A critical part of breathwork is the integration of what has been experienced and what the breath has brought up for us during a breathe and bringing the insights, releases and understanding into our daily life.
Deep sharing, allowing yourself to be authentic and vulnerable will assist greatly in the integration process. I have experienced in group breathwork, that just one person, really opening up and sharing can create mass healing of everyone present. It is profound.
The other aspect of the deep sharing, post breathe, is deep listening. This is a powerful enabler of integration and consolidation of breathwork.
Breathwork can and does bring up things that may be associated with shame, the energy and integration of shame will be taught in depth through out the course. In group breathwork each person who shares openly, helps to take the shame away from bringing to light the hidden things that the breath has exposed. You will have an opportunity to experience group sharing after the online group breathes.
If you feel resistance to sharing with others, perhaps the reason that you are feeling like that – is because there is shame there. Shame really likes to hide!
Part of this work is to shine light on the shame so it can’t hide anymore. Then it will stop having power over you. This can be life changing.
Book Recommendation: Healing the Shame that binds you- Bradshaw
Sharing must not be forced
Even though I stress that sharing is a huge part of the process and integration of breathwork, it should never be forced. It is always presented as an invitation. If you, or the person you are supporting don’t feel ready to share, then they shouldn’t be pressed and safety should be discussed to see if the client or person who is breathing feels safe and if there is anything they need to feel more supported.
In face-to-face group breathwork, we use a sacred talking stick, and it gets passed around in the group. If any person doesn’t feel ready to share when the stick is passed to them, they are completely free to pass it on.
Sharing when working with a buddy in your training
At retreats and when working with your buddy for learning, you will both share your experiences. The person breathing would share their experiences during their breathe. The person supporting would share their experiences of supporting and being a witness to the breathwork session.
Some examples from students of sharing their experience of holding space and having space held for them:
“I loved holding space, but I was a bit nervous as I wanted to do my best. I wanted to hold a really strong space. Because of this I wasn’t really able to be intuitive and I got into a space of confusion… I feel really blessed to have been a part of this journey with my beautiful girl.”
“Having space held for me was beautiful, [hearing] your voice every now and then, coming in to remind me in that space was helpful because my mind did keep drifting away to what I needed to do for cooking that day. Then I could feel my whole body, stuff happening in and around my body, then I felt like I was being beaten – and then found myself in-utero..being beaten by my father who was a violent alcoholic, carried by a women who didn’t want me, and realising that I had been born from a night of violence. Implanted that way and all through that experience, there was violence and I kept pulling back further and further into my mother and all she wanted was for me to not be there.”
“I felt like I was on fire and it was just amazing. Just to top it all off a little fairy thing came and laid on my hand. It was one of the dogs and it was so beautiful. The last few years of my life have been very difficult, moving from being a leader in my career…I was shown that you have to be broken, they had to break me to make me new again. They showed me that I had to get back down into the dirt and suffering. I can’t believe how I just breathed a few times and my fingers were vibrating! I should be doing this all the time. I just loved it.”
“I enjoy holding space. I always love doing that.”
“In my breathe, I had a lot of resistance come up and it was confusing. I am feeling very confused. It’s a lot of different emotions, it’s not just one, I don’t really understand. It was like I couldn’t breathe, but I really wanted to. What is there? Why can’t I access it? Why can’t I go through it?”
How to listen deeper
When you are deep listening, you might like to think about what expectations your breather might be communicating about what they expected to happen, what they might be resisting, what emotions may be being resisted.
You could invite them to try and name what they are feeling if they haven’t been able to easily find the words or which emotions were present. Invite them to check in about anything that is problematic for them.
A little gentle probing can be very helpful to enable your buddy to express, identify and shine a light on what came up for them in the breathe. Things that people have trouble expressing may be things resisted, things that they are uncomfortable with, or they may be associated with shame.
When deep emotions come up, you can allow yourself and your buddy to be with them. To allow them to be fully felt and to be fully present to them. Whatever those emotions might be, you don’t want to shut them out, or push them away.
You want to say to emotions that come up, “You are welcome here. All is welcome here, in total acceptance and love of these aspects of yourself”. Let yourself feel how it feels! Even if it is uncomfortable.
The feeling helps you to see aspects of yourself. The more that you get to really sit with it, that’s healing. These are part of yourself, all these emotions, the anger, frustration, grief, hatred, sadness.”
Compassion and Courage
Having compassion for yourself and for your partner / client is a wonderful part of the healing journey of breathwork.
Doing breathwork properly, really going there – actually takes a lot of courage. You have to be super-brave. We all think, yeah! I’m going to do breathwork and I’ve heard that it’s all blissful. Then, suddenly you are feeling all this shit that you don’t want to feel and it can be really overwhelming. You find yourself thinking “Oh, my God! This is what the work is, it really feels bad right now!”
All this stuff that you don’t want is coming up, and you are not going to feel like welcoming it, nurturing it, hugging it. But you have to push, breathe through all the resistance. You know that you are going to get the breakthroughs if you keep going.
Do the work and you will get the expansion. Show up, breathe and then talk, because that is when you get the gold. Honour yourself for doing the work and honour all others. Know that you are supported by me, by your buddy, by the group.
You will do a great disservice to yourself to let what comes up for yourself or your buddy (or client ), slip under the radar. That is not what you are here for. It’s not what they are here for.
KEY POINTS FOR BEGINNER FACILITATORS
Working with your buddy
Honour your partnership and how you have held space for each other.
Approaching with an attitude of deep respect is especially critical at the beginning. Just starting out in breathing and in holding space can be a delicate time. Being fully present with gentleness will help your connection to grow.
Be willing to fully acknowledge that you are learning. When you are doing it for the first few times, you don’t really know what you are doing. Just let yourself feel into that and don’t expect to know what to do. Experiment! If you get an intuition to do something, do it and note the results.
My rule is that if something comes up 3 times, then I do it. That is enough for me to be absolutely sure, if I wasn’t feeling sure straight-away. Borrow this for your working with your intuition if it’s helpful. And know that you never have to do something when you are unsure, and while you are still learning.