Ceremony FAQ & Preparation
BREATHWORK CEREMONY: what to expect
"The experience was powerfully loving in a way I cannot put into words. It literally brought me to tears to receive the breath so fully." — Christa G.
The breathwork experience is quite unique and difficult to describe in words. One client described it as "experiential therapy" in which the opportunity exists to address pre-cognitive experiences stored in the body and nervous system, along with accessing heightened states of awareness, similar to expanded states of consciousness induced by psychedelics and plant medicines.
While the breathing technique is simple (active inhalation and passive exhalation, done through the mouth continuously for the duration of the journey), the process it catalyzes can be quite profound. Context for what might arise in your experience will be discussed in greater detail at the beginning of the session, but please note that this is an ACTIVE and DYNAMIC process, with potential for big energetic shifts and movement. While people often move into deep meditative states throughout the journey, the technique itself is more similar to Rebirthing and Holotropic breathwork than to yogic pranayama.
Group ceremonies are typically 10-18 people, and begin with brief introductions and an overview of the modality, along with time for Q&A. For the journey itself, you'll be lying on your back and engaging the breathing technique for approximately 75-minutes. The process is supported by a musical soundtrack (played at decent volume), ranging from energetic tracks to orchestral instrumentals and ethereal soundscapes. While some facilitators offer verbal cueing throughout, I limit this to focus in the somatic (body-centered) and pre-cognitive experience, as opposed to bringing awareness back into mental processes.
During the journey, I (and assistants) will be walking around the room to offer individual support. This takes the form of some verbal guidance to help direct the breathing pattern, hands on palpation work, energetic clearing (using shamanic healing protocols), and potential engagement of vocal toning and sounding to support energetic movement.
Breathwork affects all layers of being (physical, emotional, mental, and transpersonal/spiritual/mystical), and during the journey, you might experience strong sensation of "energy" running through your body. It’s common to experience emotional movement, so the process might take you into the release of pain or sadness that hasn’t been fully processed, or into states of love and bliss that were previously restricted. On a mental level, you might receive insights and clarity about your life, work, and relationships, and on a transpersonal and mystical level, it’s common to enter visionary states in which the veils lift and there’s connection to that which is beyond the narrow confines of mind and limited sense of self.
As such, this can be a relatively high stimulus environment in which you’re hearing music playing, along with sounds (crying, laughter, etc.) from other participants. However, that is the beauty of this space – a safe and sacred container in which you are supported to enter the deep waters of body and psyche to do significant work of healing, integration, and awakening.
PREPARATION: As this process can be energetically demanding, it’s best to attend when you are feeling physically healthy and not fighting a cold or are immune system compromised. While active breathwork is of value to anyone interested in healing, personal growth and self-realization, it's best suited for those who have some background in therapeutic and/or spiritual work, as this supports one's capacity to remain in a state of witnessing awareness while the body processes old energetic holdings.
I recommend not scheduling any major social/work commitments immediately following the ceremony; it’s best to give yourself time to integrate the experience without having to switch gears immediately. Please DO NOT come to a ceremony under the influence of any intoxicants.
WHAT TO BRING & WEAR
- Yoga mat, blanket, and THIN pillow to support your head
- OPTIONAL: Eye pillow or bandana to block out ambient light and support the inward journey
- OPTIONAL: Journal & pen to capture insights that arise during the journey
- OPTIONAL: A sacred item or talisman to place by your mat or on the group altar
- OPTIONAL: A snack! You'll want to avoid eating a large meal prior, so best to bring some protein-rich snacks for after the session
As body temperature can fluctuate in this work, I recommend wearing comfortable, layered clothing. As you'll be breathing deeply and fully, it's best to avoid tight and restrictive clothing, especially at the waist band and chest.
- I recommend not scheduling any major social/work/family commitments immediately following the ceremony; it’s best to give yourself time to integrate the experience without having to switch gears immediately.
- Drink plenty of water
- Take an Epsom salt bath to support the detox process
- Take a walk in Nature or sit in a park; avoid heavily congested areas immediately following (such as bars, busy restaurants, crowded areas, etc.)
- And most importantly, be gentle and kind with yourself; the "work" can continue post-session, so don't be surprised if you feel energized, tired, sensitive, and/or emotional for a few days following the ceremony.
- Contact me for support and/or questions. I am available by phone and email should you want to presence anything that's arising in your experience, or have questions about what surfaced in your journey.
PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS
As mentioned previously, active breathwork is of value to anyone interested in healing, personal growth and self-realization, and no prior experience is required. As this process can be physically and emotionally demanding, however, it is contraindicated for those who are pregnant, have severe hypertension or cardiovascular disease, epilepsy, bipolar disorders or schizophrenia, or recent major surgeries and/or communicable diseases.
If any of these apply to you, or you have questions about whether breathwork can support your desired intentions, please contact Tai for a consultation before registering for private or group sessions.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
The cancellation and refund policy varies with each studio hosting a breathwork ceremony.
Ritual House of Yoga (Seattle): Cancellations within 24-hrs of the event cannot be refunded or transferred. To receive a refund or credit with more than 24-hrs notice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
Bala Yoga (Seattle): Enrollments are non-refundable and non-transferable.
The Center SF or Registrations via PayPal direct to Sword & Lotus: Cancellations within 24-hrs of the event cannot be refunded or transferred. To receive a refund or credit with more than 24-hrs notice, please contact Tai directly.