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The magic of breathworks

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Tikiri Finds the Sun – Chandrika Gadiewasam, September 2019 

By Chandrika Gadiewasam

It is hard for me to describe ‘Holotropic Breathworks’. It is a system of breathing exercises which can send you into non-ordinary states of consciousness and expanded awareness leading you to find ‘power within’ which you can harness. It reaches into hidden past trauma, and releases the pain, leading to much-needed catharsis, and unlike in meditation, there is nothing for you to actually ‘do’ (except breathe!). You don’t have to sit in difficult postures. You can fall asleep if you want (most people don’t). You just have to release yourself, trustingly, to the loving Universe.

Well, honestly I can’t find the correct words to tell you how powerful it is. This isn’t a story about walking out of a relationship or breaking out of artist’s block, or banishing lifelong phobias, which all happened to me – this is about finding your inner strength, this like all self-improvement is about being able to fall in love ‘with yourself’. 

Cetacean Symphony – Chandrika Gadiewasam, August 2019

My own breathwork experience with only a one-day session, started basically with me not knowing what to expect, but trusting Sandy (my friend who introduced me to Breathworks) and the workshop facilitators and my sitter (breathwork partner who will watch over me during my ‘journey’) and allowing myself to let go of control and go where the music takes me…


Towards the non-ordinary

I think the key is in the breathing...we don’t usually breathe so well and deep, allowing oxygen to go through our bodies so thoroughly, to our brains, etc. The music supports that because we all naturally respond to these various drums, etc. and are capable of soaring through music. The music is sourced from ancient cultures around the world, bringing together atavistic wisdom and healing. This combination is magical.

There were a number of things that changed in my life that day.

I always had a fear of drowning but after the deep breathing my particular vision was swimming with whales and dolphins and I lost that fear of asphyxiation. In fact I stayed a long time without breathing at certain points and those moments were almost ecstatic! I had naturally the fear of mundane pain and suffering but this experience told me that I was strong enough to conquer anything physical and go something of an out-of-body experience. 

Yes, there were dark scary troughs into which I fell but I gained confidence that I could climb out of them when I wanted. There was a feeling of freedom, strength, love, and of all my mundane worries falling away. This strength has lasted me to this day and I believe it will last much further. But I’m looking forward to a kind of recharging of my breathwork energy in March when the next workshop comes to Colombo.

After the workshop, the 35 participants spoke of what visions they had seen. People of various faiths had religious experiences, similar to OBEs/NDEs. Nearly all participants spoke of nature...mountains, valleys, trees, oceans, horses, jungles, birds, flower gardens. And comfort, healing and freedom. A feeling that the universe will look after you! I remember dolphins. I feel it just goes to show that humans miss nature, that’s why we are mentally and physically getting sick and stressed.


Removing blocks

Another strange side effect was that the blocked artist in me who had struggled for self-expression for 30 years, buying paints and canvases but being unable to paint, suddenly and miraculously burst into creative expression. I’d always been a kind of copycat, drawing from photographs and other people’s paintings but suddenly here I was composing my own visual dreams on canvas. I have to say without a doubt that it was the strength and power within discovered through breathwork that led me to this amazing exuberance.

To be honest you probably won’t see every participant bursting into song or uncontrollable creativity or taking very bold steps like walking away from stagnant relationships...but I know that many of the participants found that day immensely relaxing, cathartic and strengthening. 


Word of warning

Finally a word of warning too: Holotropic Breathworks is profound and powerful so sometimes it may cause temporary distress when you face your demons. 

My own theory is that the more trauma you may have behind you, the more effective it becomes. In my case...after Breathworks: I am soaring. 

Next planned workshop dates in Sri Lanka: 27, 28, 29 March (2020) 

Venue: Community Education Centre, # 117, Talahena, Malabe

Fee: Rs. 5,000 per day. Rs. 15,000 for three days. Those who apply before 15 January will receive a discount of Rs. 1,000 for each day. You can participate on one day, two days or three days.

Interested candidates should register before 31 January. Registration fee (advance): Rs. 4,000.


Who can benefit?

Breathworks can greatly benefit people suffering from: anxiety and depression, trauma, post-traumatic stress, and anger issues, grief and loss and the emotional effects of physical illness.

Holotropic Breathworks can be a universal healer. Breathworks is not particular to any religion but it can very well become a religious experience. 

If there is one thing adventurous you want to do in 2020, I suggest you try this experience and I know you will not regret it. 

(For more information about the workshop please contact: Sandy de Alwis – Email: sdea_joy@yahoo.com, Tel: 0777683170 or Janet Nethisinghe – Email: janetnfmm@gmail.com, Tel: 071 422 8358/077 254 5870.

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