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  • Writer's pictureAlana Warlop

Healing Trauma Through Breathwork: Guest Blog for Breath of Bliss

March 2018

Trauma is essentially an extremely stressful or disturbing event that’s left you feeling helpless, overwhelmed and emotionally out of control. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety long after the trauma occurred. It can also lead to feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Unfortunately, Trauma doesn’t just go away with time as it is stored deeply in the nervous system and our psyches. Fortunately, with the help of healing modalities like Transformational Breathwork or circular-connected breathing, you can start to reconnect to the body, speed your recovery and reclaim your power.

What is trauma?

Trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and unsafe. Traumatic events can be life-threatening incidents like an accident, injury, natural disaster or violent attack. They can also be ongoing, relentless stresses like living in a war-ridden country, battling a life-threatened illness, being deeply disappointed, having a careless care-taker or repeated sexual assaults.

Trauma is defined by the way a person reacts to events. So a trauma to one person may not be a trauma to another. And some people can cope with the trauma and move forward quickly while others can’t.

Whether or not a traumatic event involves death or perceived threat of death, the survivor must cope with the loss of their sense of safety. The natural reaction to this loss is grief. This type of grief involves a deep process like any other and we need proper tools such as breathwork and understanding of how it effects the body in order to heal.

How we can Heal from Trauma with Breathwork?

Trauma takes us out of our bodies and the present moment. We instinctively disassociate from the overwhelming experience as a way to stay safe. In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, we must learn to be with and face the root of our uncomfortable feelings, shame, guilt, and insecurities that resulted from the experience in a safe/secure way AND in the present moment. Healing comes from resolving the unpleasant feelings and memories you may be avoiding, discharging the pent-up “fight or flight” energy which lives in the nervous system, learning to regulate strong emotions and rebuilding your ability to trust other people.

Safe and Secure

Breath of Bliss ceremonies allows us to be with and in our bodies in a safe/secure environment. When we use circular-connected breath, the protective part of our brain that overrides our feelings is essentially off-line. This opens the opportunity to access deeper feeling states that have become trapped in the body. During times of stress or trauma, the mind wanted to keep you from the feelings that went along with experience; which at the time was a survival mechanism and very appropriate. However, now that that experience is over, those feelings are buried in the body and nervous system because they were never allowed to be expressed.

Shake if Off…Literally!

During breathwork practice, our body sometimes shakes, trembles, or moves in a way that is unexplainable to us. At times, we may want to scream, punch, laugh or feel incredibly strong emotions arising. This is the bodies way of enacting a response that it wasn’t able to complete at the time of a stressful event. It got buried deep but it never left you.

Through the use of circular-connected breath ceremonies, the participants experience a safe, guided technique that allows for our parasympathetic system (rest and restore reflex) to activate while being encouraged to let stuck sounds, movements and emotions come to the surface. Essentially, The body wanted to complete an action during the event like running, fighting, or yelling in order to get out of the situation. We begin to discharge the repressed sensations and create more space and freedom in our bodies.

Healing only happens in the present moment.

Trauma damages the present moment experience, which is the ultimate hallmark of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Healing and Integration can literally only happen in the present moment, which is why practices that help you to be present are so helpful for trauma. When you breath, you become completely attuned to the sensations in your body and aware of what is happening now without your mind spewing constant commentary. We tend to tell stories and make them mean something about us such as, feeling stuck and then believing that you are unworthy of being loved because of it. In the present moment we become suspended in a timeless place that creates the calm and connection necessary to re-experience a world free from our limiting beliefs.

Re-claim the Power to Trust

As we boldly go through the process of letting the body shed what it doesn’t need to hold onto anymore with the circular breath release, we start to see that we can self-source our own power. In essence, trauma takes away our ability to choose what happened to us for a brief or extended period of time. Breathwork is a tool that helps us remember that the body knows how to heal itself and you have the power to get unstuck through the deep connection you create to yourself once again. Less and less, you get hijacked by or have to distract from your emotions as you now have a safe, resourced and compassionate way to be with them. Trusting your bodies intelligence to heal, we have the potential to begin a more loving relationship with ourselves and eventually with others.

My hope is that if you have experienced trauma in your life, you can start to re-condition the body/mind to experience the world as a safer place through breathwork practices. That you can separate past experience from the present and breath your way into a more integrated and radiant life.

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