What is Integrative Breathwork?
Integrative Breathwork – music meditation – is a powerful, experiential method of self-exploration through experiencing non-ordinary states of consciousness. In the work, a combination of accelerated breathing, evocative music, and bodywork, facilitate the release of unresolved memories and emotions. The aim of this method is to bypass the intellect and to open the psyche into expanded states of consciousness, with the possibility of bringing the participants into balance, healing and insight.
The sessions are optimally conducted in group settings. Participants work in pairs and alternate in their roles as breathers and sitters. The process is supervised by trained facilitators who assist participants whenever special intervention is necessary.
After the breathing sessions, participants express their personal experiences by creating symbolic artwork that summarizes their meditative journey. Following the music mediation, the artwork and experiences from their musical journey is shared in small groups, as much or as little as the breathwork participant chooses. Follow-up interviews, individual psychotherapy sessions and various other complementary methods are suggested – if necessary – to facilitate the completion and integration of the breathwork experience.
If the participant fully gives themselves to the process, the breathwork experience can clear out blockages of unprocessed and unwanted memories that have collected throughout their life. Our conscious mind often represses or suppresses traumatic events that are too painful to effectively deal with at the time of injury. Psychological defense mechanisms are created by the thinking mind to protect our psyche from a perceived traumatic event or set of events. Through time, those defense mechanisms can become ingrained and reinforced, thus paralyzing our ability to resolve deep-seeded issues – usually unresolvable through traditional talk therapy.
Because in the process of Integrative Breathwork we use a combination of accelerated breathing techniques, carefully selected non-verbal stimulating music, and releasing bodywork, some of these defense mechanisms can be bypassed and the participant is able to have an emotional catharsis. The word catharsis was coined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle to mean “purification” or “cleansing” through a deep emotional release. This experience then needs to be brought to completion and integration through a conscious understanding, facilitated by group sharing and follow-up individual psychotherapy sessions.
It is important to mention that the participant during breathwork is always in control. Our psyche will not permit anything to happen that we are not able to handle at that specific time.
The facilitators have vast experience through participation in their own inner work, which includes numerous Integrative Breathwork sessions as well as individual psychotherapy. They also hold professional degrees in the fields of psychology and counseling, and are certified to practice Integrative Breathwork by the Eupsychia Institute. The founder of the Eupsychia Institute and creator of Integrative Breathwork is Jaqueline Small LMSW, a seasoned psychotherapist and famed author of multiple books pertaining to psychological and spiritual healing and transcendence. She pioneered this work with Stanislav Grof M.D. in the 1980s. Dr. Grof has also published a variety of books and articles after researching the practice of Psychedelic-assisted Psychotherapy, Transpersonal Psychology, and Holotropic Breathwork.
Our interest in Integrative Breathwork comes from the impact that this modality has had on our own lives, and the strong belief that the body, mind and soul can heal themselves. The western medical model often bypasses involvement of the patient in his or her own healing process, disempowering the patient’s belief in his or her own capacities for co-creative effects of self-restoration and overall wellness.
Research in the field of psychophysiology has demonstrated the effects of music and meditation on the human nervous system. Specifically as it relates to the function of the sympathetic and parasympathetic functions. Clinical findings suggest that experiential methods – such as Integrative Breathwork – have the capacity to reduce pain and inflammation, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, decrease heart rate and stress hormone levels such as cortisol and adrenaline, ease muscle tension, enhance the immune system and reverse symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Benefits of Integrative Breathwork
• Depression and Anxiety
• Blocked Creativity· Grief
• Spiritual Awakening and Heart Opening
• Stress Related Symptoms
• Release of Past Programming
• Patterns of Addiction
• Couples and Intimacy – including Mother/child relationship
• Seekers of like minded Community
• Repressed Trauma
• Critical Life Transitions
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR BREATHWORK?
We live in a very busy, over stimulated, over thought, stressful society that has convinced itself that if something cannot be perceived or measured by the 5 basic human senses, it does not exist. The idea of meditation or quieting the mind is very difficult to accept by left-brain-dominant individuals who value reason over emotions. Both are essential. When they are in balance we like to believe that wholeness is the result.
Breathwork is not for everyone. It takes a lot of courage to go inside and explore the depths of our soul. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (French Philosopher) once wrote: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
When we do this work, we surrender to whatever lies beneath the surface. We align with something greater than our everyday life and open up to alternative reality. This work is for the person that wants to grow from the inside out. This path of direct experience is for the person who understands that the only way to resolve deep-seated issues is to feel them. Work through them. And then integrate the new insight into everyday life.
Breathwork is contraindicated in the following cases:
1. Serious cardiovascular disorders: Uncontrolled hypertension, Aneurisms, History of Heart Attacks, Brain Hemorrhage, Myocarditis, Atrial fibrillation
3. History of convulsive disorders
4. History of retinal detachment
5. Having an airborne contagious disease
6. Psychogenic Asthma without proper medication
7. Serious untreated Mental health issues including Psychotic or Bipolar disorders
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A BREATHWORK SESSION?
Make sure that you get a good night rest the evening before the workshop. Do not eat a large meal. Make sure that you are wearing comfortable and loose clothing that will permit you to move freely.
The music in Breathwork sessions can reach a fairly high volume. If you are sensitive to loud sounds, you might want to bring foam earplugs or cotton balls. Some people might like to bring a mask or small towel to shade their eyes if they feel the room may not be dark enough for their inner journey.
Since you will be in a supine position for about 2 hours, you need to make sure to bring floor mats, blankets and pillows to create a comfortable personal space. In some cases a person can be sitting or reclining in a chair.
Before we get started with our session we will give detailed information about how Integrative Breathwork works and what you can expect from this experience. If you have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us.