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Thru the Heart founder, Danielle Hering, is an experienced Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Spiritual Healer and Certified Pranayama Breath Facilitator. Courtesy photo
Columns Soul on Fire

Soul on Fire: Breathing into the soul with ‘breathwork’

We’ve all had moments that have taken our breath away. What is the breath? Have you ever really thought about it?

Breath is the lifegiving force of our being or prana. Most of us don’t think about this essential biological function that keeps us alive. It is fascinating that the thing that is keeping us alive in this human form is a subconscious activity.

What happens when you take the time to lay down with focused, conscious, rhythmic breathing? Well, it’s something so soulful and profound, I just had to share it with my readership. We are talking “breathwork” in this week’s column.

By now, most of us have heard about breathwork. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, someone most likely told you to “just breathe” or breathe into a paper bag to create a rhythm to slow you down. You might have ended a yoga session with some type of pranayama or controlled breathing after an asana.

There is power in our breath. We can all agree to that. I’m talking the quest for enlightenment kind of power. Something that can lead one back to their soul. Breathwork as a spiritual practice.

By introducing a different pattern of breathing, the subconscious mind doesn’t get involved. With this controlled breathing method, the oxygenated blood hits the hypothalamus gland, and the body begins to release endorphins.

The result is energy moves through the body and allows emotional blocks, traumas you may be holding onto, dissipate as you quiet the mind so you can hear your body talking. It enables us to listen to what’s in our hearts — the broader wiser part of us. It connects you to your own energy. To the very core of your being where you might be stuck. So you can feel who you really are. The result is a feeling of love, forgiveness for others, and yourself, euphoria, and frequent epiphanies are had after coming back from an in-depth session.

There’s a whole contingent of healers and practitioners who are employing this particular modality and adding it to their arsenal, and you can see why. Psychotherapists of all kinds, massage therapists, reiki masters, counselors who work with family and couple therapy, recovery, trauma, teachers, elder care facilitators — you name it. Breathwork is a thing.

Typical breathwork group session. Courtesy photo

The modality of breathwork is not new by any stretch of the imagination. For years it was almost an underground practice curated in the ’60s and ’70s with Rebirthing and Vivation, as well as Holotropic, derived from various spiritual and prescientific traditions from around the world. Integrative,

Transformational, Shamanic, Conscious Connected, Radiance, Zen-Yoga, and many other methods are also out there. Kundalini Yoga, also growing in mainstream popularity, has a version with the Dragon Breath or Breath of Fire.

One of the premier pioneers bringing breathwork’s influence to the west is David Elliott. Graduating healers each year in the hundreds, after reading his book, simply titled “Healer,” Elliott’s particular method has become the practitioner’s bible under the Pranayama umbrella. Elliott has broken down the practice scientifically, so it can be duplicated and taught easily to those who have been called to this healing method.

One such student, now teacher and devotee, is North County local Danielle Hering. A licensed marriage and family psychotherapist for the last 25 years in Encinitas, Hering has been integrating this practice over the previous 10 years. Stating that “Breath is the Bridge to the Spirit,” Hering has seen some of her private practice clients release trauma from sexual abuse that they were holding for years, addictions removed, anxiety and depression disappear by merely breathing. Most of us have quite a backlog of emotions that may not have been released at the moment they occurred. Especially childhood trauma.

I venture to say that there are many of us walking around with a spiritual void in our life force due to unresolved issues being carried around in our chakra system. “It’s not possible to do a spiritual bypass when you are practicing breathwork,” says Hering. “You can’t gloss over emotions and keep them hidden as sometimes happen in a therapy session. Breathwork absolutely will show you that place so you can free yourself from obstructions and move into living your best life.”

Meeting Elliott at the We Care Spa in Palm Springs, she was reluctant and skeptical. But after having her own profound experience, she became a believer and an avid teacher trainer and practitioner. Holding Breathwork meditations in prestigious retreat centers like the Golden Door and high-end recovery homes such as Villa Kali Ma in La Costa, and weekly sessions at Soul of Yoga, her practice is what is most impressive.

To facilitate someone else’s healing, the healer must do their own healing work so they can hold a safe space for others to do the same. The more training someone has had, the more spirit will be able to move through them. They can’t take you deeper if they haven’t gone that deep within themselves. Make sure who you train with is walking their talk and can provide a safe container for you to crack open the blockages that have held you back. Find a teacher/trainer that shines the light into your healing. I found such a teacher in Danielle. Check out Danielle on her website at www.thrutheheart.com to learn more.

I recently completed a breathwork training with Danielle to be able to augment my spiritual prayer practitioner practice once I get licensed in June. In the meantime, I am working the breath to break through some of my blockages so I can better facilitate the deep work that may be necessary for those I may serve, including real estate.

God knows one needs to breathe through a real estate transaction! By raising the frequency of our vibration through breathwork, to match the frequency of our spirit, we can do our souls’ work. By taking responsibility for our own lives, we can heal everything. We can live a life with our Souls On Fire.