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Somatic Breathwork: How Deep Breathing Saved My Soul

3 Things We Dive Into In This Episode:

  1. The power of taking SPACE instead of filling every moment of your life with a stimulus

  2. The impact of releasing emotions that have been stored in your body through somatic practices like breathwork

  3. What it means to have a regulated nervous system, and how somatic breathwork helps you reach nervous system regulation


📌Episode Highlights

[02:46] No Shame About Who You Are

  • I've felt that I sounded too fiery in my past few episodes.

  • People are often too critical of themselves. However, being whole, full, and alive means showing authenticity.

  • My fiery side and softer side are both parts of me - and I feel no shame about being who I fully am.

[07:27] Losing My Soul

  • I felt like I lost my soul during the end of my time in New York and the closing of my last long-term relationship.

  • The soul is the intangible essence unique to every person. I needed an internal sense of safety and regulation to save mine.

  • On a recent retreat, I learned about the impact of somatic breathwork and started practicing it.

  • Despite the constant travel and change, I found a constant, healing relationship in my somatic breathwork sessions with my facilitator.

  • Somatic breathwork saved my soul. With it, I undid the limiting belief that I was inherently a bad person.

Caitie: “I feel like I could admit to mistakes that I've made in the past. I could admit to things that I feel shame about and know that I'm still good, that I'm still okay, and that I'm still lovable. These things are not actually unlovable about me. These things are actually things that I've learned from and grown from.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[19:37] Taking Space For Yourself

  • It’s rare for people to take the time to sit, be with themselves, and tune into their bodies.

  • Too often, people try to fill every part of their lives. We end up suppressing our emotions and pushing through them.

  • Taking space allows you to process, learn, and heal from your experience. It's in silence where intangible energy can be processed and exchanged.

  • When you take space, you don’t suppress, ignore, or distract yourself from feeling your emotions.

  • Another option is to have someone else hold space for you.

Caitie: “Having space gives you the ability to digest your experiences. It gives you the space to actually integrate all the things that are happening to you in your life. And learn something from them, heal from them and kind of crystallize them into wisdom.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[30:18] How to Practice Somatic Breathwork

  • There are multiple ways to practice breathwork other than somatic. Some types use over-breathing or relaxed breathing techniques.

  • When practicing somatic breathing, you first inhale and exhale through your mouth. This action stimulates your nervous system and helps you feel what needs to be released.

  • Next, hold your breath for a moment. During this time, you might feel an intense download.

  • Finally, go into the regulating phase. Inhale and exhale through your nose to regulate your nervous system.

[34:44] Releasing Emotions

  • The first half of your breathwork allows you to feel the suppressed emotions that have built up within your body.

  • If you don’t let yourself fully feel and integrate these emotions, your body will gravitate towards similar experiences.

  • I harbored feelings of deep sadness and unworthiness. Because of that, I tended to have relationships with people who treated me inadequately.

  • Your body stores traumatic experiences. No matter how much you intellectualize or try to think through it, it won't be processed until you fully feel it.

  • Somatic breathwork allows you to process and release that emotion that’s keeping your body in a survival state.

[40:03] Space for Both the Good and the Bad

  • As you practice somatic breathwork, you move from stimulation to relaxation of your body. A regulated system like this can help you feel soothed, safe, and at peace.

  • When I started practicing, I found I was more able to be neutral and look at my life experiences without getting stuck.

  • One of my facilitators was able to hold space for his parents. He talked about his parents' difficulties and how they loved him with grace and neutrality.

  • Somatic breathwork can help you achieve a capacity for things to be good and bad simultaneously.

[44:21] How Somatic Breathwork Helped Me

  • After I released so much, I could fully receive each experience of my life.

  • Breathwork also helped me stop avoiding my body. I could further process the emotions within me and feel safe.

Caitie: “When you take space to really just breathe, and let yourself feel and be with yourself fully, you're open to receiving life, you're open to receiving presence.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • I could see the world without the lens of trauma.

  • Therapy can help you understand and process your experiences. It can help you navigate relationships, make decisions and create meaning.

  • However, your body continues to remember and hold everything. Breathwork allows you to release what you've experienced.

