Breathwork: Connecting to the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, October 25, 2017
By Emy Fernandez, MBA, Life Coach

As a Health Coach, I’m always asked if I have any self-care tips I can share. However, before sharing anything, I always like to try them out first.
These past 4 weeks, I’ve been trying Breathwork with one of our therapists, Carolina Pataky. Breathwork is a therapeutic modality that can help open us up to the connection of the mind, body and spirit. According to Carolina, in addition to “personal growth, it can also help release blocked emotional and physical traumas” and is a “tool that gives you awareness of self.” “A Breathwork session can be incredibly profound and a deeply spiritual experience.”
But wait…can I first say that although I’m a Health Coach and I practice mindfulness and being present…this does not come easy and is all truly hard for me. Yes, I do make time for my morning rituals to “welcome the day” as I share with my clients. Yes, I do pause throughout the day and create consciousness of being present for others and for myself. Yes, I do end my day with my night time ritual by saying good bye to my day to clear the path for welcoming the new day in the morning. But…when I sit to meditate or pray to God, my mind tends to wander and I have to bring myself back to center and to my God. If it’s night time it’s even more difficult because I tend to nod off. So when Carolina approached me about trying out Breathwork which would help “access my energy system.” The only thing I could think was – wow – this won’t be good…. (with rolling of the eyes…)
I jumped in anyway for a few reasons. First, I know my body well enough to know that it needs something new and different. So I thought it would be good to add Breathwork to my self-care routine. Second, I thought it would be great to share my experience with my clients in case this was something that would be helpful to them. And third, well, I wanted to show support for Carolina and her work.
Carolina began my sessions setting up the room with aromatherapy, low lights, and beautiful soft, moving music (I want her playlist). She also had a “sound bowl” which, as I later learned, she played during intervals with the music. When I first walked into the room for my initial session, my first thought was – even if I wouldn’t be able to access my “energy system,” at least I would have a nice, quiet, relaxing experience.
At the start of the session, I followed Carolina’s instructions to begin breathing softly, then as the music got louder she asked me to begin pulling in more breath in my inhale and to exhale like a heavy sigh, this work continued for 40 to 45 minutes all while keeping my hard breathing in rhythm with the music. My body felt heavy and cold as the breathing got faster and heavier. Then as she was bringing me down from the experience she instructed me to begin slowing down my breathing, and ended the session by leaving me a few minutes alone to recover with a cup of warm tea. At the end of this first session, I felt a bit agitated and tired. However, when I got home, I took a shower, went to bed and slept all night straight for 9 hours waking up the next morning refreshed and ready to welcome the new day with my morning rituals.
The following sessions were very similar, but my body’s reactions were very different. Each session that followed felt like my body was easing more into the breathing. I knew what was coming, so I felt myself letting go more and remaining in the rhythm of the music and the breathing…remember – not easy for me.
At the end of the second session I felt nice and relaxed when we were done, although I felt I had not let go completely and really hadn’t reached the peak of the experience I had heard so much about.
Nearing the end of my third session I was again agitated. However, that day leading to the session was a tough day for me which included going to many appointments throughout the day.
My fourth and last session is when I truly felt I had submitted completely to the experience. I felt throughout the session that my energy was building up and truly felt I had accessed that “energy system” that Carolina kept talking about.
Although all my sessions were very different, one thing was consistent – when I got home and took a shower and went to bed, I slept throughout the night and the next day was great. More specifically, it was much easier for me to “welcome the day” and stay present throughout it.
At the end of my experience with Breathwork I found that, yes, surprisingly, if I continue submitting to it consistently, it will enrich my life further.
Some of the tips that I recommend to my clients work for me and others don’t. Not necessarily because it’s a bad tip or recommendation, but because we are all unique and different. You may find that Breathwork may or may not be for you, but…if you at least give it a try and find that it enriches your life as well, then how wonderful that you opened yourself up to the new experience.