BREATH OF LOVE

ONLINE PREPARATORY INFORMATION

FOR FIRST-TIME PARTICIPANTS

This is the preparatory information for participating in Online Breath of Love sessions.  We will cover the theory behind Breath of Love, the principles that make the Breath of Love technique work, the types of experiences that you could have and how to prepare yourself for the session.

In Breath of Love, you are able to access an expanded state or awareness, get your monkey mind out of the way and connect with your inner intelligence and higher self. This is the same amazing intelligence that allows our bodies to take care of all of our internal body processes every second of every day to keep us alive. We just do not normally have conscious connection to it or it is just a very weak internal voice that is rarely loud enough to make itself heard, or has space in our busy lives to be paused upon and listened to. By doing Breath of Love on a regular basis, along with profound physical and emotional releases during the sessions, you will strengthen the neural pathway to this internal intelligence and be able to access it more consistently on a moment to moment basis in your life by just taking a few deep breaths. Participants report experiences such as getting insights to issues in their lives, improving their relationships with their friends and family, feeling less isolated and more connected to the world, and, with consistent practice, being more present which makes it possible to make the best choices for themselves and their families on a moment to moment basis.

PRINCIPLES OF BREATH OF LOVE:

The principles that make Breath of Love so profound are as follows:

First, is projection. In everyday life, we tend to project the cause of our internal states and emotions on something that has happened in the outside world. When you think about this more deeply, it is obvious that that is not the case. For example, if somebody cuts in front of somebody in traffic, one person may not be bothered at all and another person might be furious. So, it is not what actually happens in the outside world, it is what it triggers from our past and the story we create around what happened that creates the emotion. In breathwork, it is important to do what we call “taking it vertical”. For instance, if a piece of music comes on that you dislike, or there is an unexpected interruption at your house and you get angry, instead of projecting the cause of the anger on what happened in the outside world, just allowing it to fully express itself without any judgment or suppression and see what happens. Any emotion is always a signal from the body that something wants to get released and is always a doorway to drop deeper into the process.

Second, everyone has an inner drive towards integration and wholeness. In the same way your body can heal a cut, your psyche and soma can let be allowed to let go of your past and release you to be self-empowered, unblocked and easily move forward in your life. Energetic blocks can be released, emotional issues can be resolved, bodily tensions can ease, personal power and creativity can be restored and enhanced. You simply need to breathe deeply to the music, let the mind get out of the way and let this inner healing power bring up what is ready to be released without resisting or blocking it. It is a modality of trust and surrender, but not to anybody else—to yourself!

Third, the only way to get beyond something is to go through it. We have suppressed so much emotional energy into our body and our psyche in our lives and this is our chance to let it out. If something comes up, let it be as big as it wants to be, do not try and suppress it. Also, let go of judging whether an experience is “good” or “bad”. That is the mind coming in again. Difficult experiences many times are the ones that lead to the most personal growth. There is no such thing as a bad experience. Feeling what we might define as negative emotions are no better or worse than feeling what we define as positive emotions. Emotions are just signals to us from our inner intelligence that something needs to be recognized.

Everybody has this amazing “inner intelligence” that communicates and influences our trillions of body cells simultaneously at every moment, without taking a break. When we get a cut, does our mind figure out how to heal it? No. Our body “knows” what to do.  In Breath of Love, participants are advised to not go into the process with any agendas and to release any expectations of what the journey will look like so that their inner intelligence can guide the journey to give them the experience that they most need in that moment. The basic purpose of the breathwork journey is to build and strengthen this neural pathway that relaxes our thinking mind completely and directs the light of our attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere of our brain. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights and intuition. When you start doing breathwork on a regular basis, you will have more access to this vast inner intelligence that can produce the answers to the questions that our thinking minds cannot resolve through analysis. So, just going through this breathwork experience on a regular basis produces the intended result of strengthening our access to this inner intelligence, and the particular experience that you have is of secondary importance. However, Breath of Love experiences  can be extremely profound and just so you will know more of what you might expect during your Breath of Love journey, I will describe the general types of experiences that participants have reported.

