Breathwork seems to be talked about a lot lately.
As a wellness practice it has been building in popularity and so it had been on my radar for a while. I have dabbled with different types such as the well known Wim Hoff method, but I have never committed to it and I had never done it in a group setting. Whilst I have had some positive and really eye opening experiences, they have been nothing quite like what I experienced with Fini Cooper from The Breathway last weekend.
I recently returned from a retreat hosted by Lisa and her team from Revive Wellbeing. Besides from being a wonderful weekend, it was quite revealing for me. I didn't go to the retreat with any trauma to release (that I knew of), or with any particular thing to focus on, but I did know I had been struggling with day to day life and had been finding I could not make any decisions recently, especially when I really needed to for some big life changes. I thought the time away would reset me and give me a break from children, work and usual daily life.
What happened took me by surprise.
On Saturday afternoon, following a wonderful massage, delicious food, a cold water dip and some intriguing, a quite unveiling 'inner child' work with the incredible Danielle (@sun_sign_self) (that's for another blog post!), we walked into the open meadow and chose our mat for our breathwork session with Fini.
Fini introduced us to the idea of breathwork, and conscious breathing. She explained that by learning to breathe properly we can unlock our potential, increase our focus, improve our sleep, enhance our creativity and perhaps also reconnect with our true selves.
We lay down on our mats, staring up to the bright blue sky and slowly she instructed us to relax and close our eyes. Fini then started to guide us into the session with simple inhaling through our nose and exhaling out of our mouths softly. After a series of inhalation and exhalation we were then guided to hold our breath for a period. It is surprising after breathing properly how long you can hold your breath for without feeling strained or in need to inhale.
It was in these breath holds, where the magic happened for me.
"I was travelling to a deep part of me I don't think I'd visited for a long time, if ever."
While in that state of breath holding, a sense of calm, ease and tranquility washed over me. I started to feel like I was floating above the ground. The birds singing around me became louder and I tuned into their song as if they were singing to me. My fingers were tingling and my mouth felt like I had feathers brushing over it. By the third round of breathing I felt so light, I was travelling to a deep part of me I don't think I'd visited for a long time, if ever. When Fini guided us to hold our breath for the third time I did so, and simultaneously a song that was playing resonated with me hugely, the chords and instruments vibrating every corner of my inner self, and caused a tremendous emotional outburst, I had tears streaming down my face, I was weeping.
"I felt like I'd been wading through mud but suddenly I was gliding through crystal clear water"
Anyone who knows me, knows I hide my emotions a fair bit, I don't cry often, and everything is always 'fine'. So this release was obviously much needed. It was surprising but felt so good. It was like a huge weight was lifted and I could finally see me, my truest most unapologetic self. It felt like I had been wading through mud for so long, and suddenly I was gliding through crystal clear water.
The tears strolled down my cheeks as we continued our breathing, I could sense some of the other women around me having similar experiences which only heightened the power of this moment and sense of belonging.
When Fini brought us back from the session, we arose and shared our experiences, I tried to share but burst into tears again. In the days that have followed the session everything has seemed easier, decisions I had been pondering over for months seemed obvious, life dreams suddenly seem attainable and the world just seems brighter, as if the fog has been lifted and happiness is gleaming down from everything.
This breathwork is powerful.
I knew it was meant to be powerful, but until you experience it, it is very hard to describe the feelings that take place. It has left me with a keen desire to practice more, learn more about how to breathe, and discover more about myself.
Thank you to Fini (@TheBreathway) for sharing this incredible practice with me, and thank you to my body and mind for allowing this practice to seep into my being and show me what I so desperately needed.
If you are keen to try this out, reach out to Fini, she is the most radiant soul who will welcome you into her world and show you how to breathe!
With love and deep breaths