My first breath session
Discovering breathwork is what made me believe that anything is possible. My first breath session, I experienced the first instantaneous healing of my life.
I came across breathwork while in graduate school. I was planning to be a trauma therapist. My early life was not an easy one, and my studies were an attempt to make sense of what had happened to me.
I was suddenly equipped with all this knowledge, but none of it seemed to offer a solution to my suffering. I had been searching for ways to heal myself for a long time.
I was constantly, palpably aware that I wasn’t reeeeeally in my body. My arms and legs felt foreign to me. When I looked at them they just seemed so far away.
Sometimes my heart would race, seemingly without cause, or I’d feel myself go numb after a long day, checking out with food.
Even when I consciously tried to connect with my body I just felt nothing. Sometimes I was ashamed to realize I even resented my body. I felt like it had betrayed me. I was trying so hard to repair our relationship — why wouldn’t it let me in?
I was on a research project in Indonesia, and I met this woman — Polly. She was a healer. I didn’t really know what that meant; I just knew talking to her made me feel good.
I decided to try a session with her.
After all, what could it hurt? I was curious to experience her work, but I didn’t really expect it to do anything.
When I got to Polly’s — a little apartment inside the house of an Indonesian family, with cold tile floors, incense burning and a futon covered in sarongs — I really didn’t know what to expect.
We talked for a little while about my intentions and I told her about my struggles with dissociation.
At that time I was very clinical about everything. I could tell you what something was, analyze why it was happening. But I couldn’t tell you how it FELT that that’s what I was experiencing.
Polly was very patient. She listened to me analyze myself for a while and then sweetly cut me off — explaining that today I would be BREATHING, not talking.
Breath? I thought. I mean isn’t that just like mindfulness or something? It seemed so puny. And my problems felt so big. I was sure she was missing the point, but I humored her to be polite.
Polly explained that through a special breathing pattern I would be healing my nervous system and releasing trauma from my body.
She explained to me how many of my symptoms were the result of a nervous system imbalance (that much I knew from school), and walked me through how breath can be used to activate nervous system response/recalibration.
It all sounded a little too good to be true, but I had to admit I was curious. I decided there was no harm in giving it a try.
Within fifteen minutes, I was bawling. But whenever I saw my mind try to jump in and fix it, Polly would remind me to return to the physical sensations.
It was the only time I had ever felt my mind go quiet; the first time I could hear my body louder than my thoughts.
That quiet, that inner stillness, and a tool to circumvent the conscious mind — it was pure magic for me. The release and deep sense of relief I felt from that first breathe is truly indescribable.
For years in therapy, I’d been using words to try and access a physical experience lodged in the cells of my body. It felt like an infuriating merry-go-round, constantly circling a well of emotions I could feel buried just beneath the surface.
With my first breathwork session I discovered a way to TRULY connect with my body — a language we could both speak. Breath.
Since that first session I’ve never looked back. I’ve pursued as much knowledge, training, and healing opportunities using the power of breath as I can find.
Years, hundreds of hours of training, and dozens of breath clients later, I am still humbled and inspired by the simplicity and elegance of conscious connected breathing. It’s still magic to me: that if I just breathe differently for an hour my whole life can be radically transformed.
Learning to trust the breath, its potency and its potential — trusting that breath alone is enough to create miracles — has deepened my faith, expanded my imagination and challenged me to embrace possibility.
Today I blend breath and neural reprogramming, using breath to amplify and deepen the changes I make to clients’ (and my own) thought patterns.
For me, there continues to be a difference between thinking differently about something and FEELING that difference click into place in my physical being.
My desire is to share the magic of conscious connected breath with as many people as possible. I would love to share it with you, if you’re curious. If your experience is anything like mine, your life will never be the same…