The Breath Work is a guided breathing and meditation therapy that teaches mindfulness and increases the client’s awareness of their spiritual self. This holistic therapy is based on the principles of Pranic and Shamanic Breathing techniques.
During the Breath Work group, clients begin with an open discussion about sobriety, recovery, self-love, self-acceptance, and what they’re currently dealing with in recovery. After the discussion, the clients participate in a guided deep breathing and meditation, which helps them connect with their prana or life force. Through this breathing meditation, the blood is oxygenated and the space is created to allow multiple levels of healing. An old saying states that if you add a tablespoon of salt to a glass of water, the water will taste very bitter. If you add that same tablespoon of salt to a bucket, the salt becomes diluted; and if you add that same amount to a pond the salt is no longer noticeable. The amount of salt doesn’t change, but the size of the container expands. One of the goals of the Breath Work is to help clients enlarge their self-awareness, which is like giving them the capacity of a larger container. The Breath Work meditation does not take away the stress or “salt” of past trauma, abuse, negative events, anxiety, depression, etc. However, the impact becomes smaller and smaller the greater our self-awareness becomes.
During the meditation clients create a personal mantra to focus on throughout The breath Work meditation. This helps provide a positive direction as they are guided through different types of deep breathing. We also play specific types of music which have been shown to have positive impacts on your physical and mental health. In ancient China they placed great importance on music, calling it “the celestial energies of perfect harmony.” The secret power of music has been believed to be able to connect a person with the universe in harmony, which in turn helps attain good health and a sense of well-being (Han, et al., 2010).
The Breath Work meditation also helps to lower mental health distress. For example, the cycle of depression usually starts out by “feeling bad” and before we know it we’ve been pulled down into the spiral, and no amount of struggle will get us out; in fact, the more we struggle, the deeper we end up. What is at work is a certain mental pattern that is triggered automatically by unpleasant emotion (Williams, et al., 2007). The solution is to create purposeful awareness of the feelings and associated thoughts that can lead to depression, see them for what they are, but do not engage in battle with these thoughts and feelings. This requires recognizing that one’s usual reactions to feelings of unhappiness can transform a normal fleeting emotion into chronic and persistent unhappiness. By applying the mindfulness and breathing techniques used in Breath Work one can learn to shift from the “doing mode” (solving the problem) to the “being mode” (simply experiencing the problem). This is a radically different approach and many people may have difficulty disengaging from trying to solve the problem to instead investigating the feelings of the present moment without the need to solve or change anything. This is the heart of the “being mode” and mindful Breath Work practice. It is intentional, nonjudgmental, and experiential, focusing directly on present-moment experience (Williams, et al., 2007).
This may sound strange, or possibly even exhausting, but most people leave their Breath Work session feeling energized, inspired, and uplifted. Many people have also discovered a deep level of healing. Breath Work is an amazing holistic supplemental treatment, along with therapy, to aid in your recovery from addiction and a lifelong skill that you can take with you throughout your sobriety.