Oh No! Have YOU been taken over by RoboBreath?
Here are your 2 breathing problems:
(1) As a child, you learned to hold your breath
(2) As an adult, you tried to fix (1)!
Huh? Well, at the risk of being spirit-ually or breath-ily incorrect (spirit means breath in Latin and other ancient languages), haven't you been told you should breathe as follows?
(How's that working for you?...)
How about a complete breath release back into the Wave of "I"?
...Right now your mind is controlling your breathing, either consciously (through some kind of "correct breathing" technique) or unconsciously...through your unique breath-holding patterns that are choking your aliveness (that you probably learned as a child to survive family tensions). How do you feel about the idea of "letting Breath have Its way with you?" This is a very real experience. In iWavework, students and clients learn how to open up the body and activate radical receptivity ("ARR!") to receive the continuous wave of breath that, when allowed to flow in its chaotic natural rhythms through your cells, tissues and muscles, very quickly unravels the knots of physical and psychic pain that have been inhibiting your joy and aliveness.
By the way... how did you feel when you read the word "chaotic," above? You may be such a fan of Law and Order that you have forgotten that nature operates through a process of falling into apparent chaos so as to emerge at higher and more complex levels of harmony and order. Nature is non-linear, although our minds are linear. The universe operates according to the dynamic principles of chaos theory (not the static dualism of our minds). So why wouldn't consciousness, in whose "image and likeness" the physical universe is made, operate in the same way? Go here to read more about the iWave/chaos theory connection.
You probably learned your first yoga lesson at your family dinner table, and it was called: How To Hold Your Breath So Nobody Knows What You're Really Feeling. Holding our breath is an excellent technique to avoid showing––or even having––intense feelings during the difficult transitions of life: our birth trauma, the dysfunctional family dramas (that we are trapped in, as kids), and so on. Even now, as adult children, most of us unconsciously pinch off the One, Infinite Wave of Breath that keeps us alive from birth to death (and even before birth and after death––that's another story: ask me if you're interested).
So now, just as you have a unique, wounded personality, maybe analyzed endlessly ("I'm an Adult Child of A Nosepicker. I'm a Leo, an enneagram 4 with a 5 wing and my soul number is 22, blahblahblah") you also have a unique breath-holding pattern: A personal mentally-imposed, robotic program superimposed on the natural, pulsing energy field of your body which is in sync with the natural, pulsing energy field of the planet, the universe, and infinite intelligence that births the universe. If we call this mental patterning your personal "breath robot," or RoboBreath, for short, here is his secret: he lives for rules, belief and control, especially control of energies that feel "too much."
RoboBreath was created out of the belief "I mustn't feel this." He (for it is a "he"––our archetypally masculine aspect of law and order that tries to control and pave over the chaos of nature, which is more feminine) effectively carries out the instructions given to it in childhood by your mind or ego. Obviously he can't hold your breath althogether, or you would die; he just pinches it and straightens it, like a river, pinched down to a narrow canal. Instead of a spontaneous wave, our breathing becomes a stifled loop, along a set pathway (one which avoids the minefields of our old traumatic feelings held in our cells).
Of course canals and levees that try to make the forces of nature into straight lines will eventually overflow. The midwest flooding that devasted the USA in (date?) was thought by many scientists versed in chaos theory to be a direct result of the levee system impinging the larger natural system of the circulation of water on the continent. As with those floods, our impinged breath floods its banks within us, when denied its natural flow. When it is flowing in harmony with the breath of the planet (and you will learn more about this in the practical experience of iWavework), it functions to digest and integrate all of life's experience––even trauma––as they flow through us. But when it floods its banks through over-control, the river of breath doesn't change our breathing: the walls in our nervous systems and musculature are too rigid for that. The backed-up energy and information translates into our mind as fearful thoughts, into our emotions as stress, and into our bodies as what we call "illness".
Here's the Good News:
Uncontrolling your breathing so it restores its natural river-like flow is much easier to resolve than all that other stuff!
