What if we allowed our expanded levels of awareness, presence, and thinking from our “non-ordinary” states to become our “ordinary” state, or even better, to become our “extraordinary” state of being?
Although many people are becoming increasingly receptive to psychedelic experiences as a means for healing, growth, and expansion, there is still a clear distinction between what we consider to be “normal” and “altered” states of consciousness.
But what if we could shift the paradigm of what “normal” and “altered” states of consciousness mean, challenging the way in which we are “supposed to be” walking through life? What if we allowed our expanded levels of awareness, presence, and thinking from our “non-ordinary” states to become our “ordinary” state, or even better, to become our “extraordinary” state of being? What if we could move through life with an open heart and an open mind?
We can. And it is through breathwork. Let’s dive into how you can do this.
The Power of the Breath and the Body
Breathwork is the act of conscious, rhythmic breathing intended to improve emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. As the bridge between the conscious and subconscious minds, the breath helps us tap into our innate capacity for healing and wholeness.
By altering our breath patterns to encompass deeper breathing, we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, down-regulating the body. When we down-regulate our system, we move out of the thinking mind, the ego, and into the body, specifically the heart and the emotional body. The body holds intelligence and wisdom that we can access when we move out of the mind.
When we engage in the practice of breathwork, and open our heart and move from the conscious to subconscious, there is an opportunity to work through unprocessed and unresolved emotions and traumas, and release them from the body and mind.
Opening Up to New Ways of Being
When you think about it, the act of inhaling is an expansion of not only the lungs but the entire body. Could we then see breathwork as a means to expand our consciousness to encapsulate what was formerly unseen?
Many practitioners report that breathwork not only opens them up to a realm of new connections, understanding, and insights about life and reality but also allows them to be at peace with these new ways of being and seeing; this corresponds to psychedelic experiences of heightened states of consciousness and deep feelings of connectedness.
In these heightened and expanded states of consciousness, induced through both breathwork and psychedelics, individuals tend to witness, as well as accept, their life experiences in new ways.
This can be credited to ego death, or a deactivation of the Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain. When the Default Mode Network, the manager of our ego functions, and thus, the controller of our consciousness, is active, we see ourselves as “I” and separate from other beings. However, breathwork and psychedelics can influence the Default Mode Network, temporarily deactivating it and shifting the individual’s experience of reality.
When the Default Mode Network is “turned off,” we are able to notice what may typically go unnoticed, what tends to reside in the background. It allows us to open ourselves up to new observations and realizations because we separate ourselves from the ego and tap into what is ever-present but not tuned into. We are able to connect back with our innate intelligence, the part of us not conditioned by societal ways of thinking, believing, and acting.
Temporarily switching off our ego allows us to be with our experience without the attachments to stories or beliefs surrounding it; it allows us to be with our experience with the wisdom and brilliance of our bodies, paving the way for deep connection, healing, and wholeness. By journeying away from the “I” and into the “We,” we come back home to ourselves and the true nature of reality, the nature of connection and love with Source, with Nature, and with Oneself.
Why breathwork is a daily practice
The more that we engage in breathwork practice, the deeper we can enter into heightened awareness and states of expanded consciousness, and the more that we can show up in the world with greater compassion and understanding. We can find liberation from traumas, addictions, limiting beliefs, unconscious patterns, or whatever it may be that no longer serves us.
When we release what may have been keeping us stuck or holding us back, we can show up in the world with new and more flexible ways of thinking and responding, not acting based on past unconscious patterns or triggers. Then, over time, what may have been only available to us in our “altered states” seeps into our everyday awareness, transforming the “non-ordinary” to the “ordinary” or shall we say, “extraordinary” new way of being. Being open, full of love, deep listening, and gratitude.
And what is so incredible about this is that there is no need to look outside of you to expand and shift your consciousness and your reality. You only need your breath, a tool that is accessible within you at all times. Come join us for a breathwork class, you can sign up here.
Sydney is a perpetual student who pursues the exploration of the interplay between mind, body, and spirit. As a yoga instructor and breathwork facilitator, she creates a container for you to connect back home to yourself, your authenticity, and your curiosity.View Classes
Besides breathing, grieving is one of the most natural things that we do. We are designed with the capacity to grieve, and we intuitively know how to do it. Yes, it is sad, gut-wrenching, and hurts our hearts, but it is organic. Thus, grieving is not the problem, it is our relationship to it, a relationship that is largely impacted by the societal undervaluing of vulnerability.
2020 has quickly become the year of all things breath related, from Covid-19’s attack on our lungs and needing to breath through a mask, to the Black Lives Matter slogan #ICantBreathe, from the last words of Eric Garner, to the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. We no longer can take our breath for granted. The truth is, we should never have taken our breath for granted.