The World Health Organization has declared that by 2020 anxiety will be second only to heart disease as the principal cause of health-related deaths on the planet. Many people turn to alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs to deal with anxiety, but all of these options carry serious negative side-effects. Surely, there must be a healthy way to deal with anxiety. Yes, there is. And it’s simple, cheap and effective. Nor do we need to leave our home buy it. It’s free, it’s here, it’s now. It’s the breath.
Connected breathing has been around since the 1970’s. It goes under a variety of names, including Rebirthing, Holotrophic Breath and Transformational Breath, to name a few. Connected breathing does not belong to any specific tradition, although some say it is a form of Kriya Yoga. For our purposes we will simply call it, The Healing Breath.
Negative experiences can trigger powerful reactions in our bodies. The birth experience, for instance, can be traumatic. A child’s first day of school can be positively frightening. Being attacked by bullies, being sexually abused, being deserted, being fired, plus accidents, divorces, bankruptcies, civil wars, etc, are all sources of trauma.
Powerful emotions evoked by negative events are often repressed in order to be able to deal with the situation at hand. When we feel threatened we temporarily stop our breath in order to avoid the feeling of fear in our body. This strategy may appear to work in the short term, but there are long term negative consequences. Emotions are energy and when we suppress our feelings, that energy gets stuck in our bodies. The lower belly, the solar plexus, the heart area and the throat are the principle locations of repressed emotions. Generally, the belly houses our fear, the plexus our anger, the chest our sadness and the throat our frustration at our inability to communicate what we truly want and need to express.
When we begin to breathe ‘into’ these primal locations, the emotional energies that are blocked start to discharge. As these energies begin to move, we feel the feelings that we have been repressing. We call this process ‘integration’ because repressed emotions are being felt and accepted, no longer denied. We don’t need to get rid of emotions, because emotions themselves are never the problem. It’s their repression that is the problem. At first The Healing Breath process can be uncomfortable, especially if suppressing our feelings has become a life-long habit. However, after some initial support from someone trained in this form of breath-work we acclimatize naturally and become comfortable with our emotional body. Feelings come, are felt and then disappear. People who are spontaneous, expressive and ‘alive’ are OK with the entire range of their emotions. Their emotions are not ‘stuck’ in the body. Repressed feelings create a toxic environment that can turn into disease, as well as chronic anxiety, burn-out, depression, withdrawal, addictions, anti-social behavior and suicide.