The Rhythm of the Breath in Stress Mastery
Stress is a state of inner personal anxiety and can occur in all aspects of our lives. It triggers processes of non-communication that hinder productivity, creativity, and intimacy.
All of us, in some way or another, can be affected by this ‘condition’. Symptoms like bad moods, prolonged tiredness, anxiety, lack of motivation and negative vision are almost normal in today’s world, yet prolonged exposure to them will create serious unbalance in our systems.
A major difficulty of healing this ‘illness’ lies in the fact that stress continuously feeds back on itself. Once it is present in the organism, its effect becomes a cause.
It is important to differentiate between what I call “Creative Tension” and “Real Stress”.
Creative Tension is a stressful situation where we retain a certain control, such as in sport or organising a wedding. Real Stress appears in a situation where we have no control over the event, such as an accident, natural disaster, economic crisis, etc.
Stress inhibits breathing.
One of the most devastating effects of stress is the inhibition of breathing. With the repetition of stressful situations, the result becomes chronic and generates serious hang-ups such as lack of creativity, low productivity, chronic fatigue, and mood swings, amongst others. The symptoms experienced can be repressed emotions, frustration, lack of purpose, difficulty in expressing love and gratitude, all of which will affect our access to intimacy.
To fully liberate yourself from the effects of stress, the study and practice of breathing techniques is an excellent place to begin.
Breathing is a life-sustaining activity that we begin to practice instinctively from the moment we are born and continues uninterrupted until the moment we die. The rhythm of our respiration is such a familiar practice to us that most of our lives we are even unaware of our participation in this vital action. Remember, however, that though we can survive for many days without food and not quite so long without water, if we are prevented from breathing, most humans will be dead within three or four minutes. This is how fundamental the breathing process is to our well-being.
Conscious Connected Breathwork is also a somatic therapy. An hour-long session with the rhythm of the breath, used in this technique, influences neural activity, enhances memory recall, and expands emotional awareness. It helps to release suppressed blockages from the autonomic nervous system.
Also, it can access supressed non-verbal memories, being a huge support as somatic therapy and working toward understanding and healing – PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Since 1993, I have applied this breathing technique in various contexts of stress including recovery from addictions and I have found it to be immensely powerful in supporting and advancing the treatments, since our bodies hold our traumas and yet are also able to self-heal.
The release of physical tension is the first effect and reframing past and negative experiences the second, completed by integration of the self. It can be used as a stand-alone therapy or as an add-on to medical treatments. Conscious Connected Breathwork can also create access to an extraordinary state of consciousness often leading to the experience of bliss and transcendence.