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  • Writer's pictureAlana Warlop

How Breathwork Opens the Heart: Guest Blogging for Breath of Bliss

Jan 8th 2018

What does it mean to “open the heart”?  We hear this phrase over and over again in spiritual communities, however the answer may seem elusive or down right confusing because it is such an individual journey. So, here are some ways Breath of Bliss conscious breathwork can open your heart and expand your understanding of the concept.  

While there is no guaranteed or prescribed way to open the heart fast, the most common response from those experiencing breathwork is feeling more love and acceptance. Heart opening is a path to healing that occurs on all levels; physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Breath of Bliss connected breathing creates a physical expansion in your chest.

Your heart rests in the thoracic cavity, which is the rib cage, sternum (breastbone) in the front, and the spine in the back. The bones are connected by muscles, cartilage and part of each rib to the sternum. Your diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle that separates the heart and lungs above from the digestive and reproductive organs below, forms the floor of the thoracic cavity. 

Ideally, this system remains flexible, opening freely with each breath. But when you’re afraid or stressed, your body guards itself. This leads to defensive breathing, meaning shallow or erratic patterns or not breathing at all. Your body interprets fear-driven breath holding as threat to your survival. As a result, the parts of your brain that feel more affection and empathy shut down and your focus turns to survival.

Defensive breathing stiffens the thoracic cavity, armoring the whole area with tension. The rigidity contracts your lungs and makes it hard to inflate them. This decreases blood flow to the heart,, activating your body’s primal response to focus on staying alive rather than bonding and connecting.

Conscious breathwork can return you to your natural state of resilient breathing. You experience relaxed, deep, full breaths which fill all 4 quadrants of the lungs. This increases elasticity in the diaphragm, expands the heart space and releases tension. You feel energized! And bonus, your tissues get a detox!  Breathwork actually “exercises” your heart and lungs back to a stronger, more flexible, youthful you. You become less armored and more open.

Breathwork helps release stuck emotions.

Simply said, emotions are just energy that move along reliable pathways in the body. They serve us by helping us powerfully respond to life. They can feel pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral and are usually accompanied by physical sensations.

Unfortunately, emotions have gotten a bad rap. Most of us have been conditioned to equate emotions with irrational behavior, being out of control, or weakness. As a result, we learn that it is not safe to experience strong emotions. Many tend to numb out or dissociate to avoid the discomfort. In this way, emotions become trapped or held in the body and create an armoring around the heart. 

To release stuck emotions you first need to be in a parasympathetic state (relaxed and safe). When breathwork is shared in a sacred and nurturing way, as in Breath of Bliss ceremonies, you mind/body is able to drop into an immediate state of presence and safety. This allows you to get out of your head! You let go of mental chatter. Your senses awaken. You can feel more supple and free, welcoming more sensations and emotions. 

This softening of the mind allows you to feels comfortable experiencing things that may otherwise be suppressed or difficult. The analyzing mind goes offline. You can feel emotions all the way through.The body can then complete old stress cycles, release trapped pain and trauma. 

Each time you experience an emotion in its fullest expression, you are training your heart how to open. The more fully we feel, the more clearing of the old, stuck emotions we will do.  In this way, breathwork can help you feel more present and accepting of your full humanity.

Breath of Bliss can create a spiritual awakening.

The more you get out of your head, the more you can let go. You release tension, stagnation and become more fluid. As you detox physically and emotionally, you come closer to states of inner stillness. 

In stillness you can touch Spirit.  With an open heart, you can feel trust and surrender. This allows you to tap into a deep, sacred intelligence beyond the mind. You can dance in euphoric realms, feel deeply connected, remember ancient wisdom and feel great peace.

These mystical experiences are both intensely personal and incredibly universal. Feeling deeply connection to your highest self, others and the world is game-changing. Your perspective shifts and you can reconnect with yourself as an eternal soul. You can also reclaim magical sense of childlike innocence, the ability to be in awe of the ordinary.

Share your love with the world.

I hope this article inspires your to take some deeper breaths. Maybe you’ll put your hands on your heart and feel what’s happening there a few times a day. You could create a home breathwork practice or join a group experience. Either way, remember that the more attention you give to your heart, the more love you will have to share with the world.

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