[50:56] Learning to Hold Space with Deep Breathing

  • Somatic breathwork was my anchor throughout my travels.

  • It changed my view of life and the world and helped me improve at holding space for my clients.

  • Through breathwork, I learned to stop rushing and to slow down to create space.

  • It's vital to trust that every person has an innate intelligence. Their body is trying to protect and regulate them.

  • Don't assume you know what's best and push your agenda. Instead, assess the other person's experience and give more space for them to be able to feel and release.

[54:09] This Week’s Processing Prompt and Actionable Experiment

  • Processing Prompt: What do you want to receive?

    • This question helps you focus on receiving rather than releasing. As you go through the process, the release will naturally follow.

    • It encourages an empowering approach to healing by taking shame out of the equation.

  • Actionable Experiment: Take space for yourself. Have a moment to sit in it and tune into your body without judgment.

  • Don't be afraid to reach out to learn more and discover how somatic breathwork can help. You can also research on your own but remember to be careful!

Enjoyed the Podcast?

Whole, Full, and Alive is a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story, and with who you truly are — underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account.

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Caitie Corradino: Somatic breathwork gave me the ability to process emotions that were living in my body in a space that I knew was going to be safe. So I didn't have to be afraid of what emotions are living in my body anymore because I had this practice that I could use to safely process emotions. I didn't feel this tendency to kind of avoid my body anymore.

Welcome to Whole, Full and alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story and with who you truly are underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account. I'm Caitie Corradino, a registered dietician nutritionist , certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition, but underneath my titles and resume, a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things chocolate truffles, world traveling and serendipity.

I'm here to share no bullshit stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy. You have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive right here, right now. Let's get into it. Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full and Alive. I am back on the microphone solo for the first time in a couple of weeks, and today, I am finally ready to talk to you about somatic breathwork.

It is a topic that I've been alluding to for a couple of weeks. In multiple episodes. I mentioned it, and I've been wanting to do an episode about this for a while, but I wanted to sit on exactly how I wanted to share about this with you. There's a lot of layers to my experience with somatic breathwork and to the practice itself. Yeah, I definitely wanted to take or just give it the time it deserved to kind of think it over for a little bit.

Today, I am here on a Friday night in November being extra cozy tonight, snowing in Colorado, and I decided to finally sit down on the microphone and talk to you about this and just trust that the way it's gonna come out is the way it's supposed to come out, so yeah, definitely a shift in the vibe from the episode that you heard last week, or the two episodes that were released last week, actually.

Last week's episodes were about nutrition, and I was answering questions with my associate dietitian, Christina. When I was listening back on those episodes, I was thinking like, wow, I sound so frickin fiery. These episodes, I sound like a little bit on edge. I sound a little bit angry. The truth is, when I'm answering questions about nutrition, like very straightforward Q&A questions, sometimes I do get a little fiery.

Sometimes I get a little bit fiery, because there's so many nutrition myths out there, and there's so many people being misled, and so many people on restrictive diets and following nutrition pseudoscience. It just upsets me. When I was listening back on that recording at first, I was like, I shouldn't release this because I sound too angry. Like I'm not compassionate enough in these, and you might not think that at all.

You might not think that I don't sound compassionate enough at all. But I was listening back on it. Isn't it funny how we are so critical of ourselves sometimes, I mean, really just we don't cut ourselves a break ever as human beings. I was not able to cut myself a break in that moment, but I sat on that a little bit longer, and I was like, well, this show is called Whole, Full and Alive.

A big theme of this show is aliveness and what it means to be alive and what it means to live life fully, and who would I be to only show the people who listen to this podcast just one side of myself. Like if I don't feel like I'm being extra fluffy and sparkly and compassionate in a certain moment, okay, at least I'm being authentic. So I don't know if you even really noticed that I took that tone in those episodes, but that was something I was thinking about.

I was like, when I come on to talk about somatic breathwork, I'm definitely going to have a different and softer tone than when I talk about nutrition. Both these tones, both the sides of me are me, and that's just okay. I'm a human being that gets revved up and fired up in certain situations and feel softer and more gentle in other situations, and I'm certainly working on staying soft in as many situations as I possibly can. It’s a work in progress, I would say, but this is where I'm at.

