Healing Mind, Body, and Spirit
In my clinical experience, I have found that many people have forgotten, or never learned, how to breathe in a relaxed and restorative way. Breathwork is a simple, surprisingly powerful, and imminently practical way to facilitate healing, increase energy, inner peace, and overall wellbeing.
Breathwork is the observation and/or alteration of breath during diaphragmatic or heart-focused breathing. It has its origins in breathing meditations that have been used for centuries in healing and religious traditions throughout the world. Breathing meditations are believed to have healing energy in the nilch’i (Winds) of Navajo tradition, the Hawaiian sacred healing breath, ha (Aloha is alo, the “meeting face to face” of ha, “the breath of life”) and Qigong’s “breath of no breath,” to name a few. Breath is intimately associated with the soul in nafas (“Allah’s own breath”) of Islam, the Chinese hun (“breath soul”) and neshama (meaning both soul and breath) in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Christian scriptures, Jesus breathes on his disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). The English word “spirit” comes from the Latin, spiritus, meaning both “soul” and “breath.”
Mindfulness and Psychotherapy
Mindfulness is an ancient practice recently adopted by many Western mental health practitioners. Jon Kabat-Zinn has been a leading figure in introducing mindfulness practices into Western healthcare, resulting in both mindfulness based and mindfulness informed psychotherapies. The term mindfulness refers to a Buddhist method of examining experience (thoughts and emotions) with non-judgmental awareness. Psychotherapeutic adaptations of this practice are used to help free the mind from its preoccupation with and assumptions about, experience. Research suggests that mindfulness may be effective in treating attention, mood, and stress disorders.