Free breathing. Recommended practice.
Free breathing is a unique instrument of personality integration providing person with the access to resources of his conscience and freeing his mentality from the burden of accumulated stresses. Free breathing is the shortest way, an incredible method of a fast-paced enlightenment and personal progress.
Breathing techniques, similar to Free Breathing, were developed about 20 years ago in America. Stanislav Grof and Leonard Orr were the originators of these techniques. First, they were used to overcome consequences of birth trauma, which we will regard as an example to examine the structure of psychological traumas.
Under current conditions, the human birth becomes one of the most severe stresses in his life. Formerly, when women gave birth to children at home she was surrounded by friends and family, so the child was born in love. However, in modern maternity hospitals, a child is just one of thousands of similar ones, and doctors do not trouble themselves to surround him with love. As soon as a child is born, he is taken away from its mother, from the single source of light and love for the child; they take him by the legs, slap and carry him away. The child is scared and feels uncomfortable. He finds that it was good where he was and feels bad where he is.
Thus, human life begins with this type of evaluation - “good-bad.” This huge world is not perceived in its unity anymore but is divided into parts. All his life the person continues evaluating and thus dividing the world into right and wrong, good and evil, black and white, righteous and godless.
As a result, binarity, partitioning, fragmentation of our conscience are laid. We are unable to divide the world into “right” and “wrong” (the world remains indivisible) in reality but we make this division in our mind, hence we actually split up the conscience itself. Fragmentation of conscience is the first outcome of our division of the world into “right” and “wrong.” A kind of potential difference is formed that creates energy field between these two areas in our conscience similar to “plus” and “minus” difference. An energetic capsule, structure is formed around the part we evaluated as negative. This structure blocks the access to respective areas of conscience, which is equal to our desire to break free of any negative emotions whether they are fear or shame, enmity or anger, sorrow or pain. Such dejectedness and emotions result in what we figuratively call the subconscious or unconscious.
Suppression of these states and emotions is realized through the mechanism of psychological defense – repression. Repression is a process of “casting out” unacceptable for a person thoughts, memories, and experiences from the conscience and are transferred to the area of the unconscious (you can find detailed information about the mechanism of repression and the unconscious in Freud’s psychoanalytic concept). Each second any of such structures need continuous energy supply to keep the suppression. We may believe to already forget our situation (in reality we do not forget anything, we can only suppress, repress) but continue wasting our energy to suppress it instead of using this energy in art, love and sweets of life.
So, the second outcome is the energy, that is wasting huge amount of energy to support suppression-oriented energy structures, which we created.
The third outcome is narrow, limited choice. The more our conscience is fragmented, the more negative experience we have, the more we narrow our selection field in a particular situation. Adherence to five elements is especially important for effective Free Breathing. Five elements of Free Breathing as basic components of the process were offered by Jim Lenard and Phil Laut. Before that, there was no clear understanding of the process dynamics and people acted under inspiration, so to speak.
Basically, each element is a certain skill the person may be trained to use and taught to improve. Five elements of Free Breathing are the components of a single process used as the tools to achieve its maximum effectiveness and fullness. Each element is a skill, which you can improve without limit.
Let’s consider these elements step by step:
1. Smooth breathing,
2. Full relaxation,
3. Extensional insight,
4. Context flexibility,
5. Openness to trust.
1. SMOOTH BREATHING
Smooth breathing - is breathing without breaks between breathing in and out. Three main parameters determining the structure of breathing are depth, rate and balance between breathing in and out. The depth of breathing determines intensity of the situation experienced, extent of emotional engagement in it and the level of physical feelings. Breathing rate determines the flow of the process, the flow of transformed situation the person is engaged in. Breathing-in must be done actively, implying muscular effort; breathing-out – passively, with relaxation of muscles. The “breathing-in and -out” cycle is done through either the nose or mouth. You may vary it, but remember that breathing by mouth is more intensive. There are four main types of breathing; they differ by balance of depth and rate of breathing.
First type: slow and deep breathing with the focus on breathing-in. The structures of this type of breathing allow you to maintain necessary depth of immersion into the process under its relatively low flow. You may also consider and try certain details of the situation experienced. These breathing structures are useful:
- at the beginning of the process;
- any time when you want to have rest.
Second type: quick and deep breathing with the focus on breathing-in. Main or “working” type of breathing in the process. It aims to increase physical body consciousness (for example, to fight sleeping, loss of consciousness, distraction on other people etc.) or transformation of specific energy structure (for example, uncertain discomfort in some body parts). When working with this type the person gains access to the situations from different layers of memory (for example, to external and internal conflicts left without reaction, situations relating to life hazards, birth trauma etc.). In this type, you should breathe by mouth, almost without exceptions.
These breathing structures are useful:
- under excessive reflection, stargazing, loses of consciousness, drowsiness, boredom;
- to intensify feelings at a particular moment;
- to maintain contact with body and emotions;
- to make the process interesting.
Third type: quick and shallow breathing (the instructors of Free Breathing often call this type “a dog breathing”). It is useful at:
- excessive discomfort;
- crying, hysteria, psychic tension;
- critical activation;
- overflow of the feelings.
This type decreases the intensity of feelings without the loss of the process efficiency.
A good rule of thumb is not to get too enthusiastic about this type of breathing and it is reasonable to use it only in severe, extreme situations in the process, like “an emergency aid.”
Fourth type: slow and shallow breathing. These structures are used only after integration, 10-15 minutes before the final withdrawal from the process or in between its two cycles (not too long to avoid difficulties entering the next cycle).
Few general tips:
- relax your breathing-out, do not control it, let the gravitation take care of it.
