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Friday, June 14, 2024

Our Sacred Breathwork and Shamanic Sound Journey

By Jennifer & John Burkhart

This type of alternative therapy was new to John and me, but we were each ready to channel our inner flower child. I mean, when the words, “sacred” and “shamanic” are involved, you know you’re in for a trippy treat. The type of breathwork used was “conscious connected circular breathing.” It is supposed to release stuck energy; heal pain, traumas, stress, and fear; and ultimately result in relaxation or peaceful feelings. The breathwork was augmented with a therapeutic sound bath from quartz bowls, native percussion instruments, voice, and rhythmic breath sounds. The collaboration worked well, and we had two lovely, nurturing souls guiding us on the journey!

He said: I probably should admit that I didn’t approach this sound and breath journey with a fully open mind, but in my defense our day had already been absurd. We scheduled this on such a busy day that we actually started to stress out about whether or not we could make it to our de-stressing ceremony on time. Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes. We arrived just in time, but the room was already pretty full so we had to lie down awkwardly close to complete strangers. It was at this point that I realized that, in my haste, I had grabbed my sons’ dinosaur and Monsters Inc. blankets, so I was fully aware that I looked like Timmy the two-year-old about to lie down for nap time with his blanky. We all blindfolded ourselves (thankfully), and the sound voyage began. Our musician played a variety of rattles, drums, bowls, and hand instruments. Some were mildly annoying, and others were absolutely fascinating. The quartz medicine bowls in particular really blew my mind. The muscles in my back and neck started tightening and loosening based on what tone bowl was being played. I could definitely tell those sound waves were having a physical effect on my body. Now, I had never heard of sacred breathwork up until this point, so I was not ready when the entire room started huffing and puffing like Darth Vader. Open mouth circular breathing is a technique that is supposed to help calm your mind, ease anxiety, and reduce stress, but it only seemed to help me remove all the moisture from my mouth. It was interesting listening to people share their experiences after the session. Quite a few were trying to process through heavy emotions like grief and anxiety, and this activity seemed to really help them. I think this is a great way to process thoughts, feelings, and emotions, especially if you feel stuck. 

She said: I have wondered about energy work lately, and alternative methods of healing in general. I definitely went into this session with an open mind but was still nervous because it was the most “out there” thing I’ve ever done. Well, it was definitely strange and awkward, but it was also fascinating! We were in a room with about 14 other people, each with our own floor space made cozy with yoga mats, blankets, and pillows. Our lovely sound and breathwork healers welcomed the class and gave great instructions and guidance. After everyone had introduced themselves, we began. Calm music started to play, odd and creepy “whooshing” sounds came from the breathwork facilitator, and I resisted the urge to giggle so that I could focus on my breathing. The more I focused on conscious breathing, the more interesting things began to happen. I experienced intense tingling and pulling sensations, (like a giant magnet was above me) muscle twitches, cold and hot temps, random memories popping up, and an image of a dog appeared (eyes were closed, and I was wearing a black eye-mask). The sounds took me through a range of emotions: rattles and a natural-hide drum invoked fear, the crystal singing bowls induced tears but also calmness to the point of falling asleep several times (just for seconds though), and the hand pan was a beautiful sound with which to end the session. I appreciated the verbal coaching throughout the session, “You are doing great. Breathe through the feelings and sensations. Let go of what is not yours to bear.” Those were such powerful and encouraging words to hear. It was such a fascinating experience and so hard to describe. I understand that everyone will have a different experience, and even each session can be different for the same person, but I highly recommend it. 

Have you tried a sound bath? Let us know in the comments! A sound bath could be just the kind of therapy you are looking for. Read more Health and Wellness articles on Green Living.

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