Sometimes I do get a little fired up. I didn't say anything outlandish on the show. This is not an apology. Let's be clear. I'm not apologizing right now. I’m not releasing a statement, because I said something that was too intense or too fiery. I just noticed that my tone was a little more intense, and I'm like, woah, in my solo episodes, I definitely have a much softer tone, so I don't know.

Anyway, message from that is, don't be afraid to be yourself, all sides of yourself, to have a fiery side, to have a softer side and to not feel shame about that and not apologize for that. That's not what I'm doing right now. I'm just sharing. I'm just sharing a reflection. So anyway, somatic breathwork, gonna dive into that today. Before I do, I want to remind you that the online course that accompanies this podcast is now available.

It is an amazing resource full of quick but very value packed modules and journal prompts and actionable experiments and all kinds of things and resources that you can start implementing in your life today to cultivate routines and rituals that are aligned and intuitive and sustainable for you and let go of routines and rituals that are rigid or restrictive, or make you feel shame about yourself or your body in any way, shape, or form.

Some of the tools included in the online course are about nervous system regulation, which is what I'm going to talk about largely today. So if anything that I talk about on this podcast today is of interest to you, and you're feeling like you want to start to get your feet wet and doing some of the practices that I'm going to talk about today, the online course is definitely a really good fit for that.

It's an accessible option for people who might be wanting to do one-on-one work with me or with my associate Christina, and maybe that option is not accessible to you at this time, or you're not totally ready to jump into that yet, this online course is kind of a good starter for that. I'm really excited about it, and I hope that this resource serves you. So now, let's do it. Let's get into somatic breathwork. The title of this episode, I already decided.

I haven't even recorded it yet, but I already decided that the title of this episode is going to be How Deep Breathing Saved My Soul. Wooh, maybe that sounds a little bit cheesy, but it really did. Somatic breathwork saved my soul. I don't ever want to say that anything saved my life, because I've never been there. I've never been in a place where I have felt like I needed something to save my life. But I have lost my soul many times.

There have been multiple times throughout my life where I've kind of lost the intangible essence of who I am. That's how I define soul, the intangible essence of who you are, that cannot be replicated, that cannot be matched, that is unique to you. It's like this intangible essence. I've really lost touch with that multiple times in my life, and one of the most recent times that I felt like I was losing my soul was towards the end of my time in New York City and towards the end of my last long term relationship.

In Episode One, I talk a little bit more about why I felt like I was losing my soul by the time I ended my last relationship. In Episode Seven, I also talk about why I felt like New York City was making me kind of lose my soul or living in New York City, rather, was detaching me from the intangible essence of who I am. So I won't go down the rabbit hole of those two things, but suffice it to say that when I left New York City and when I ended my relationship at that time, I was in a very raw and vulnerable place.

I felt like I was losing my soul. I also knew that I really had been relying on my ex-boyfriend for a sense of nervous system regulation. Like I was relying on seeing him a lot to feel a sense of safety and a sense of regulation. Of course, in some sense, I was relying on New York City for a sense of safety and a sense of regulation because I had lived there for over 10 years. So it was my safe-ish, air quote, safe place.

So when I decided to leave both the relationship and the city, I knew that I needed to do something to find a sense of internal safety and a sense of internal regulation. I really, really needed to find something that was going to help me feel soothed because I knew walking away from this relationship, I was losing a source of soothing and walking away from the city that I’d always known, I was losing a sense of comfort.

So I was thinking about that. I was like, what can I do to source a sense of internal regulation now that I don't have this relationship anymore as a source of regulation? Now that I'm leaving the home, I've known for 10 years, and I'm going to travel around. How can I feel regulated? Believe it or not, believe it or not, I had a dream about one of the facilitators at a retreat I had gone on in San Diego about six months prior.

I talked a little bit about that San Diego retreat also on another episode, like whatever shouting out my other episodes here. But I had a dream about one of the facilitators there, and I remembered on the retreat that she had taught us some somatic breathwork practice that was really impactful for me. It was a super impactful practice. Like during this practice, I had reconciled with, sounds crazy but whatever, my inner child.

