Have you wondered about the purpose of breathwork? In the last few years the phenomenon of breathwork has begun to take root in our culture thanks to the rising costs of healthcare.
The purpose of breathwork is quite simple. It is to take the one thing you can’t live without and use its life giving power to give you access to its unlimited energy.
What is breathwork?
Because the term itself is generic (breath and work), you may not realize how varied the different methods are. Basically, breathwork is taking an automatic animal mechanism of breathing and doing it consciously.
What are the different styles of breathwork?
Each style of breathwork has a different focus. There are practices for concentration, inspiration, balance, stamina and clearing trauma. The variations on breathwork practices are based on breathing through either the nose or mouth, focusing on the inhale or exhale and some practices that work between the left and right nostrils. When you add in holding the breath in or out and the lengths of time you do any one breath, you pretty much have all the permutations of breathwork that have been handed down for over 5000 years.
What is Effiji Breathwork?
Effiji breathwork, which is what I have been doing and teaching for 30 years, is a little unusual in that it is designed to bring forward unresolved trauma and clear patterns, programs, and defense mechanisms that prevent a person from living fully. Unlike most breathwork practices it is best done under guidance from a teacher. It is not a daily life hack type of practice like meditating or yoga. I’m passionate about this style of breathwork which is why I’ve stuck with it for the last 30 years. And only now are we offering free classes online. If you are interested, take a free class and see for yourself the power and beauty of your breath.
My personal breathwork journey
You might wonder how it can clear trauma. Effiji Breath focuses counter-intuitively on breathing through the mouth, in the chest, and focused on the inhale.
This method was shown to me when I had just completed a 5 week voice training in 1990 where all of our breath training was about breathing slowly, evenly, through the nose and into the belly. Everything I was taught as a singer at that point was about relaxing the breath and getting it down into the belly. My understanding was that relaxed breathing like you might do when you are sleeping was in the nose, into the belly. I was also looking into meditation practices which involved not “doing” any breathing at all but watching the breath breathe by itself. Having had a lot of vocal training at that point as a student and teacher, studying the correct use of the diaphragm I was a little surprised when my guide told me we were going to breathe for an hour, through the mouth into the chest. Frankly, it wasn’t simply that it went against my training. I was a little scared. How would I sustain it? What might happen? Would I pass out? It all sounded a little dangerous.
When the breathwork began I felt a rush of energy that was exciting but after one minute I began to get scared, emotional, and out of control and wanted to stop. Over that hour he kept encouraging me to go through it and get to the other side. That other side turned out to be the calmest, most free, natural breath I had ever had. I went home and sang that night like I had never before. I felt so peaceful, creative and clear. There is no doubt that that one experience changed my perspective on what breathwork was and changed the course of the rest of my life. So much so that here in 2021, I am still talking about it.
Breathwork is the conscious use of your breath whose purpose is to give you access to the chi or energy that is contained in every breath you take. Every method has value especially when a teacher gives you a practice whose progress you track together. If you feel that you have deep unseated patterns that are affecting the quality of your life then Effiji Breath is probably the type of practice to do. It is not something you do on your own. You need a beginning, middle and end. The facilitators job is to hold space for the patterns to arise and make sure it’s cleared out for good. If I had done my first breathwork session on my own I would have stopped after one minute.
There is nothing more important or powerful than your breath. Try living without it! You can go without food and even water for a small period of time but you need your breath all the time. To work with it consciously is to work with your life consciously. Your breath gives you direct access to the force of the universe that has given you life in the first place. It is no doubt a powerful tool.