TYPES OF EXPERIENCES:

Many types of experiences are possible and none are better or worse than the others. Each time you do breathwork, it will be a completely different experience depending on what is up for processing at the time of the session so it is important not to compare to prior experiences. Most of the experiences that participants report fall into the following categories.

1) The first type of experience is a sensory experience. All sorts of different things can happen to your body. You might feel hot, then cold, then hot again. Your body might feel completely numb.  Also, there is a physiological principle that in order to get the best release, it is best to first create maximum tension in the body part in question. For example, if you want to relax your whole body as much as possible, the best way is to first tense up all of your muscles to the maximum degree and then let go of all of the tension. In Breath of Love, sometimes the body will try to do this on its own. So, you might feel that your whole body is completely stiff and tense and cannot move at all. You also might get what is called tetany where your hands or toes get very stiff and sometimes can be painful. Your hands might look like claws with your fingers completely stiffened.  Sometimes the lips purse in expressed tension as well.  This is actually a very healing experience where your body is taking energy that has been stuck in your hands or body is creating maximum tension which will then turn into an amazing release. The basic direction if you get tetany is to just let it be as tense is it wants to be in order to get the best release possible. If the tetany gets painful, it is always best to try and finish the release, but if it gets to be too much, you can always slow down the breathing and the tetany will subside in a short period of time.

2) The second type of experience is a biographical experience – some people report having a visual experience of something that happened to them in their past which, at the time, they felt overwhelmed and did not allow themselves to fully experience the emotions involved. If that happens, the direction is to let yourself fully experience whatever emotion comes up and allowing it to fully express and release. If your body wants to cry, let it cry. If your body wants to release anger, let your body make whatever sound wants to come out (screaming, growling, moaning, etc). If you feel joy, laugh or emote what moves through you!  If you are in a space where it is impossible to make loud sounds without feeling safe, bothering your family or neighbors, participants report that what they have done is put a pillow in front of their face and scream or growl into the pillow. You will find that in some cases, things that have been stuck in your body or psyche and have been running your lives unconsciously for years, will be released and make an amazing difference in your life. Also, sometimes your biographical memory can also be perceived as images from past generations.

3) The third type of experience is a perinatal experience – Psychiatrists used to think that when we are born, we are a blank slate. The reason for that is when we are a fetus, our brains are not myelinated enough to form word or explicit memories, nor have we developed the skills to communicate on a deep level what we know already. However, we now know that from the time we are conceived, we do form body or implicit memories. I use the model of Dr. Stan Grof, a worldwide expert in what happens during expanded states of awareness, who breaks the birth process into 4 phases, each of which has its own characteristics and energies. The first phase is from the time that you are conceived to the time just before the birth contractions start. Unless your mother is doing drugs or is in a state of major emotional trauma, it is a time of oceanic bliss where all of your needs are taken care of and you are just floating in warm salty water. The second phase is when the contractions start. Just imagine that you have been in the womb for 9 months floating around in a blissful state and one day you are being compressed with tremendous pressure with your nutrition being cut off. Since the umbilical cord is being compressed also and since the birth canal has not opened yet, there is no place to go. If this has not been released, this is the energy that you access in times of your life when you are in a difficult situation and feel like things are terrible and they will never change. The third phase is when the birth canal opens and you start pushing your way through. This phase is characterized by aggression, overcoming obstacles and sexuality. It is an important part of the birth process because it gives you an imprint of what it is like to overcome an obstacle and reach a goal. In this case the goal is being born. The fourth phase is when you are actually born and is a sort of death rebirth experience. You are dying to one way of existing as a water being and being reborn into a totally new type of existence as an air being. This implicit memory can support you during times in your life when you have to let go of a part of who you are to take on something new such as looking at the world in a different way or changing careers to something completely new. Or taking up a new role as you become a mother or a father to your child.  All this being said there is also the aspect of induced birth (being cut out of your safe space before you or your mother may have been ready).  Medications used during delivery also impact the imprint birth leaves behind, and one that can often trend towards dissociation in difficult situations, addiction to alleviating pain in life through substances, or not being willing to fully feel, or feeling the need to self-sacrifice to others in an attempt to compensate for and ease their pain.  Please know that these are all welcomed, and when allowed can bring a deeper insight into personal patterns and an opportunity to move into deeper self-compassion, awareness, and ultimately self-mastery and growth.

