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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Achieving Balance through Conscious Connected Breathing

Jul 31, 2022 08:00PM ● By Leah Martinson


At this point in time, there is seemingly an array of challenging circumstances hijacking our nervous systems and leading to an intensification of the epidemic of stress and anxiety. This can come with feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, fear, anguish and a variety of other complex emotions that compound the stress we are under. It may feel at times we are holding on for dear life until this scary rollercoaster crashes or finds its way to the end of the tracks.

We may feel that we must endure until things get better around us. This feeling of helplessness induced by trauma and chaos is understandable, but there are things we can do for ourselves and each other to reclaim our power and find our footing within the rocky terrain. While there are energies and dynamics that feel out of control, we can put our own energy into practices, relationships and communities that feel supportive and nourishing even when the energies around us are in constant collision.

The first step is to become attuned to our own energy, bodies and emotions and cultivate an awareness about how and where we feel the impact of the stressors happening around and within ourselves. Regardless of the times, it is rare to make it through a lifetime without some trauma or extreme life stressor, and for most of us, there are multiple.

These experiences often go unprocessed and get stuck somewhere in our body or energy field. These stuck emotions can feed the part of us that feels helpless, anxious and out of control. A culmination of unprocessed emotions and adverse life events can build up in us like a pressure cooker. Right now, the external pressure has been dialed up to extreme levels bringing many to a breaking point.

For those who have already reached that point, feel on the verge or simply feel the pressure building, you are not alone; and though it may not feel like it, the truth is, we each have access to our own pressure valve. There are a variety of practices and techniques that can be implemented to release the pressure and support us in reclaiming our power.

Breathwork is one of the most simplistic and powerful tools for processing and releasing stuck emotions while dialing down the pressure in the mind, body and spirit. There are multiple breathing techniques we can practice and one of the more powerful is known as Conscious Connected Breathing (CCB). CCB is the basis of breathwork practices such as rebirthing, holotropic, integrative and shamanic.

Breathing is the one physiological function that is both voluntary and involuntary. We breathe without thinking but we can intentionally alter our breathing. One thing that commonly happens in stressful situations is the holding of breath. This breath holding is the beginning of stress and emotions getting trapped in our bodies. Bringing intention to the breath allows us to literally breathe through and release all that gets stuck.

In CCB, we keep the breath connected and moving in a way that provides a sort of lubricant and cleanser for the emotions and experiences to break free and move out of the body and energy field. In this practice, the breath travels through one pathway. Breathing happens in and out through the nose or mouth, depending on which type of CCB being practiced. In addition to the inhale and exhale traveling through the same pathway, the breath is connected by breathing at a slightly faster pace, bypassing the natural pause after each inhale and exhale. This can create a wave-like circular feeling of the breath traveling through your body. This technique typically has cycles and the entire practice can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. (During this practice, there can be intense emotional and energetic releases, so it is helpful to practice with a practitioner one-on-one or in a group when first learning the technique.)

Some of the many benefits of CCB:

  • Improves the flow of oxygen to and circulation throughout the body

  • Enhances immune functioning

  • Decreases stress and anxiety

  • Reduces muscle tension and relieves pain

  • Releases unresolved and unprocessed emotions

  • Releases endorphins, increasing happiness

We all have the ability to heal our mind, body and spirit, restore our sanity, build resilience and step into our power; the breath is a powerful ally and tool in supporting this process.

 Leah Martinson is a board-certified health and wellness coach, licensed massage therapist, reiki practitioner and owner of Visionairium, in Minneapolis. She enjoys helping individuals connect to their heart center, heal unresolved emotions, and experience optimal health. If stress and anxiety have been interfering with feelings of joy and the ability to savor the present moment, release the tension and move through stuck emotions in a Group Conscious Connected Breathing workshop, to be held at 6 p.m., on August 25; $50. Visionairium is located at 23 4th St. SE, Ste. 201, Minneapolis. To register, email [email protected]


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