I felt like I had literally spoken to myself as a younger person and almost like to my parents as younger versions of themselves. I felt like I had found this sense of intangible and still kind of unspeakable healing in that session, and I was like, you know what, I really should see if Lindsey does one-on-one somatic breathwork sessions. That could be really cool. That could be something that maybe I should implement, kind of while I'm traveling.

So sure enough, I reached out to her, and we started doing one-on-one somatic breathwork sessions once a week. So starting when I moved out of my apartment in New York City in March and all the way through till the beginning of August, I did somatic breath work with her for 90 minutes once a week, every week. It was so cool, first of all, because Lindsay was with me everywhere that I traveled from March to August.

I traveled to Florida, Colorado, Montana, Texas, California, Boston, New Hampshire, Italy, and Portugal, and she was with me everywhere. I did somatic breathwork in all these different settings. Even though I was being exposed to so many new people, so many new things, so many new places, I have this constant in her. So that relationship in and of itself was really healing.

I always talk about the power of relationship with people, your therapist, your dietician, whoever it is. Beyond what they're teaching you, beyond the tangible skills that they're teaching you, the safety of the relationship that you have with them can be so meaningful and so impactful. I know for sure that beyond what I teach my clients about nutrition and about their metabolism, and about intuitive eating, I know for sure that just the relationship I have with them can be really impactful, and just having a healthy relationship with someone is in and of itself a really beautiful experience.

So I want to share that first because Lindsay really was such a healthy relationship for me. It was such a healing relationship for me. So in that sense, I got much more than what I expected to get from the somatic breathwork sessions, and in another sense, yeah, I got far beyond what I was expecting.

I went into this somatic breathwork practice, this three month venture of doing somatic breath work once a week thinking, okay, this is going to be a really good tool for me to have my nervous system regulated to feel calm, to feel soothed, to feel safe, to not feel like I need to cling to a boyfriend in order to feel safe, to not feel like I need to cling to a certain city, a certain apartment, a certain thing in order to feel safe.

It's going to help me source a sense of internal regulation, and it totally did do that. But it also, first of all, gave me this incredible healing relationship with Lindsey, my facilitator, and secondly, it helped me undo the most limiting belief that I held about myself for my entire life up to that point. For my entire life up to that point, I had been holding on to this very limiting and very heartbreaking belief that I am a bad person, and I have to prove that I'm good.

There's so many reasons why I had been holding on to that belief, just some stuff related to childhood trauma, some stuff related to my relationship with my caretaker and also, just being a recovering Catholic, essentially. I was raised in the Catholic Church, and the premise of Catholicism, unfortunately, is you are a sinner. You should feel guilty for your sins, and you need to repent for your sins.

That whole thing, and there's a lot about the Catholic faith that was good that I was able to somewhat hold on to, but for the most part, being raised in that culture was not a good experience for me personally. A lot of the experiences that I had in the Catholic church growing up really reinforced this belief that I'm bad. I am a sinner and I need to repent and I need to feel guilty.

So even though I had healed from so much, I healed from my eating disorder, I had let go of the yo-yo dieting cycle, restrictive eating and using exercise as a way to punish myself, I still kind of had this very limiting belief, very deep rooted that made me feel like I needed to over give to people constantly that made me feel like I was not worthy unless I was giving to someone.

That also made me kind of end up in relationships with not the best people for me, people that didn't treat me that well, because I had this very deep rooted subconscious, but also starting to come to the conscious as I had healed more. Believed that I wasn't good enough, and I would always have to do something to prove that I'm good. I'd always have to kind of be making up for this inherent badness.

Badness, I don't know if that's the best word. But anyway, it was just my deepest fear, and I really had started to become aware of that fear over the last year or so and realize all the ways that it was kind of holding me back in work and in life and in relationships. By the time I was finished with my 15 or so weeks of somatic breathwork with Lindsey, I felt like that fear had just been completely lifted. I was like, I don't feel like I'm a bad person anymore.