- If you feel spasm or tension:
a) relax breathing-out, because most often overtension is a result of excessive forcing of breathing-out;
b) breathe quickly and shallowly (it refers to any excessive discomfort);
c) relax the area of body around the point of tension;
d) imagine yourself breathing through the body part under tension;
e) enjoy the secret of the process.
- Breathe deep enough to feel the energy flowing through your body.
- Experiment with your breathing to set up a correspondence between the structure of breathing and dynamics of appearance and transformation of situations experienced.
- Adjust your breathing in a manner ensuring the process to be around the boundary of your comfort zone.
2. FULL RELAXATION
Fullness of relaxation defines the ease of access to the suppressed situations and emotions. The more you are relaxed the more efficient is your work. A good method to relax is from feet, relaxing zone by zone until entire body is relaxed. Especially focus on facial muscles, muscles around the mouth, vocal chords and shoulder girdle. If you feel tension during the exercise try to come into contact with it. Tell this: “Relaxation is safe for you. I do not want to fight with you and accept you as you are whether you relax or not”.
Practice helps person learn to relax quickly. Sometimes you may relax using counting: “As I count till ten, after each number I relax more and more and when I say “ten” I will find myself to be fully relaxed. “One… deeper… three… deeper… and even deeper … ten, I’m fully relaxed.”
3. EXTENSIONAL INSIGHT
Focus of our rational conscience and mind significantly influences the efficiency of Free Breathing. The more aware we are and the more efforts we make to apprehend, analyze the process, the more we distort it. At the same time the access to the suppressed situations, which are especially unpleasant for our mind, is inhibited. That is why the main activity of the mind during the process should be watching. The human consciousness is multidimensional as well as his memory. One and the same situation may be manifested in different planes:
- physical – in the form of cold, warmth, pain, tension, compulsory movements;
- emotional – in the form of fear, sorrow, feel of loneliness, joy, happiness;
- figurative, symbolic, mental and many others.
Usually human consciousness chooses one, more familiar plane of perception of the situation experienced. There is no preferable plane; however, because of Free Breathing practice, the ability of multidimensional perception is intensified. Your attention during the process should be both deep and wide. Thus, while breathing person should select the strongest signal from the variety of signals and perception planes, concentrate all attention on it, and simultaneously observe full dynamics of the events as if out of the corner of his eye.
- focus on feeling in order to note the smallest changes;
- feel how important and lovely is each nuance of your feelings;
- learn to describe properties of energy structures: find the place of feeling or emotion in your body and describe all its characteristics (color, shape, temperature, consistency, texture, sound, size, density etc.);
- pay special attention to those feelings, which you usually disregard;
- stimulate your feeling to be more intensive;
- express your emotions! Give yourself the chance to express them but keep watching attentively;
- try to note as many details as possible in any situation;
- if you don’t know what to focus on, focus on your body and feel the energy flowing through it;
- if this also doesn’t help, focus on breathing and intensify it.
4. CONTEXT FLEXIBILITY
Context is a way of reality perception. It is subjective and depends heavily on personal experience, existing values and paradigms. Different people may feel and perceive different feelings differently. For example, pain in shin may cause fear, pleasure, anxiety, joy, despondency and astonishment.
Context is not only the situation being perceived and experienced but also the attitude thereto.
Each of us has a certain set of “favorite” contexts. Usually they are not numerous and we apply similar metrics to absolutely different situations. Actually, in everyday life we generally use one-dimensional contexts (for example – “that’s good, that’s bad”).
Flexibility of context assumes realization of diversified selection field in approaches and evaluations, handling perceived and experienced situation. This element means that one context may be changed by another one as a result of free choice. Flexibility of context is the base of integration. The breathing person should unconditionally accept any feeling that enters his perception area and should be grateful because it is not suppressed and rejected anymore. The art of unconditional acceptance is the base of any self-actualization method. Whatever the feeling it should be accepted with love and joy. Dynamic, multidimensional selection of context may be the most important factor in human life. For this reason, it is very important to master this element in Free Breathing. At the end of this book we offer you “90 contexts to transform any unpleasant situation into pleasant one.”
5. OPENNESS TO TRUST
This element may be defined as follows: general positive attitude to the process, yourself in the process, physical and social conditions of managing the process. Feeling of assured and apprehended safety, credibility to the members of the group, to instructors, to the process of sessions are psychological preconditions for full relaxation to ensure success of working with other elements of Free Breathing. There is no perfect formula of Free Breathing. Believe the process to be running correctly. Meanwhile be active in the process – experiment with all elements, especially breathing, find work modes, which combine easiness and effectiveness.
Having completed the Free Breathing course the person may use it during his whole life. Whereas formerly the person could experience negative reactions in a situation (anger, fear, annoyance, aggression) which made him nervous and his breathing shallow and rough disturbing his emotional balance even more hence stiff connection between conscience and breathing was formed, but after learning Free Breathing he is able to change this severe connection by flexible one. In other words, if under similar situations the person starts breathing smoothly, he has a chance to restore his emotional balance quickly and eliminate any negative reaction. So why does this technique attract people? First of all, Free Breathing helps them to:
- completely fulfil their creative potential;
- keep clarity of thinking even in conflicts;
- restore emotional balance quickly;
- become more independent from external effects;
- improve performance;
- accept people and situations as they are;
- feel joy communicating with people;
- make right choice when necessary;
- learn to manage the body.
I am confident that a person is born to be free and happy in this world. Freedom and happiness are natural states of a person. You do not need much to achieve this – live in peace with yourself and world around, for that, you need to perceive inner and external world as a whole – an integration. We offer you a new technique of integration of your personality – Free Breathing.
Free Breathing. Recommended practice.
М.: 1992 (reproduced in short form)