navigate them in your interactions with others. How do you safeguard these boundaries? If you feel someone is crossing your boundaries, how do you respond? Do you keep quiet, or do you express it, and do you express it indirectly or directly? If you would rather not set your boundaries, then notice your defenses and what you try to avoid. What do you protect? If you express your boundaries, keep doing it; even if it involves feeling anger.
Notice your needs and if and how you express them. If you’re holding back, what might be the reason? What are you protecting yourself from? No one can meet our needs if we don’t express them. I invite you to express your needs more consciously.
Express your truth. Our personal truth is not universal but is purely our personal experience of something. Our truth is what we are feeling, thinking, and experiencing at the moment. Therefore, our truth is constantly changing. However, we cannot ignore it because it is what is happening to us now. It is also about being honest with ourselves. It’s accepting ourselves as we are without pretense. When we express our truth clearly and definitively, we are more likely to live in harmony with ourselves.
For example, try to notice moments when you don’t allow yourself to express something or you swallow some emotions. No need to be harsh on yourself during these moments. Simply build awareness, and you’ll get a grip on the suppressions in time.
Incorporate more of these three aspects into your daily life:
Drink plenty of water after a breathwork session and as part of your daily routine. Breathwork may lead to significant fluid loss in our bodies. Water serves as the medium in which our body exchanges substances and information. If we don’t have enough fluids in our body, the processes in our body are slowed down and this is reflected in the way we feel. When our bodies are adequately hydrated, all systems function more smoothly, resulting in an improved sense of well-being.
Relaxation and sleep
Give yourself enough time for rest and sleep. Sleep, particularly deep sleep, is when the brain and body restores energy reserves and creates physical repair. During sleep, our subconscious mind processes and organizes information. Our concentration, energy levels, and well-being suffer when we are chronically sleep deprived. You have probably experienced that if you have enough sleep, the following day or time will be of a better quality.
Nature designed us to move, not to sit still. Daily physical activity is essential to feeling energized and that helps us feel good. This is why engaging in exercising and taking walks have a grounding, calming, and energizing effect. The less we move, the less energy we have. Energy becomes stagnant when we remain sedentary. Movement generates energy, and in turn, energy fuels movement. When energy is lacking, movement is hindered. Break this cycle by incorporating more movement into your life.
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Healing the self, trauma, and the nervous system is a gradual process. Sometimes, it is bumpy, and other times it is smooth. It is generally chaotic, as my own experience confirms. It’s perfectly normal if, after many sessions, we feel like we’re in a ‘hole’ again for a while. After all, new topics come to the surface and must be worked through. By adopting a long-term perspective, you will certainly find that you are in a better place today than you were before.
Should you decide to embark on a longer and more in-depth journey into the practice of Breathwork, I suggest you be patient and trust the process and its speed and rhythm. It may take longer than expected, but with enough consistency, all the unnecessary will move out of us.
Conclusion – Integrating Lessons into Daily Life
– Express your truth clearly.
– Express your needs clearly.
– Express your boundaries clearly.
– Allow yourself to experience emerging emotions as they surface.
– Respect others boundaries, even when they are not expressed clearly and verbally. – Our bodies communicate more nonverbal information than we often realize. At times, silence and yes may in fact mean ‘NO.’
– Bring more awareness into your breathing.
– Bring more awareness into your body and feelings.
– Find a meditation or breathing practice for yourself to do on a daily basis.
– Allow tears, as they literally release stress hormones.
– If you find yourself triggered by someone or something, then feel what precisely is triggered in you. It may have nothing to do with the triggerer and everything to do with you.
– Be patient if all those lessons are not mastered instantly. Noticing and building awareness takes time.
Additionally: drink enough water, give yourself enough sleep to fully recover, and bring more movement into your life.
– Healing your nervous system through breathwork requires time; trust the process and its inherent rhythm.
– If you are seeking further personal evolution and substantial change, schedule your next breathwork session.
You may find answers to some of your questions in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
I’ve also promised to share two tools with you: writing and breathwork practices. Both of these practices are meant to assist you when your mind is exhausted with mental noise or when emotions are stuck within your body and are not moving through:
Write to Clear the Mind (exercise/practice/tool) – [Article in progress]
Observe Breathing to Release Stress (exercise/practice/workshop) – [Article in progress]
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