That's amazing. I came into this breathwork practice wanting to just regulate my nervous system and have some sort of tool to help myself feel soothed and to not feel like I needed to rely on a boyfriend or being in this particular city or a particular apartment in order to feel safe and soothed. Like, I wanted to just be able to feel soothed within myself, within my own body and have kind of just this self care tool to add to my self care toolbox.

But instead, I got not only that, but I also got just complete relief from this fear that I'm a bad person that I felt like I had been living with for my whole life. Suddenly by August of this year, I was like, honestly, I feel like I can admit to the things that I thought were the most unlovable about me. I feel like I could admit to mistakes that I've made in the past. I could admit to things that I feel shame about and know that I'm still good, that I'm still okay, that I'm still lovable.

These things are not actually unlovable about me. These things are actually things that I've learned from and grown from, and I'm just a human and just like everybody else, and I'm good. I felt so much relief and so much joy when I was sharing this with Lindsay in our last session. She was like, yeah, it makes sense that you were able to release that fear, that limiting belief through breathwork, like that makes so much sense. I was like, why?

Why did that happen through breathwork? So, I want to share a little bit with you about why that happened. I want to share more about the mechanism of somatic breathwork and also just the general power of taking time to just be with yourself. I think that's actually what I'm going to talk about first. So, we live in a world where we're constantly trying to fill every single space in our lives with stimulus constantly.

We're constantly looking at our phones when we're going to the bathroom, when we're waiting in line for coffee. We constantly feel like we need to be connected with someone, communicating with someone, looking at something, being entertained by something. It's very rare, in today's world, to actually take space, to just sit and be with yourself truly. When was the last time you allowed yourself to just sit on the couch and just stare at the wall?

No TV, no music, no nothing, just like sit on the couch and just be like, well, how am I doing right now, or what's going on inside my brain right now? So many people don't take the space to do that. So many of us don't give ourselves that space in our life. Even in conversations with other people, like when we're talking to another person, we feel sometimes uncomfortable with silence.

When there's a pause in the conversation, we tend to feel the need to fill it with words, to fill it with something else to say, instead of letting the silence be there for a moment. Sometimes that silence is where a lot of important processing and intangible sort of energy can be exchanged between people, right?

We don't give ourselves enough space in the world that we live in today, and that in of itself is why somatic breathwork and other practices that invite you to just be with yourself and take space away from stimulus, away from doing something, just give yourself space to be is so, so powerful. So I actually did the somatic breathwork certification training a few weeks ago.

Obviously, after my experience with Lindsey, I was feeling so inspired to learn how to teach somatic breathwork, because I was like, I really feel like I need to teach this to my clients. I think I'm gonna do a separate episode on how I think somatic breathwork can help with connecting to your body cues, your hunger cues, your fullness cues, and things like that. So if I try to talk about that today, oh, my God, this episode will be like 95,000 minutes long.

So anyway, I went to the certification a few weeks ago to learn how to facilitate this myself for my clients. On the first day that we were there, we’re all like, me and all the other people that are learning to facilitate somatic breathwork are sitting down in the opening circle, and the leader, the teacher, whatever, he's leading us through a somatic breathwork mini practice.

The first thought that popped into my head when we were all sitting there in this opening circle doing a mini somatic breathwork practice, I was like, this feels kind of culty, and I was like, this is uncomfortable. Did I join a cult? What happened? Am I in a cult? My mind just started spinning because frankly, I used to do so many different fitness instructor certifications back when I was a full time fitness instructor, and a lot of them were very culty.

They really were, and kind of had a little bit of trauma more or less from that. I was like, oh gosh, what if somatic breathwork is just another cult? Then eventually, it struck me that it's not a cult, and the only reason it felt culty for us to all be sitting there in that opening circle, just doing nothing but breathing is because it's so rare for human beings to, as I'm saying, take the space to just be.

It's so rare that we take the space to just tune into our bodies, to practice breathing, to just see what's going on inside of us. I recognize that, and also, I'm going to talk a little bit more about the mechanism of somatic breathwork in a moment. It's rare that we give ourselves the opportunity to just sit with and release whatever emotion is coming up and through us. It's not considered a normal thing to do in our society.