Remember I said above that (2) The 2nd "breathing problem" is everything you've done to correct (1). And because you already sense that (probably from childhood and other trauma) you're "under-breathing," or have been told that "You're breathing WRONG," so you've sought out how to breath "RIGHT." And what you've gotten, almost always, instead of a method to invite the natural river back into the levees of your inner body, is a bunch of instructions (sometimes contradictory) which are nothing more than the efforts of the mind to control the breath. Even if a revered person with a Sanskrit name taught them to you! The consciousness behind these breath-control practices is that of the same child who learned to hold her breath and installed Robobreath in order to avoid feeling or expressing the actual feelings that were trying to move through her. Now that fear comes outside you as an authority on "proper breathing," Fear of feeling is acting all adult and creating multiple methods of "breath-control." Whole cultures have been based on this fear of nature fully moving through us. We think nature is dangerous, or has fallen from Grace, or whatever, when in fact it's just our fearful minds that are creating the spectre of danger.
And nearly all of these breath-control methods are designed to make you feel "calm." Or are they designed to put you in a trance, in which you float above the core unresolved stuckness that is still held within youare body? And does that stuckness go away when abandoned by breath? No, it just finds another avenue, like sensations of anxiety, illness, scarcity, loneliness, and so on.
The problem, for me, was that when I learned breath-control at the age of 18, from a Yoga book, it temporarily conferred on me perhaps the first feeling of peacefulness I had had since I was a child. The wounds of my adolescence––my parents' divorce, and so on––were so painful that I had smoked for years to anesthetize myself. Yet when I learned to count in to 4, hold for 8 and out for 16 (or whatever––i have learned dozens of versions of these techniques), my artificially regularized breathing gave me a semblance of peace. Kind of like––yes!––a drug. Or a hypnotic pendulum.
I had to go through 12 years as a monk with a lot of breath awareness, but always within a context of a kind of slow, mentally-controlled looping breath, before I came upon what it actually meant to let go into the true wave of breath that comes from the Divine. And not a mental, controlled, trancey version of the divine. More like a spontaneous, wild mother, like Nature, coursing through my body, mind and everything else. Healing everything by unravelling the stuckness and lifting them into greater harmonious flow.
Because after those 12 monkish years of Eastern "sit and meditate and witness it all" spirituality, the levees broke. I found myself quite ill, and emotionally about as crazy as I could imagine. I consider myself lucky that my emotional and physical bodies broke through this loop; if those kinds of mind-over-breath practices are working for you right now, you may not be interested in this. From my point of view, and after working with so many people on this stuff for 30+ years, you may not realize that the very "DRY" practices that you have taken for granted are spiritually correct may, in fact, be exacerbating your health, wealth and love problems.
When I was around 30, and starting to drift (agonizingly) away from my Eastern teacher, I discovered rebirthing. At the time, this was a breathwork system that was essentially about re-experiencing your birth, and it was mostly done in the bathtub, with a snorkel. This was quite liberating for me. I began feeling my feelings through the breath, and discovering that it wasn't going to kill me––on the contrary, it was healing me. I felt fantastic! After several years as a certified Rebirther I began adapting what I had learned in more gentle and fluid ways, and combining the experience of the wet and fluid breath with the experience of the wet and fluid body, mind, and emotions and spirit. This first came through me as work called Motherwave, then Soulwave, and now iWave or The Infinite Wave. Yet part of the work, 30 years later, is still the restoration of the natural flow of breath, now within a more mystical and surrendered energy field.
THe point of all this: iWAVE practically works with your breath: There are safe ways to consciously "un-control" your breathing that quickly release fear, sadness and anger, instead of endlessly trying to calm these down with breath control!
Consider: isn't Nature more intelligent than your mind? Could It/She breathe you back into wholeness if you could let go into her waves, if you knew how to let waves of breath take over your body, mind and soul? Does that idea scare you? Yet it's the safest possible way to be free!
Here's the open secret: Breath is a WAVE––in fact, duh! BREATH is THE INFINITE WAVE, (although the movement of air in our lungs is not its only access point in our bodies). Breath arises from Nowhere, or Everywhere. Breath IS spirit. This is not just a groovy thought: The latin root word "spiritus" means BREATH!
AHA! Oh, what a relief it is, to have a breath release, and hand your personal breathing pattern back to the Infinite Wave of Breath that knows how to heal you back into phase with the true rhythmic, pulsing, infinitely wavy source of everything.
If you'd like to explore the many iWAVE doorways into a freer breathing, like wave-breathing™, Inner AHA™, and various ways to allow your breath to help you truly release and integrate anger, fear, sadness (instead of over-expressing or repressing them), check out:
iWAVE TRAININGS where you will UNLEARN your CONTROL-FREAK BREATHING PATTERNS: