Life is full of stress. For some, it is the stress of raising kids or maintaining personal relationships. For others, it is the stress of trying to meet work deadlines or socializing at professional events. Most people don’t realize that adversity and challenge are actually healthy for the human psyche. Like a diamond that can only be created by introducing pressure and heat, people can only grow to their fullest potential by encountering and overcoming adversity. However, the stress that sometimes accompanies challenge is not healthy or necessary to growth. The trouble in today’s world is that we do not know how to mitigate our stress, allowing it to accumulate and ultimately make us unhealthy
I remember back when I was dealing with my divorce. I somehow thought the measure
of my strength was how well I pushed forward despite my stress and feelings of panic. I firmly believed that one was weak if he or she gave into their feelings. As a result, I suppressed my feelings throughout my entire life. When I became angry, I pretended not to be angry. When I became stressed, I always pushed through by working harder. When I became sad, I suppressed the sadness. Doing this as often as I did caused me to fear opening up and feeling any of these emotions. It would be too painful, I thought, so I avoided it all-together.
I never found a way to release my emotional stress and it ultimately manifested into shingles. Believe it or not, I was lucky because shingles was my body’s way of immediately telling me I had built up too much stress. For most people, their stress continues to accumulate and produce tension on an underlying, undetected level that never prompts them to change their lifestyle or seek stress management techniques.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to breathwork, a yoga term used to describe a session where participants alter their breathing patterns to enter a deep meditative state, that I learned to manage my feelings about the divorce. I still remember my first breathing session. My yoga teacher told me to allow myself to feel all that I needed to feel at that time. It was incredibly difficult at first to open up to the flood of negative emotions as I had invested so much time and energy into building a barrier to
protect myself from such painful thoughts. But during this session of breathwork, I invited all the misery and sadness that I had long avoided to flood my body. My mind broke through my mental armor. The pain was intense, yet freeing. As I inhaled, I learned to allow the ocean of life to sweep in and calm me. As I continued to breathe, I experienced many waves of emotional release. I laughed. I cried. I found a way to connect with myself after roughly 30 years of complete disconnect. Every new breathing session inspired new thoughts. Not only did I catch a glimpse of my destiny, but I also
found a way to forgive my past self. Through breathwork, I realized that the power to heal is within.
Breathwork is nothing new. For thousands of years, spiritual seekers, mystics and yogis have harnessed the power of the breath to enter transformative states of consciousness. One of the first things I learned when I began studying the power of human breath is how the body unconsciously uses breath to respond to external stimuli. When people experience something upsetting, they naturally restrict their breathing or hold their breath, which allows them to suppress emotion. When one is breathing fully, it’s hard to suppress emotion or feel constricted. This means the key to overcoming negative emotions and stress lies in breathing fully and harnessing the Breath of Life.
In the book, Psychology of the Future, Dr. Stanislav Grof writes, “Deliberate increase of the pace of breathing typically loosens psychological defenses and leads to a release and emergence of unconscious (and super conscious) material.” Breathwork empowers individuals to play an active role in their own healing and serves as one of the many successful stress management techniques in our modern day. As a yoga instructor and facilitator of breathwork, I feel honored and blessed to lead so many in their breathwork sessions. If you are interested in joining one of my breathwork classes to manage stress, please visit my website for schedule details at www.GuruMitar.
I invite you to try breathwork as it can help you overcome life’s mountains.
Leave a comment below about your expereince.