It's considered much more normal to suppress whatever emotions you're experiencing and just kind of push through your day. It's considered much more normal, again, to fill every space with stimulus, with words, with conversation, with something. So even if you're not going to listen to the rest of what I have to say about the mechanism of somatic breathwork, what it is and why I feel like it saved me, and how it saved me, or sorry, saved my soul.

Let me be clear about that, it didn't save my life. It saved my soul. Even if you're not going to listen to all of that hoopla, right, just the power of taking space is so important. That's something I hope that you'll take away if you're listening to this. It is so valuable to just take space, to just sit and be with yourself. If you're feeling at all inspired are all called right now to pause this podcast for a moment and close your eyes and let yourself sit in silence and in stillness for a moment, just be, just notice, just see like how am I today?

What's going through my head? How fast is my heart beating? Am I taking deep breaths? Just taking that time that space, 15 seconds of it can do so much for you. Having space gives you the ability to kind of digest your experiences. It gives you the space to actually integrate all the things that are happening to you into your life and learn something from them and heal from them and kind of crystallize them into wisdom.

That sounds a little cheesy. But having space allows you to really integrate all the experiences you're having in your life. On a couple episodes ago when I interviewed Amanda Vasquez, we were talking about this idea of holding space and how it's so important for your therapist, your counselor, whoever you're working with on anything to be able to hold space for you. That is what holding space is.

Holding space, like when you're holding space for someone, you're allowing them to digest their experiences. You're allowing them to integrate their experiences. So you can take space for yourself through a practice like somatic breathwork, and you can also have someone hold space for you in both these cases, whether you're taking space for yourself, or you're having someone hold space for you.

It's this opportunity to just digest, to slow down and digest everything that's happening to you in your life. It's so wildly important. Again, 15 seconds of it, set a timer on your phone for 15 seconds and just be like, I'm going to take space for 15 seconds to just breathe, to just notice my breath, to just be with myself. You'll notice that 15 seconds is a long time. You have time, give it to yourself.

So again, I want to dive a little bit more into the mechanism of somatic breathwork, what it is and how it works. But that said, even if you're not interested in doing this practice and not much of it resonates with you, that's okay, but just keep in mind, how powerful it is to take space, take space to tune in, to breathe, to pause, to just feel whatever is coming through. That's like the primary point I want to share.

The primary reason why I felt I was able to regulate my nervous system and let go of fears through the practice of somatic breathwork was because I had this space to just really be with myself, to not suppress and ignore and pacify myself by scrolling through social media and distracting myself with conversation. Yeah, I let go of distractions, and I let go of using distractions as coping tools and just kind of made myself sit in what was there.

When I sat in what was there really, really sat with it, I was able to release it. It's kind of like what I was saying, wow, I'm really doing a lot of episode callbacks today. It's kind of like what I was saying in my last solo episode. Can you sit with negative emotions long enough for them to release, long enough for them to fully move through you? Somatic breathwork is one way of doing that. It's one way of saying, well, I'm feeling lonely right now.

I'm going to sit with this so that it can move through me and out of me, and it's done, and it's over. The next day I don't feel lonely anymore all of a sudden, or I'm sad. I'm gonna let myself sit in this sadness and let the sadness sort of just move through me. But what if you don't know what you need to feel? What if you just feel this sort of intangible stress kind of building up in your body and you know you're exhausted.

You know you're not feeling as good as you can be, but you're not really sure what you need to feel. You're not really sure what you need to release. This is what somatic breathwork can do for you. So, there are multiple types of breathwork. Somatic breath work, the one that I was trained in, is not the only type of breathwork. Breath work goes back a long time. People have been doing this for a very, very long time, and there are multiple ways to do it.

There are multiple ways to practice breathwork. Some types of breathwork use over breathing to kind of spike the nervous system, and other types of breathwork use relaxing breathing to regulate the nervous system. Somatic breathwork, the kind of that I'm trained in, actually does both. So in the first phase of somatic breathwork, you practice inhaling and exhaling through the mouth only as a way of kind of spiking your oxygen levels.