4) The fourth type of experience is what is called a transpersonal experience which is a type of experience that is “beyond the personal”, an experience that you would generally never have in normal everyday life with your thinking mind in control. For example, people report feeling like they are floating in the stars; or, feeling more connected to everything; or, seeing what is happening in different parts of the world for instance with a friend or relative and then calling later and finding out that that is exactly what was happening at that moment. People also report getting insights into issues that have been plaguing them and holding them back in their lives.

5) The last type of experience is a Yogic Sleep State where even though it may look from the outside that you are asleep, you are not actually asleep. Instead, you go into a deep profound relaxation. This is an amazing feeling where you generally will go into what some would call an enlightenment type of experience where you completely lose track of time and space and, later, will just feel very relaxed and present.

ROLE OF MUSIC AND THE “TWO FEARS”:

Music can deepen your Breath of Love journey and is a big part of the experience. Again, though, it is not the specific experience that is the most important result (although participants can have profound healings and insights into personal issues during their sessions), it is rather the strengthening of the neural pathways to your inner guidance/intelligence that happens through a regular breathwork practice.  Music is also know to be linked to long-term memory and triggers parts of the brain related to memory.  Thus, it can help in opening access points to release the build-up of life and re-pattern new healthy neural-pathways.

Fears. People generally have two fears in these sessions (too much or too little). In regards to having too much happen, your amazing inner intelligence will generally only bring up what is ready to be processed. That being said, even though it is generally suggested to allow things to be as big as possible and let them process through and release, if you ever feel unsafe, you should bring it to the attention of the online facilitator immediately via online chat and you can lower the intensity of the experience and drop out of the process in a relatively short period of time by slowing down the breath to a normal rhythm. In breathwork, safety always comes first. In regards to nothing happening, you will generally know that you are on your journey of inner awakening when your little “chit chat” thoughts that your monkey mind is always having die down and you become more calm and present. If, after 5 or 10 minutes, you feel that you are still completely aware of being in your room, your mind chatter is still strong, distracting, and you feel that “nothing is happening”, I recommend dropping into whatever emotion you are experiencing around that. It will generally be frustration. But, whatever it is, let it be as big as it wants to be and almost all the time, if you, for example, let yourself be/feel the most frustrated you have ever been and make that feeling as big as possible, SOMETHING will happen....See this as a GIFT of growth opportunity to move beyond something, through ALLOWING without attachment. Another technique that helps is making whatever sound your body wants to make…Sound/Emoting is an amazing way for your body to release and to drop into the process.  Allowing yourself to feel and emote from an unattached and witnessing vantage will also enable your higher wisdom and help you to see/experience where you tend to get stuck/attached, and gain insightful wisdom on where to focus your self-mastery skills moving forward.

CONFIDENTIALITY:

Confidentiality is vitally important in these sessions so that all participants feel safe to share their experiences and be fully self-expressed during their breathing session.  In order to be allowed to participate, everybody must agree to not discuss any other participant’s experience or anything that another person shares in a way in which that participant can in any way be identified and also to not audio or video tape any portion of the sessions. This agreement is also written into the release form that you will read and agree to during your registration process.

