I had heard about a particular workshop focusing on the breath from a friend of mine who had experienced it at a Yoga studio called Radiantly Alive. Luckily for me that workshop happened to be running during my trip, so eagerly, I signed up. On my second day in Ubud, I attended the 4 hour Transformational Breathworks Workshop. And wow, transformational indeed. I had been told that it was an incredible, intense, and life changing experience. I was curious to see what it was all about. How can breathing in a certain way produce such profound effects? The human mind is unable to comprehend...
This is what I wrote about experience on August 30th 2015 -
The workshop was led by Daniel, Leanne and Giten. The first couple of hours they talked us through what the breath was and how we use such a small percentage of the lungs capacity. They explained the spiritual / healing aspects of breathwork and what to expect. Everyone’s experience is different but essentially it is a way to release blocked energy and repressed emotion such as fear, anger, grief, shame etc that is held within our bodies and that is damaging our subconscious and the way we live our lives.
We lay down with our eyes closed and began to breathe as instructed. At first I thought, this is a lot of effort, how can I keep this up for a whole hour? Then the sensations began. My body started to tingle, my throat and neck began to tighten and my mouth felt like it became a tight O shape making it a struggle to breathe deeply. My lower back began to arch up with each breath. Then my legs and arms began to stiffen. My hands and wrists contorted into horrible angles and I felt paralysed. My hands and wrists began to hurt so bad that I started to cry and I was at the point where it was too much. Daniel, Leanne and Giten were walking around directing us and supporting us throughout the experience. When I reached this point, one of them massaged out my hands and said things like “You’re doing great, there’s a lot of emotion being released right now, forgive yourself, you can handle this, it’s ok to feel, keep breathing, surrender, everything is perfect”. We were told to let out noise if we needed too. I could hear moaning (or toning, should I say), whimpering and yelling all around me, then I realized that some of that was coming from me too. It was all very traumatic and frightening.
Eventually though, my breath evened out again, my muscles began to relax and I could hear my inner self repeating positive calming compassionate messages about life’s purpose and it all seemed to make sense. As I slowly sat up, every cell felt alive and electric and my senses were intensified tenfold. Moving my body gently felt incredible, my mind was clear and filled with wonder in the world and I felt intense love. It seriously felt like I was on drugs. At the beginning of the session during the pre-talk, I had trouble getting comfortable sitting cross legged on the floor and trying to keep my back straight for so long. Afterwards though, every muscle felt strong and stable. My posture was perfect and I felt completely comfortable and at ease. We discussed what we experienced for an hour and I have to admit, I felt pretty emotional and vulnerable; especially talking to Daniel, Leanne and Giten because they saw my pain in an incredibly raw state.
By the time our session was finished, I felt normal enough to face the outside world, and I could walk again without looking like a space cadet. What just happened? Was it hyperventilating? No, it’s oxygenating. Was it dangerous? No. Was it healing? At this point I would say most definitely, Yes. I don’t truly understand the science behind it all without further research so I won’t try and defend or preach that which I don’t have sufficient knowledge of, but I trust in the knowledge of the Radiantly Alive teachers, and from personal experience, I can agree that it truly was transformational for me.
One day I would like to do it again to see if I can reach a higher consciousness and spiritual plane that some of the others managed to do now that I have let go of (hopefully) a large portion of my repressed emotion. But I definitely wouldn’t do it on my own yet and I’m not ready for it again anytime soon!! However, if you ever stumble across the opportunity to do this, especially at RA in Ubud, Do it. And remember, no matter what, you will survive it and it will be worth it.
Just – keep – breathing.
Looking back at this in hindsight now over 1.5 years later, I still see this experience as a turning point for me. My mindset was already on track to change and open up to the universes plans for me but after this day, I let go an old piece of myself that I no longer needed. I became free from my past demons – or at least free enough that when old destructive thoughts started to arise I could see it for what it was and not let it take control anymore. Things just didn’t get to me as much anymore. I still feel stress and worry, but it’s no longer crippling.
A part of me is still scared of doing another breathworks workshop as the vulnerability and intenseness of it all is still vivid in my memory. But I think I am ready, and I am trying to find a practitioner in Melbourne that I can bring to my studio to help my clients at Explore Discover. If you are interested in trying this out, please let me know.
- Note added 30 May 17 - I have been looking into Breathwork practitioners in Melbourne and have found that my experience in Bali was incredibly dramatic and not necessarily integral to get results. If the intensity of my blog has scared you off, just letting you know that most practitioners won't let you get as deep as I did, but you will still get fantastic results from a much gentler session.
- On a side note, I have been keeping a travel blog for over 5 years. During this time my husband and I had lived in Canada, travelling through South America for 5 months & South East Asia for 3 months. I have published 58 stories, with a total of 94,000 views, many of them featured on the World Nomads site Best Blogs list. My experience in Bali is also on here. Check it out if you are interested: