With so many interesting and alternative solutions available to relieve everyday issues like stress, it's only fitting that transformational breathwork caught our eye.
Whether you're a yogi who's been exposed to various breathing techniques, have been to many a retreat for mindfulness, or on the other hand, don't even know how many different kinds of meditations are out there, it's worth knowing why so many people engage with this method of breathing.
What is transformational breath?
Transformational breathing or breathwork is a self-empowering and self-healing tool using your own breath. It works on 3 levels – the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. This breathing technique utilises a high-frequency energy that's created by an increased oxygen intake – increased because of no pause between the inhale and the exhale. It's then said to raise and alter low vibrational energy patterns – helping you to feel more in control, less prone to stress and anxiety and feel better all around.
Once the subconscious mind has been cleared by the change in vibrational patterns, some people often experience a deeper connection to themselves and the world around them.
How to do transformational breathing
Transformational breathing exercises are done with an open mouth – the breath is drawn into the belly and the exhale is completely relaxed. It is best to do it with a trained facilitator or attend an intro workshop first before practicing on your own.
Transformational breath encourages a full diaphragmatic breath. This massages all the organs that come into contact with, or are affected by, the movement of the diaphragm, thus aiding good circulation. Your facilitator should be trained to observe the breath and see, physically, where your breath is being held. They will then use simple techniques including adjusting the position of your body, gentle hands-on pressure, sound and positive affirmations to help the breath to open up and flow more freely. This, coupled to a specific breath pattern, is said to clear negativity in the sub-conscious mind and help you feel more aware, lighter, happier and peaceful (1).
What to expect from a transformational breathing class
During your first session, the facilitator will do a breath analysis to see how you are breathing and the areas your breath is flowing to or not. As mentioned, the facilitator will also use a hands-on technique applying pressure points into specific areas on the body where the breath is not flowing and energy blockages may be held here – a technique called body mapping. Affirmations may be said whilst applying pressure to certain points that can link to emotions being held in certain areas in the body. The participant may be asked to tone (make a sound) and/or do a specific movement such as kicking and pounding to get the breath flowing more. This is particularly useful if emotional energy is building up and can allow that energy to move through the body.
Transformational breathing benefits
If our breathing becomes restricted, we may find ourselves suddenly dealing with some sort of physical illness, feeling completely lethargic, or emotionally drained. Naturally, restricted breathing can be caused by emotional upset, as we hold our breath to prevent ourselves being overwhelmed by our feelings. These thoughts and emotions are said to accumulate when you hold your breath and then get suppressed at a cellular level, humming in the background of our subconscious mind. Our unresolved emotions and low vibration energy patterns can affect the way we live our lives, therefore how one breathes is symbolic of how one lives life.
With practice, as recommended by your facilitator, the breath will begin to flow more freely at all times and may even make you feel like you have more mental clarity, emotional freedom and resilience.
Remember, breathing exercises are not a cure for illness. However, breathwork benefits have shown to include support for coping with anxiety, stress and burnout (2). If you have any concerns about your wellbeing please contact your Doctor before you try transformational breathing.
Transformational breathwork training
The training to become a Transformational Breath Facilitator is extensive. First, you must complete a weeklong personal seminar of Levels 1-3 for your own practice. From there, if you wish to do a Level 4 professional training, it is split into two different weeks – 4A and 4B, often residential. During and upon completion of Level 4, trainee facilitators will need to complete forty case studies, facilitate at group workshops, and complete the required reading list before becoming certified. You cannot call yourself a Transformational Breath Facilitator unless you have completed the required training.
Transformational breathwork dangers
As mentioned above, make sure to do your research and find a qualified facilitator if you would like to try transformational breathing as some breathwork can have the effect of altering one's state of consciousness – especially right after a session – making some people feel extremely sensitive, afraid or confused (3). This method of breathing is not a treatment for any major illness, so please consult your Doctor should you have any concerns regarding your wellbeing.
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1. US Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/
2. NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/
3. National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805119/