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Conscious Connected Breathing: What to Expect

by Sanctuary Studios on 03/31/2022
Posted in Breathwork
Conscious Connected Breathing: What to Expect

Inhale into the belly, into the chest, and exhale out. These three parts are the premise of conscious connected breathing which begins to slowly flow energy through your body. The experience is unique and if you’ve never tried this style of active Breathwork, here’s exactly what you can expect.

What is conscious connected breathing?

This simple 3-part breathing technique is the foundation of this style of Breathwork, a type of active breathing that can unwind chronically held tension in the body and nervous system while catalyzing expanded states of consciousness.

While the term breathwork can refer to a wide variety of breathing practices, this type of contemporary overbreathing practice has primarily evolved from Holotropic Breathwork, developed in the late 1960’s. You can read more about the landscape of conscious breathing practices and their influences in Sanctuary’s Guide to Conscious Breathing.

What happens in a Sanctuary Breathwork session?

Our approach:

Breathwork at Sanctuary is a therapeutic journey of self-discovery, intended to gently expand awareness to access deeper levels of healing and insight.

We don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach to Breathwork and while a baseline breathing technique is offered, we encourage you to find a pace that works for you. You are welcome to ease back, lean in, or pause and rest anytime. Our approach is one of supporting productive release and integration, and helping you reconnect to your breath as an ally for healing and wellbeing.

Our Breathwork guides are experienced facilitators who come from different backgrounds and training, and each brings their unique gifts and style of facilitation. However, there are some foundational elements you can expect in all Sanctuary sessions:

  • Conscious connected breathing. The core technique is generally an active two-part inhale into the lower abdomen and chest followed by a passive exhale, via the mouth. The breath is continuous like a rolling wave, with full movement of the diaphragm. The breath will be demonstrated in each session, with a more thorough overview provided in Introduction to Breathwork with Tai Hubbert.
  • Cinematic music and immersive experience. A dynamic, cinematic soundtrack helps guide your journey and creates an immersive experience to transcend the everyday mind.
  • Verbal cues and space. Verbal cues will be offered throughout the session to help guide you in the experience, and there is also space to just breathe with the music and observe what arises. We find that too many words can activate the thinking mind, so we leave space to help you explore new pathways of insight and embodied intelligence.
  • A private space. While Breathwork in large groups can be overwhelming for some people — at Sanctuary you are in the safety, comfort, and privacy of your own private studio. You can explore Breathwork and allow for your authentic experience and expression.

The experience:

The Breathwork practice is done reclined, typically with eyes closed. You can open them anytime to orient to the space and take in the immersive visuals, as desired. Most sessions are around 40-45-minute of active Breathwork with time to rest and integrate your experience.

Each Breathwork journey will be unique, and your experience can range vastly from session-to-session. However, there are some common experiences that can arise in this modality:

Physical experiences with conscious connected breathing

In consciously increasing the depth and rate of respiration, there is a temporary up-regulation of the nervous system to support the release of accumulated stress in the body which are energies of the fight/flight/freeze response. Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels also temporarily shift, and the circulation of prana in the body is increased. It’s common to experience a feeling of “buzzing” as a result, as well as energy that can be released in the forms of yawning, changes in body temperature, or some shifting sensations in the body.

Emotional experience with conscious connected breathing

Most people experience chronic suppression of emotions. Additionally, at an early age most people developed strategies to manage overwhelming experiences. Emotional energy is often exiled in the body and psyche, and conscious deep breathing can often bring it to the surface for healing and integration — think of it like a release valve. It’s common to tap into grief, joy, love, sadness, anger, and even fear. Within a safe container and consciously engaged practice for healing and harmony, we can allow these energies to move through the system. In doing so, we can feel more at peace, with less internal discord and tension.

Visionary and transpersonal experience with conscious connected breathing

Breathwork is believed to dampen the “default mode network” of the brain, which can lead to a reduction in mental noise and rumination. Often people experience this as a timelessness and transcendence of the ego-mind. In this state, insight, memory, or visions may arise. This can also be a time to have inspirations about new projects and creative endeavors. There is often an experience of drifting into a state of lucidity, like the space between wakefulness and sleep, and perhaps even an experience of deep stillness and peace.

What are the benefits of conscious connected breathing?

Breathwork can be beneficial for anyone seeking deeper self-exploration and access to new dimensions of healing and self-awareness.

Breathwork can:

  • Alleviate anxiety and depression, and reduce stress, worry, and mental rumination
  • Support emotional release
  • Support nervous system regulation and the resilience to meet the experiences of life
  • Support the resolution and integration of traumatic energy and fear
  • Balance energy and enhance vitality
  • Promote mental clarity
  • Expand awareness and open new pathways of seeing and understanding
  • Connect you to the deepest dimensions of yourself

Breathwork is about bringing greater awareness to your body and mind, and can serve as an accessible gateway to expanded state experiences. Sanctuary’s orientation to breathwork is one of therapeutic self-discovery, healing, and insight.

What are the precautions to consider?

While Breathwork can be of value to anyone who is interested in deeper self-awareness and connecting to new dimensions of healing and insight, there are some physical and psychological conditions that are not recommended for this work due to the physiological shifts that can occur with overbreathing, and the potential for non-ordinary states of consciousness.

We DO NOT recommend this style of breathwork if you are pregnant, or have: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or history of psychosis; epilepsy; high blood pressure or glaucoma; a history of severe trauma and/or PTSD. Those with asthma should bring an inhaler.

As Sanctuary’s on-demand Breathwork sessions are not facilitated by an in-person guide, we do not recommend them for those with histories of more severe trauma, who may be better served by working with a facilitator.

If you have any question as to whether Breathwork is appropriate for you, we recommend that you consult your healthcare provider.

What do I need to prepare for my session?

Sanctuary provides everything you need for your Breathwork session. Additionally, you might consider the following pre- and post-session recommendations to prepare for and integrate your experience:

Pre-Session

  • Timing. Schedule your session for a time when you have space in your schedule, and don’t have to switch gears immediately to work or social commitments.
  • Clothing. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Dietary. Refrain from eating a large meal prior, as Breathwork is not ideal on a full stomach.
  • Pen & Paper. Bring a journal to capture insights that arise.
  • Snack. Bring a protein-rich snack for after your session, as Breathwork can build an appetite, and eating a snack can help you feel grounded before moving on with your day.

Post-Session

  • Hydrate. To support the energetic and detox aspects of Breathwork — and the dehydration that can occur when breathing through the mouth — please ensure to hydrate well with water and electrolytes.
  • Ground. Eat a nourishing meal, take an Epsom salt bath, go for a slow walk outside, or take a slow flow yoga or yin yoga session.
  • Journal, draw, or find a symbol. To help bring the insights and experiences of what you touched into your daily life and consciousness, it can help to write about your journey, or even draw an image or symbol. If any imagery or themes came to you, you can also find a picture to put on your nightstand or desk — a visual reminder to recall the experience.
  • Be mindful of your environment. It’s common to feel energetically sensitive (for a couple days) following a deep Breathwork session, so please take care and avoid places or people that might feel overwhelming.
  • Connect. It can be helpful to discuss and process your experience with a licensed mental health care provider or therapist, or experienced breathwork facilitator.

Breathwork is one of the most powerful modalities available for healing and self-discovery. We look forward to sharing it with you at Sanctuary.

Are you ready to experience Breathwork at Sanctuary? Book Now.

Sanctuary is the most personal, immersive wellness studio experience in the universe.