The Power of Breathwork : Balance, Healing and Radical Change in Your Life

John Stamoulos | 3 Jun 2022
The Power of Breathwork : Balance, Healing and Radical Change in Your Life

Breath by breath let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret and frustration.

With each passing day, life gets more frenetic. There's more to do, less time to do it in, more complexity, more moving parts, the push-pull between work and family. In this seemingly impossible struggle, the effort required to keep up can sap your energy and stir the pot of your anxiety.

Begin with time constraints, work demands, family expectations and obligations, financial concerns. Add equal parts of the urgency to pay attention to your relationship as well as to attend to your personal needs. Stir in the omnipresent global firestorms that stoke pervasive fear about the ability to live safely.

The pressure cooker in which you are living creates the perfect recipe for the silent killer of stress into your life. It boils over into exhaustion, depression and destructive coping habits that might creep into your daily experience.

In this chaotic soup of life, it is easy to become disconnected from your essential nature and lose sight of that infinitely divine and vast being of potential and possibility that you are!  

How do you create a better work-life equality? How do you climb into the driver’s seat of your life and build resilience, emotional intelligence and techniques that will help you thrive rather than just cope? How do you find your way through the tangle of complexity? How do you discover peace in the midst of unrelenting demands? Most importantly, how do you get back to being in touch with who you know you are at your core?

Finding The Way Out By Understanding How You Got There

The seeds of your present circumstances were actually planted much earlier in your life than you might imagine, yet their present day effects play a significant role in the adapted actions that you take to feel safe and secure, accepted and loved. Your fear, expectation, anger, regret, frustration and stress-based issues thrive in the hidden unhealed influences that quietly direct and sabotage your ability to live every day fully and in peace. 

The Trauma Of Your Birth

The experience of being born is not benign. The birthing process is the first experience of pain and suffering we encounter as we embark on our human journey. The unexpected jolt of moving from a warm and comfortable environment in our mother’s womb, and unceremoniously and painfully being squeezed through the birth canal into the harsh and cold light of the world, stays with you in your cellular memory and feels like a traumatic brush with death.

From the moment of your birth through infancy, into childhood, adolescence and adulthood, your sub-conscious cellular logic tells you that, in order to stay alive, you need to do whatever it takes to avoid the original pain, suffering and terror you first met at your birth.

Your Conditioning

You are taught from childhood to suppress unacceptable behaviours and to bury your inappropriate emotions. As you adapt to these directives, you use external cues in your environment to help you avoid pain of any kind. You bury your natural responses to life and become increasingly cut off from the opportunity to express authentic love, joy bliss and peace on your own terms. 

Your Pain

Pain can come from difficult relationships, your experiences of growing up in your family, losses you have endured in your life and the meaning you make of those events. The greatest loss is the loss of your own connection to yourself and the inability to live honestly and in integrity with who you truly are.

Your Fears

What if? What if NOT? The endless worry that keeps you awake at night can freeze your ability to respond or put you in a perpetual cycle of high alert and internal turmoil. Fretting about potential outcomes of your life or your inability to comply with the infinite ‘shoulds’ list takes its toll and sets up an energetic pattern of tension and stress. 

Your Limiting Beliefs

All of the above experiences conspire to create a sense within you of all that you cannot do, be or have in life. As you come to live from those beliefs, your life becomes more constricted and you suffer as a result.

The mounting inner war between your conditioning and your authenticity becomes a life script that is often written in the language of denial. As you adapt to the immense pressure to perform and succeed, you are forced to repress what you intuitively know is your heartfelt truth. 

No matter how distasteful or uninspiring your job, or how trapped you might feel, you will continue to go there because that is what you were educated to do, that is what is expected of you and that is the path to someone else’s version of your fulfilment. No matter how unhappy you are in your spousal relationship, you stay and soldier on because that is what you have been told is the right thing to do.

Radical Change And Clear Perspective Are Needed

The pressures and constraints of this set-up reach a tipping point when you can no longer swallow the bitter pill of compromise, when you know that you are suffocating and you need some kind of intervention to awaken the vitality of love, joy and happiness within you.

In the moment that you clearly realise something needs to change, your breath is there to lead you to heal the inner conflicts and ‘disconnects’ that have become your adapted way of life.

Your breath is the greatest delivery system of clarity, personal healing, expansion and transformation that you will ever encounter.

What Is Breathwork?

Breathwork is a safe and effective process that involves the use of a ‘conscious connected breathing technique’ to create an altered state of awareness within you. That state provides an opportunity to release what no longer serves you so that you can awaken your authentic self and return to your original state of wholeness. 

The principles and ancestry of breathwork’s therapeutic use reach back to ancient times. Eastern civilisations used the breath as a means of healing for meditative connection to divinity, for daily focus and to promote wellbeing.  

In the history of modern psychology, whispers of the importance of breathing techniques are evident in the works of Freud and Jung who believed in the use of the breath to explore the role of the unconscious mind. In the present day, such prominent transformational leaders as Stanislav Grof, PhD and Arthur Janov, PhD have dedicated lifelong research into the efficacy of using the breath as healer.  

How Does ‘Just Breathing’ Create Healing?

Imagine the breath as pure crystal clear water being poured into a glass. At the bottom of the glass is sediment and mud that has collected. Pouring the pure water into the glass stirs up the mud and causes the water to become murky... but if you keep pouring that water into the glass, the sediment will eventually come completely out and the water in the glass will become crystal clear.

