What is breathwork?
Breathwork is a general term used to describe any type of therapy that utilizes breathing exercises to improve mental, physical, and spiritual health. Many forms of breathwork therapy exist today. Each has its own unique methods of using breath for healing purposes. Many current practices, like Goldenair, draw from an ancient Pranayama tradition while incorporating modern techniques. The techniques are fairly simple, but the results are often profound.
Goldenair employs a powerful, active breath done laying on your back. A 3-part breath (inhale/inhale/exhale) enables you to access a non-ordinary state of consciousness by turning down the executive and higher cognitive functions of the brain (transient hypofrontality - similar to an extreme 'runner's high'). With the executive portion of the brain turned down, the older, limbic brain is activated. This gives rise to creative insights, breakthroughs and transformation. People often cite their first session as one of the most powerful singular experiences of their lives, and go forth from the session with real-life applicable to-dos.
It's an exciting time for breathwork, as a growing wave of of people is discovering the benefits of regular practice.
Our breath is the easiest part of our autonomic nervous system to manipulate consciously. As such, Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts." The breath is an accessible tool if you wanna feel great in mind/body/spirit. Goldenair participants often report:
Newfound meaning and purpose
Increased access to creativity
Bliss, awe, and transcendence
Deep relaxation and peace
Specific, actionable life insights
What are some of the benefits?
Did you know that 70 percent of the toxins inside our bodies are removed through our lungs? Manipulating our breath consciously through Breathwork may bring benefits to a wide range of issues, including:
Chronic pain relief
Relieving deep trauma and grief
Squashing negative inner voices
Clearing toxins at the cellular level
Is it safe?
Breathwork is generally a very safe practice with very few negative reactions. Your breath, after all, is the source of your life. Generally, the stress on the body during breathwork is similar to active exercise. However, there are some contraindications to be aware of, including pregnancy, heart conditions, aneurysms, epilepsy, glaucoma, detached retina, psychiatric disorders, ptsd, parasomnia, and recent surgery. If you're unsure if you are fit to participate in breathwork, please consult your medical professional before you do.
How do I prepare for a session?
Wear comfy clothes, bring a yoga mat and blanket (if you like - some people get chilly), drink some water, and avoid eating an hour or two beforehand. Other than that, bring an adventurous spirit and you're clear for takeoff.
What can I expect?
Hard to say, really. Everyone's experience is different, and you may have different experiences from session to session. The best way to know is to dive right in - it's always the perfect time to start. (There's never been any other time but now, has there?)
What's going on with my hands?!
A healthy percentage of people who try breathwork get something called Tetany. These are cramps, convulsions, or tightness in parts of the body (often the hands or feet or lips), that may be uncomfortable to experience. The medical explanation of this is that it’s caused by the intensity of our breathing — as we expel CO2 and other gasses, the body becomes more alkaline, creating this effect.
An additional explanation would suggest that the body inherently knows how to release inner tension, or places we are energetically ‘stuck'. In order to efficiently release, it first maximizes, or pools this tension. Dr. Stanislav Grof writes that "...it represents a unique opportunity for healing. What emerges under these circumstances is unconscious material with strong emotional charge that is most ready for processing."
The important thing to know about tetany is that it is temporary, and always goes away. It is often accompanied by big releases and enhanced relaxation. Making friends with tetany by breathing through it and allowing these sensations may be a highly beneficial part of your breathwork experience. That said, your body knows best. If at any time the sensations are just too uncomfortable, you can breathe through your nose and the tension will dissipate in a few minutes.