Breathing. It’s something we do all the time, without giving it a thought. We don’t have to, it is an unconscious activity controlled by the body’s autonomic nervous system. Perhaps the most important activity there is, since breathing, or not, can mean the difference between life and death. So, if breathing is this powerful as an unconscious activity, what can conscious attention and use of the breath do? I spoke with Peace Arnold about the amazing effects of conscious breathwork. Here is what she had to say…
LT: Today I’m talking with Peace Arnold from Rebirthingnyc.com. Peace, tell me a little bit about rebirthing.
PA: Rebirthing is mostly known for the breathing practice called Rebirthing Breathwork, but it is actually part of a larger system for improving and maintaining the health of the human body. The breathwork piece is the way of filling your body with life force energy and relaxing and allowing that qi, that prana, to flow and to be distributed throughout your system, ultimately bringing the full flow of energy to every cell of the body. This energy is then distributed by the breath through the nervous system and also into the bloodstream, and carried throughout the bloodstream, so it cleans your circulatory system, your lymphatic system, as well as the other systems of your body. In doing this breathwork you are bringing energy in and also flushing out stagnant energy, so it is revitalizing your system and that is where the health benefits come in. It is deeply relaxing and revitalizing to the system.
LT: Well let me ask you, it’s a breath therapy, correct? What’s the difference between just breathing or taking a couple of deep breaths and then moving on? What makes rebirthing special?
PA: What makes rebirthing special is that when we get in touch with our breathing mechanism, when we start rebirthing, it will actually heal the breathing mechanism from traumas as early as our birth, trauma from as early as our first breath. In addition to this trauma, our breathing mechanism can become restricted as a way of suppressing emotions and guarding ourselves from the world, from life. When this mechanism is restricted it inhibits our breathing and the amount of energy we take in from the breath and ultimately these restrictions become habits, patterns, that often carry through our entire lives.
So rebirthing is a circular breathing pattern where you are pulling in breath actively on the inhale, gently, never forced. It’s a nice full inhale as far as it goes naturally in, and then you snap it free and let it go. You do this in a complete circle and when you do this it enlivens, it wakes up, the breathing mechanism and begins to release the restrictions on the breathing mechanism and it becomes more functional. Your breathing can expand, your breathing capacity can expand, and the more aware you are of your breath the more aware you become of holding your breath and suppressing through holding your breath, and this awareness ultimately helps to bring you to a more natural free flowing breath.
LT: So what are the effects on the neurological system?
PA: Speaking from my experience, when I use this breath the first thing I notice is that it is very deeply relaxing. Then I notice that there is an aliveness, this kind of a soft vibration, that starts to be distributed through my system, and it feels to me like it’s distributed through the nervous system of the body. You can do this breathing through the nose or mouth. Primarily what we recommend is breathing in and out through the nose. When you are breathing in this particular soft way, open way, free way, it ultimately takes on a very unique quality. There’s a certain power in the breath when you are breathing through the nose, it stimulates the glands that go straight into the limbic system. It’s almost as if you are breathing a fragrance. It’s a very refined breath and doing this refined breath makes your memories more available to you. So while relaxing into the breath this old material can start to come up and you can become aware of it. You become aware of your guard, of your defense mechanisms, and of the patterns of tension that are created around them. This awareness allows you to relax instead, you become aware of how to choose to relax instead, and as you relax your body becomes more open and all the circulation can flow better. Wether it is impulses running through the electrical system, the nervous system, or circulation through the fluids of your body, the blood and lymphatic fluids, as you relax your whole body becomes more open and available to the natural flow of circulation. Part of this natural flow is through the nervous system, the flow of impulses and communication back and forth through the nervous system right up into the brain. What I have discovered from doing this for many years is that, even my brain felt as if it was holding tension. The more breathwork I did I could almost feel my brain “relaxing,” which made no logical sense to me. I just had never really thought of it that way. I think of muscles relaxing but what I was able to experience is relaxation in my head and brain. So I am delighted, because to me this means the circulation to my brain must be improved, and when there is energy and life force circulating, the body switches to self-healing mode and can do whatever it needs to do to replicate healthy cells. It knows how to eliminate metabolic waste, to bring in the nutrients, the oxygen, and the energy that every cell needs, and how to flush out, through the improved circulation, the metabolic waste by-products of the work of the cell. There is no limit as far as I can see to the possibilities of this work.
LT: Absolutely! Peace I would like to thank you for describing rebirthing and its amazing benefits. I myself have experienced it and it’s been very profound and empowering. I’m so glad you are around to share it with everyone.
PA: Thank you for being here, I appreciate it.
Peace Arnold, Rebirthingnyc.com