BREATH OF LOVE TECHNIQUE:

The Breath of Love technique will be discussed at the beginning of each session but the basic concept is as follows:
There is no absolutely correct way to breathe. The general instruction is to breathe “deeply and fully with a fully surrendered exhale”. But at the beginning, to help you drop quickly into the process, we recommend the following. First, I recommend that you start with breathing in and out through your mouth. It is easier to move air quickly this way and also, whenever you are in an emotional state, you always breathe through the mouth so that gives your body permission to release blocked emotions. If, after you get started, breathing through your mouth is not comfortable for you, you can also try nose breathing. Second, you want to do diaphragm breathing, breathing deeply into your lungs where when you breathe in your belly moves out a bit and when you breathe out, it moves back in. Normally in life we breathe in a very shallow manner where only our chest moves so this will be a very different breathing technique than your normal everyday breath. Also, you want to do what we call circular breathing where there is no pause at top or bottom and you are creating a beautiful circle of breath maintaining an even breath with equal emphasis on the in-breath and the out-breath. If you want to practice this, try putting a hand on your belly, breathe deeply and see if your hand gets pushed out. If you practice taking full deep breaths in this way for even a minute or two, you will feel your consciousness start to change.

**For more information on Breath of Love, please read the information located HERE.

PREPARATION FOR SESSION:

The preparation suggested for the best experience is as follows:

First, it is advised not to have a meal about an hour before the session. Some people find that it is helpful not to eat anything at least two hours or even longer before the session. If you are doing a Breath of Love session in the morning, it can be helpful to postpone your breakfast until after you breathe. You can play with this and see what works for you, everybody is a bit different…it is more difficult to drop into the Expanded State of Awareness if your stomach is overloaded and all of your internal energy is focused on digestion.   You will be able to do the session either sitting in a chair or laying down (laying down is highly recommended). In terms of sound quality, over the ear headphones are ideal, earbuds also work or, if you have a computer with great sound and the neighbors don’t mind loud music, that is fine also. If you use a cell phone, earbuds or earphones will be a necessity to get good sound quality. Also, the better the internet connection, the better the sound quality will be. WiFi is good, hard wired connection is better if that is a possibility. Cell phones without wifi connection may not have good enough a connection to work unless you are in a very strong reception area. If you are planning on using a cell phone please make sure to install the Zoom app (available in the app store) before the session.  Also, make sure you will not be disturbed during the session–turn off your phone, put a “do not disturb” sign on your door if there are other people in your house or apartment, etc. You may want a blindfold or you can just close your eyes if you prefer but using a blindfold is strongly recommended as that will generally support you in dropping more deeply into the process. Also, I recommend having tissues and a bottle of water and a blanket close just in case you need them. If you are laying down, please make sure to have enough space around you so that if you move around that you do not bang into anything, especially around your head area.

After the session, there is time for participants to share their experiences if they choose to and I stay on the call long enough to answer whatever questions people have about their experiences.

 

SITTERS:

It is not required in any way but, if your “inner guidance” is guiding you to have someone there with you to quietly sit beside you during your session, that is an option.  Sometimes, it can be nice to have somebody there to hold your hand, etc if you feel the need for support during your session. If you do decide to have someone there, though, it is important to instruct them to not interfere in your process in any way unless you specifically ask for help or support.  Sometimes sitters can get “triggered” if you are crying or doing something where they feel that you need help where in actuality, they have no way of interpreting what is actually happening in your process.  Their job would just be to hold space for you and to intervene only when specifically requested.

DRUGS AND ALCOHOL:

We ask that you agree not to mix mind-expanding drugs and/or alcohol with Breath of Love.  Breath of Love is meant to stand on its own and part of the benefit of the experience is that you start to gain more confidence that you have the  healing answers within and do not need substances to access this wonderful inner guidance that everybody has.

 

INTEGRATION – IF YOU NEED SUPPORT, ASK FOR IT!

The integration process after your a Breath of Love experience is also very important.

If you are unsettled or feel incomplete after your session, we request that you either stay on the Zoom call and get support or, e-mail me as soon as possible after the session at sunkissedfire@gmail.com.  We will either e-mail back or, if necessary, set up a one-on-one Zoom conference to support you.

Also, there are some basic integration suggestions on our website at: breathworkonline.com/integration-suggestions.

FINAL NOTE:

I do not recommend doing powerful breathwork of this nature by yourself at home without having access (either in-person or online) to a trained facilitator.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact me at sunkissedfire@gmail.com. I look forward to interacting with you at an online Breath of Love workshop soon.

Warmly,

Stephanie Whitford

206-669-8859

North Bend, WA 98045

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