“If you could, you would…and when you can, you will”.
Reassuring words from Alakh Analda, my personal Breathwork mentor.
When we realise that we have healing work to do, or when things are challenging with our children, and we don’t have any answers or ideas why, it is ESSENTIAL that we be gentle with ourselves.
It’s ok that we don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes it takes a while to find what works for us and our families.
Here at The Reconnected, our bigger purpose is to make the world a better place, and breathwork and Play Therapy are the two main pillars we use to shift the dial towards personal and collective healing.
With nearly 30 years of personal breathwork experience between ourselves (Emma and Eleanor) and after guiding thousands of people and parents through breathwork sessions, we have seen the power of the breath!
Below are 4 ways the breath helps us heal…
It helps you connect with your body and sensitises you to the sensations so you can be more in touch with the messages it sends you.
Your kid does that thing that drives you nuts, and you feel the rush of anger, or they’re being extra needy, and you are overwhelmed and have a strong body sensation to pull away.…
…You end up losing it and yell at your kids (always a hard moment, we know) or run and hide in the laundry room just to escape the chaos for a moment…
Even after the kids settle and calm down, you’re left with a tightness in your chest or still feeling angry, like you could erupt like a volcano. Or just exhausted from what happened.
Can you relate?
So, how is it possible to ACTUALLY feel different, so you can authentically respond differently?
With breathwork, we create spaciousness and awareness in the body. This is a game changer when we deeply desire to respond to our kids or any challenge in life with more ease and grace!
This means our breath gives us space to witness our sensations in real time, say in a breathwork session. The breath also better prepares us to be with intense emotions whenever we get triggered in the future.
So, you catch yourself sooner! You notice the tightness in your shoulders, rising heartbeat, feeling hot or overwhelmed. You take a moment to pause before things really escalate.
This ‘sacred pause’ can be the difference between yelling at your kids again and instead tuning into what’s happening in your body.
THIS is what creates BIG change over time. Instead of reacting, you consciously decide your next move – how you’ll meet this moment of challenge!
It doesn’t mean you don’t feel triggered (more on that below), but with greater awareness of your body and sensations, you have more agency in how you respond!
It shows you what your subconscious beliefs are about yourself and gives you a chance to rewrite them consciously. It changes your self-perception and self-concept.
Have you read all the parenting books and get the concept that when you have kids, they will trigger your own childhood stuff? BUT do you still struggle with what you are supposed to DO to ACTUALLY change things!
Or do you keep hitting up against the same limiting beliefs even after doing years of talk therapy and knowing the root cause?
Here’s the thing, most of our childhood experiences and self-beliefs have a WAY deeper hold on us than we realise.
And these memories are NOT held in our conscious awareness. They have a somatic emotional charge!
So, when we try to change our beliefs from our mind, it can take a looooong time…
When we go directly to the source – our breath, body and Nervous System – we can rewire them quickly and easily.
We’ve heard it time and time again, someone who has been in talk therapy for years and after beginning breathwork, something clicks! They no longer feel tied up by the same thought patterns. It’s like they found the missing puzzle piece and they are amazed at how old fears and insecurities have seemed to melt away!
The breath shows the way and rewires how we see ourselves! We get to connect to the part of ourselves that feels light, true, and playful!
It gives you space to feel all your feelings so that you can unburden yourself of emotions you have yet been able to feel.
Do you shallow breathe?
Restrictions in our breathing are mirrored in inhibitions in our emotions, mind, and spirit. Low energy, stagnant emotions, and negative thinking all correlate with higher levels of sympathetic activity and shallow breathing.
Taking a full breath, returning our breath to its optimal state and filling the breathing mechanism often puts us in contact with difficult feelings, because we have suppressed our breath, to suppress the feelings, to cope.
Simply put, breathwork takes us directly to the emotions we have pushed away all our lives.
It may feel like you can’t tolerate the feelings arising because, in the past, you had to suppress them in order to keep going.
The thing is, becoming safe to feel is NOT something you can just intellectually understand.
You can’t think your way through an emotion. And you DEFINITELY can’t think your way through suppressed emotions.
So we’ve got a unique way of using the breath that helps you to become SAFE to feel.
As you move towards a more optimal long slow full breath, you can revisit or “be with” those places from the past when you inhibited your breath.
This style of breathing is gentle and leaves you feeling so light emotionally. Many people say, “I’ve let go of things I never knew I was carrying!”
Wondering how breathwork can help us feel challenging emotions and release trauma?
Being with challenging and suppressed feelings IS safe. But it doesn’t necessarily FEEL safe.
This is usually because when the original hurt happened, feeling our emotions compromised our acceptance by our caregiver, which for a small child, threatens our survival and sense of safety.
The first step to safely feeling traumatic emotions is to remember that taking a full breath IS safe, but what is arising is an old feeling and belief that “it’s not safe to feel.”
So the first thing to create safety is to use the mantra before you start breathwork, “It wasn’t safe to feel then, but it’s safe now”, which is true!
AND THEN use your breath to stay with the feeling and thought, “It’s not safe to feel,” so as to validate the original hurt.
This tends to the part of us that is afraid to feel. Many Breathwork styles encourage skipping over this important layer of our experience, when in fact, if we make ourselves wrong for feeling unsafe to feel, or skip being with this part of ourselves, we miss healing and rewriting a very important belief.
We hold space for ALL of our experiences and emotions.
15-minutes of long slow full breath activates the parasympathetic Nervous System and gives you the inner space to STAY with these hard feelings in a new way. We literally show up for ourselves like a caring and attentive parent would, and breath by breath create a greater feeling of safety within us!
It shows you that challenges arise and you know how to get through them. This means instead of getting overwhelmed by life, you feel equipped to meet life.
Deep down, we all want to feel peaceful and calm, but the reality is that life and parenting is HARD and brings up HARD emotions.
If we attempt to simply put a mask of calm on over the top, it is very confusing for kids. Our kids get the message directly from our Nervous System, and we can feel inauthentic.
The irony is, when we accept and embrace, move towards and accept our emotions, ALL of them, anger, upset and more, we can integrate any old suppressed emotions.
THEN we find ourselves feeling genuinely safe and grounded to feel emotions as they arise. We feel more freedom. We make daily decisions, whether big or small, from a conscious place rather than unconscious and based on old patterning.
It’s easier to feel more playful and creative because we live from a more open, receptive and calm place.
THIS is true regulation! THIS is how we move from survival to thriving!
The breath helps you step into an empowered role in your life rather than feeling like things are always happening to you without your say.
As one parent shared, “Breathwork has helped me feel emotions that I’ve been running from in a safe space and then release them. I’ve also learned how much power I have through intention, helping me heal from my victim mindset that I’ve had through much of my life.”
If you are just beginning on your breathwork journey, know that it is NEVER too late to change or heal.
Trusting ourselves and trusting this process is the ultimate attitude of self-compassion. It allows us to accept where we are while knowing that things will shift in perfect timing!
And if you could have already, you would have. And as soon as you can…you will!
Now, more than ever, there is an opportunity to step into creative mastery as human beings and a collective. To use our intention and energy to create and anchor more love here on planet Earth!