In our work, we use breath techniques to help integrate
and release suppressed material. In addition to supplying oxygen for respiration,
the breath simultaneously draws in another quality, known as prana. Prana
is the universal life force, the basic energy that sustains all living things.
With proper techniques, the amount of prana that is taken in can be increased
and directed to perform specific functions. Prana has an electrical quality
and interacts with the energy body and the aura; the conscious direction
of prana is effective in clearing energy blocks in the body.
Scientists have recognized the connection between
breathing and the psychological condition. Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt
therapy, stated, “Anxiety is the experience of breathing difficulty
during any blocked excitement.” Meaning, we can turn our anxiety into
excitement if we started breathing properly.
Inhibition of breath can be observed in ourselves.
We encounter a challenging situation and respond by holding the breath,
which is exactly what should not be done. You can learn to overcome the
unconscious tendency to hold the breath simply by watching yourself and
reminding yourself to breathe fully whenever you feel stressed.
Breathe into stress
“Breathing into” means the conscious and
deliberate focusing of prana, the life energy, into whatever stressful condition
is present. The type of condition could be “negative,” such
as an event that brings up fear, or “positive,” such as being
close to a loved one, because both negative and positive can be stressful
and in need of integration. Stress may be defined as the inability to be
in the feeling center with whatever is happening, regardless of the nature
of the event; the feeling center is blocked. Thrown out of the feeling center,
we fall into the mind, becoming separated from what is before us.
Breathing into the blocked center activates it, allowing
the energy to rebalance.
You breathe into the blocked center by breathing deeply as you hold the
feelings or event in your consciousness. The prana that is taken in with
the breath has an intelligence of its own, much like the cells of the body
do, and will find and stabilize the energy imbalance. The stressful condition
may be physical or emotional pain, confrontation with another person, essentially
anything that you encounter and must contend with, including joy. When you
don’t breathe into an event – or worse, if you hold your breath
– anxiety is created, and you inhibit the ability to respond creatively.
The unblocking of trapped energy is essentially a
suppression-releasing function. Breath can be effective in performing this
function, yet, as with bodywork, breath techniques by themselves cannot
do the whole job. When the breath is incorporated with bodywork and a conscious
psychological method for working on ourselves, satisfying progress with
self-integration can be achieved.