Each breathwork coaching session takes its own form, depending on what is needed on the day, but broadly speaking there are two approaches that can be taken:
A COACHING-LED APPROACH
Here, the emphasis is on using holistic coaching techniques to help you with your process of self-enquiry regarding whatever issue has prompted you to seek help. This includes,
- motivational interviewing
- cognitive behavioural coaching
- creative and esoteric techniques such as working with metaphor or oracle cards
In this case we will use breathwork for small periods of time during the sessions in response to issues that arise which seem to have deeper roots.
This is a good option if you are new to breathwork, if you have a particular issue that you would like to work with, or if you do not have much support available to you in life. The breathwork can be powerful, so this is a good way to find a balance between opening up to what the body is holding, and having a more structured, cognitive approach to create a sense of containment and safety.
“The breathwork coaching brought up questions and answers to things I had been thinking about, supressing or experiencing in my life. Each session gave me some actionable feedback to take into my daily life”
A BREATHWORK-LED APPROACH
Another way of working is to lead with the breath. This means using the breath to explore the body and being open to what you might find there without knowing what might come up.
To breathe consciously into your body in this way is courageous work. The not-knowing can give rise to fear, but if we can work with the fear this can lead to a real sense of freedom. As it dissolves, we realize that fear is just energy, like any other emotion, and we are no longer bound by it.
This approach is closer to the hands-on version of the work, the key difference being that you are holding your own body. There are some limitations to this, namely that some of the stronger emotions may not be accessible without the physical presence of a practitioner. In such cases I may recommend that you seek out some in-person somatic work.
“I have had some fascinating experiences. For me, the two principal emotions have been sadness and anger. Fundamentally the sessions were able to help me unearth these emotions from within myself without judgement.
A couple of times I found myself crying about different things, but it is positive and healthy to let these emotions out, rather than holding them inside the body.”
BREATHWORK COACHING – THE PROCESS
- This breathwork engages with the energy of the heart, so I will ask you to place your hand on your heart
- You can close your eyes or keep them open, depending on your preference
- I will explain the breathwork technique to you. It can sometimes take a little while to get accustomed to it, as it is not like ordinary breathing.
- We will create an energetic connection between us as we work (this part takes care of itself so you don’t need to think about it) and I will ask you questions as we go to guide you towards feelings, sensations and emotions
- You may experience emotions, memories, and physical sensations as we work
- The act of giving yourself attention in this way helps to create change by moving energy through your body
- You might not notice too much during the session, you may have a release of emotion, or anything in between
- We close the session by using techniques to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. In certain cases, this may be the primary focus of the work (if you are feeling high levels of anxiety or overwhelm, for example)
- You have the option to lie down or sit up for the session, and I may encourage you to change position while we are working, depending on what is happening
- The energy of the work will begin before the session and continue to work through your system afterwards, so it is good to pay attention to what happens in your life either side of the session. Emotional states may be intensified for a time after completing the session
- You can dive deeper into this topic by reading more about the breathwork technique
WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN DURING A BREATHWORK COACHING SESSION?
I have already mentioned fear, which appears frequently when doing breathwork coaching sessions. When doing breathwork, a fuller range of emotions can be experienced ranging from fear, sadness, grief, despair and anger, through to love, connection, joy and bliss. As we expand our emotional repertoire we become more engaged with life, and more able to stay present with our experiences, however they present themselves.
It is common to experience resistance to feeling what is happening when doing breathwork, and old defences may rise up as an attempt at protection.
Often people retreat to their minds. Thinking and keeping busy, or being distracted may have been go-to strategies for surviving difficult circumstances.
It can take time to gradually become aware of how this happens and to feel safe enough to sink into the experience of the bodily sensations. Becoming aware of patterns of resistance can be helpful as way of working with procrastination.
Numbness or emptiness in the heart is also a common experience. The numbness is usually the top layer that protects other emotions that may have been lying dormant for many years. If numbness is present, this is what we work with. As it clears, other deeper emotions become available to be felt, creating a pathway for more connection with oneself and others.
These are just a few of the possibilities of this work. Every person will bring their own unique story and situation. If you are curious about this work might help your own particular circumstances please feel free to contact me for a discovery call.