by Anam Kat Langer
With different breathwork practices gaining popularity around the world, breathwork workshops are becoming an integral part of some of the biggest yoga studios’ and festivals’ schedules. Some even say that breathwork is becoming “the new yoga” and since there is obviously no need to replace yoga, let’s look at how these practices inter-link and can complement each other.
In a recent interview for Hanuman Academy, Giten Tonkov, founder of the BioDynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release System® (BBTRS) and author of ‘Feel to Heal – Releasing Trauma through Body Awareness and Breathwork Practice’, explains how many people, after practising yoga for some time, hit an agonizing point where they are being faced with a mirror of themselves in their practice. When faced with their reflection, they start to see things in themselves that are painful, uncomfortable or simply not welcome. Imagine a time when during savasana you had tears running down your face? Or in warrior pose, when you could have actually attacked someone? Have you ever during class found yourself judging the teacher, fellow students, yourself or your own body…and then judged yourself more for being judgmental because that’s not very “yogi”, right? Well, apparently that’s what most of us experience at some point and why many people actually quit the practice. Or – we decide to go deeper and that’s where the practice of breathwork can help.
As Giten goes to explain, many of our core beliefs, conditionings and traumas are held as tensions in the body so as we move through the deeper layers of our physical body, stuff comes to the surface which can carry an emotional charge or a traumatic memory. This can be scary and uncomfortable and collide with our idea of yoga as in the spiritual world we are often made to believe that these so-called “negative” aspects of ourselves are somehow flawed or “un-spiritual”. According to Giten, we may even start to feel worse than ever before in our lives while things that were so far supressed are rising to our conscious awareness. This process of purification is in fact healing as, over time, we become more aware of our wounds and triggers and learn to integrate them, moving from a space of emotional reaction to conscious response. We have to, at some point on our spiritual journey, face our darkness and inner demons in order to bring them to the light and grow as humans.
The traumas, conditionings or limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves cause us to close off our vulnerable hearts and, over a lifetime, we subconsciously build up physical and energetic armouring in order to protect these wounded hearts. During yoga and breathwork, we break through these layers, removing the armouring so that the heart can shine again.
The BBTRS practice, as taught by Giten in training workshops around the world, specifically focuses on releasing these deep core layers and the trauma that is stored in the body. By connecting with our physicality as we encounter painful memories or emotions, we learn to stay present in our bodies with strong emotional charge running through them. Over time, this helps us to not get overwhelmed by our emotions and to stay calm when triggered. We learn to trust our bodies and the strong sensations that arise during trauma and, ultimately, we grow in trust in ourselves.
As with the many different styles of yoga, different breathwork systems can have different effects on us – some practices are more psychedelic in nature, others may take us on a particular journey or back to the moment of our birth. BBTRS is an embodied practice where the focus is on re-calibration of the energy in the body through the nervous system. The combination of breath, movement, sound and touch helps to release these deep core tensions and open the heart, leaving body and mind more flexible, free and alive. And even with a difficult experience during the breathwork session, most people leave feeling deeply relieved, more vibrant and full of joy. A regular meditation practice is important and an essential part of BBTRS practitioner trainings to help integrate and seal in the effects of the BBTRS practice as stillness is necessary to process such deep work.
As written in the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. And for those who are ready and willing to go deeper, breathwork can take you exactly to where you need to go.
Check our Events Schedule for upcoming BBTRS trainings and workshops around the world!
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Ineke Machdi says
Totally agreed. I was more than 10 year ( 2003- 2013 ) I do my yoga start from asanas, mind setting with philosophy, breathing technique called pranayama, doing karma yoga such a charity, whatsoever it takes I give my totality 100% into my daily practice and teach too, but for my personal self journey, who need to heal myself, to understand more about myself.. I need more than what yoga can offer to myself.
Yet in the ancient time where there is not too busy in life, no internet, not to much charge stimulation from the outside, I can understand that yoga in technique, in philosophy, and daily practices include meditation in the whole set can support humanity, but now everything moving too fast so I feel, humanity also need to directly go to the point and feel safe to release their trauma, from every layer in free way. I prefer now to combine Breathwork BBTR, a lot of ecstatic dance, meditation, a liitle bit asanas: to charge the body, understand the nervous system and yes.. by adding Breathwork as a tool for myself, it creates more space to sense my body energy to flow, or sudden block and understand how to release. Let’s breathe.. Thank you
Namaste. Ineke Machdi ( Facilitator Breathwork BBTR )
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The blend of breath, development, sound and contact assists with delivering these profound center strains and open the heart, leaving body and brain more adaptable, free and alive. Furthermore, even with a troublesome encounter during the breath work meeting, a great many people leave feeling profoundly alleviated, more dynamic and blissful.
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Our sensitive hearts get closed up as a result of the traumas, conditionings, or limiting ideas we have about ourselves. Over the course of a lifetime, we unconsciously develop physical and energetic armoring to shield these wounded hearts.
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