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Inspirational Breathwork

September 5, 2010

As a psychotherapist and yoga teacher interested in healing it was a gift to be offered some sessions of inspirational breathwork from Jean Pierre Hartman. I have explored many modalities and am always on the lookout for interventions that have real value. I read up about it on their website; developed by a man called Joost Maijvis with other breath-work modalities as a foundation. The idea is we use only 30% of our respiratory system, and therefore receive only a small part of the life-force available to us. This resonated completely with my yogic practice.

I went in with an open mind. JP introduced me to what it was all about: we would breathe together, long in-breaths and short out-breaths. We could also expect to tone. And to move the hands and arms. To sit up, to lie down. To use what he calls belly bags…..It sounded rather terrifying and intense. Leaving the room at that point was out of the question. Besides which I never would turn down a new healing experience. So away we went.

I was supported by music, a variety of rousing and also beautiful songs. And of course by JP who with gentleness, healing hands and voice, and encouraging words saw me through an hour of breathing, toning, sighing, inhaling deeply, exhaling, sitting up, lying down, moving arms and legs….just as he said.

There were times in the process that felt really taxing.  The release of blockages can be painful. I had to get over times of feeling self conscious too. This is not talk therapy. It is truly entering the space of body, mind and soul. With a watchful eye JP was taking note of and guiding my breathing pattern. The toning, moving, and changes in body position helped me breath more smoothly and naturally. Words of encouragement like “It is safe to breathe” seemed to come at just the right moment and served as crisp reminders of how breath is spirit, and each breath is life.

My breath could really take centre stage. It is after all, all about the breath. That’s what I teach my yoga students. An hour of breath-work, being supported to breathe more fully, helped to enhance that knowledge as a truly felt experience. Each breath needs to be honoured. It is safe to breathe and feel and live.

It is easy to take the breath for granted. Even as a yoga teacher I can forget that long deep breathing can happen off the mat as well. Conscious breathing encourages the expansion of awareness and can teach us to receive and let go of life more fully.

Jean Pierre told me, each experience is unique and different. The journey allows one to return to the natural breath we had as a baby, before we learnt to contract and control ourselves to please others.

It is still early days but I can say it is an intimate and amazing journey into yourself and the fundamental essence of who you are. I felt energized. Such a simple formula. Breath is prana, energy, life force; take in more of it and you will feel more alive.

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