At the essence of existence, everything is energy - your experiences, your blocks, your adapted behaviour patterns and your breath

By simply breathing in and out in a controlled, cyclic fashion, the breathwork process pours life force energy into you and disturbs the issues inside. There are layers of emotions and thoughts that your breath will clear out in a gradual process of release as you breathe in the conscious connected breath pattern. Your breath continues to pour the life force energy into those hidden aspects of yourself that get in your way and eventually creates a pure environment within you like the crystal clear water. You are free from what holds you back and able to act in your life with clarity and awareness.  

A Typical Breathwork Session

Breathwork sessions are initially conducted with the assistance of a trained professional who is there to facilitate and guide your process. Breathworkers ensure you have a safe space where you can heal, find freedom and be open to explore and access parts of you that have been shut away or need to be let go.

The total time required for a session is approximately three hours and begins with an in-depth confidential interview to set intentions, review your personal history, and identify issues after which your actual breath session begins. 

In a comfortable, quiet and safe setting accompanied by soothing, relaxing music you are invited to lie down and are guided to breathe in the conscious connected pattern of breathwork . This breath pattern initiates your journey inward to explore the depths of your essential spirit and to release and heal any issues that need attention.  

As you continue to breathe in this circular breathing pattern, the vital energy and life force flowing into your body first clears your stress and tension.  At this point, you might become aware of random thoughts. Just observe the musings and let them pass like clouds moving across the sky.

As your breath continues to pump the energy through your body, your blocks will start to surface. These blocks can manifest as physical feelings (heat, tightness), emotional feelings, memories or thoughts.

Just breathe and open to the experience!

There is no typical breath session, but towards the end, you may have a complete understanding of the vastness of who you are and awaken to the absolute truth and awe of your intimate ties to your divine nature. These moments are nothing short of pure bliss and are the crux of the radical change you are seeking.

When you are complete (you will naturally know), your breathworker will spend time debriefing to help you reflect and integrate your experience.

It is here and in the days after your breath session that you will begin to discover the limitless possibilities and immense potential that have opened up in your life. 

Breathwork On Your Own

The ultimate goal of breathwork is to learn how to do it for yourself. This requires a number of facilitated sessions and eventually you are able to have this empowering tool at your disposal to use whenever you need it. 

When you have learned the technique, you might want to use it in a regular practice or you can call on it in any situation that requires release of tension or overwhelm. Breathwork does not require a complete session to be effective. Tension and stress can be relieved with partial breathing sessions, although the best results and integration are achieved with full sessions.

Breathwork During Activities

When you have gained enough experience and are ready to self-administer, breathwork is a flexible tool and perfect companion that you can use in any situation to help relieve discomfort or anxiety, no matter where you are.

You can use it:

  • When you at work and you are feeling the need to release tension.
  • Whilst you are getting ready to make a presentation to an audience. A short bit of breathing in a conscious, connected manner is a wonderful way to calm the natural anxiety of speaking in front of people.
  • Even while you are driving, you can employ the techniques to calm any frustration of traffic jams, thoughts that cause tension or simply feeling overwhelmed. This is one place, however, where you must exercise caution and use the breathing sparingly. It is obviously important that you don’t go as deeply as you would in a facilitated breath session, as this will impair your ability to drive. 
  • As you lay your head down to sleep at night, breathwork is a beautiful way to begin a good night’s rest and release the stressors of the day.

The Gifts Of Breathwork - Perspective and Transformation

  • You are able to make more conscious choices, decisions and judgments that are aligned with your deepest truth.  
  • You connect with your beautiful, loving essence and know more joy, inner peace and bliss because of it.
  • You see unbounded possibilities and potential where blocks previously existed. 
  • You can confidently embrace a life of empowered, awakened action without the influence of your conditioning creating restrictions. 
  • Physically, you learn to breathe more fully, which results in a healthier, more oxygenated body.
  • Learning how to do it for yourself packs a powerful ally along with you wherever you go.
  • You have the personal empowerment and self-trust to navigate change intelligently and with grace.

Breathwork is a compelling invitation to release a lifetime of repressed thoughts, emotions, beliefs, negativity and pain. It is a most efficient way to shatter old patterns that no longer serve so that you can begin to live, thrive and maintain the free flow of your vitality. You can take it with you always. 

As a result of your breathwork experiences, you may decide to find a new career, end or begin new relationships, heal other meaningful connections and take risks that you might never have taken in the past. It is all about your growth and expansion as a human being.

In the end, making a difference in your life has the exquisite side effect of rippling out and making a difference in the world too. That is the most profound outcome of all - you are here to make a difference - and with breathwork, you realise that you do make a difference.

With breathwork, you are motivated and inspired to tap into your limitless potential and share your gifts with the world. There is no greater or more radical transformation in your life than taking action because you have the courage to be seen as the light that you are. 

Mastering breath is mastering your life.  By mastering your breath you can use it to unlock aspects of yourself that are locked away, hidden and damaged.  Connecting with your true inner self - your inner healer - in this way is liberating. 


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About the author
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John Stamoulos

Practitioner (View profile)

John Stamoulos is a master breathwork trainer and facilitator. He is lovingly dedicated to bringing the gift of breathwork to the world and has been travelling internationally for over 25 years working with audiences in UK, Europe, the Middle East, South America, North Africa, USA, Canada, Australia, India and Asia. 

He is the author of Breathing Into A New Life: How Your Breath Heals that provides a deeper understanding of the process and its powerful gifts for elegantly creating change in your life. He is the president of the Australian Breathwork Association and can be contacted via his profile.

Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.

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