While you're doing this, it allows you to kind of clear out the stressors and the pressures that have been stored up in your body. So whatever is stored in your body, you may or may not be familiar with this concept, but trauma, any sort of traumatic experience, anything that feels like too much, too fast, that's happened to you in your life that has overwhelmed you emotionally gets kind of stored in your body, and your body sort of continues to live as if that trauma might always be happening, as if that trauma is always happening until you process it and clear it out.

So in this first phase of somatic breathwork where you're practicing inhaling and exhaling through the mouth to spike your oxygen levels, it allows these stressors, these traumas that are stored and living in the body to kind of move through and out of you. That is what allows you to kind of express and discharge emotions that might be living inside of you, that are holding you in a little bit of a contracted state or that are keeping you in more of a defensive and survival state.

You don't really have to know what you're releasing in order for it to release. So you don't have to consciously go into the breathwork session and be like, okay, I want to release. Like I didn't go into the breathwork session saying, okay, I want to release this limiting belief I've been harboring that I'm a bad person, that I always need to try to make up for that and be good.

You go into the somatic breathwork session with no agenda, frankly, and you allow yourself to engage in this process. Sometimes you'll just start crying, or sometimes you'll just feel angry or feel like you have to scream or some type of emotion that's being stored in your body. Some type of experience that is stored in your body is gonna come up and out of you in that first part, then you have a little bit of a breath hold moment.

You hold your breath, and obviously, you can stop holding your breath at any time. This is not like obligatory. If you feel like you need to take a breath, you can. You try to hold your breath for a moment, though. Then you move into a re-regulating phase where you inhale and exhale through your nose, and that helps you reregulate. So you practice spiking your nervous system, and then you re-regulate, so that's the practice of somatic breathwork.

That's all it is. For the first half of the session, you're inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. You're spiking your system, a lot of emotions start to come up and out of you in this time, because whatever's happened to you in the past sort of freezes in your body until you release it. When you're doing this practice of just being with yourself, just breathing, spiking your system, it becomes accessible for you to express and discharge, whatever experiences might still be living in your body, in your nervous system.

Again, you don't have to know what you're releasing in order to release it. Your body has a lot of wisdom. When you're doing this practice, your body just sort of releases the stuff. Then you hold your breath. During that time, you might feel like a really intense download, or you might have some sort of insight come through. That always happens to me, whenever I'm in that breath hold.

Portion of the practice everything just kind of starts to click and make sense. I have some sort of beautiful insight come through. It's not necessarily profound, but it's always beautiful. It always feels really authentic and genuine. Then you move into the re-regulating phase. The reason why this practice is so powerful is because in that first half, you really are allowing yourself to feel suppressed emotions.

It just makes it accessible for you to feel suppressed emotions, to feel whatever unprocessed experiences might be just cemented in your body. They kind of just break through, and they move out. This is so important because remember, I said I harbored this limiting belief inside my body, this trauma inside my body that I was like a bad person, and I couldn't get rid of it no matter how much I talked to my therapist about it on a cognitive level.

I still just really felt that I was always going to have to spend my whole life just overgiving and being in relationships with people who didn't really treat me that well, because that's what I deserved, for some reason, on this subconscious level. I couldn't get rid of that belief. But when I practiced somatic breathwork, I fully felt the emotions and the fears that were living in my body, and the pattern kind of completed itself.

We will keep repeating patterns, until we fully feel the things that we're harboring in our bodies. I hate saying “like” at the beginning of the sentence, because I'm actually explaining a pretty profound concept. But like, we gravitate towards experiences that allow us to play out the emotions that we've been repressing until we release those emotions. So until we allow ourselves to fully release whatever traumatic experience might be living in our body, we tend to spend our lives gravitating towards experiences that will allow us to play out those emotions that are repressing because our body is very smart.

So our body wants to complete the emotional cycle. Our body wants to feel all the way. In your body's attempt to feel something all of the way, you will gravitate towards experiences that are going to allow you to feel that emotion that you've been repressing. So the emotion that I had been repressing, for example, was deep sadness and fear that I was not worthy.

Because I had never fully, fully felt that, fully cried about that, leaned into that, release that from my body, I had been gravitating towards bosses, who told me I was inadequate. I had been gravitating towards boyfriends, who weren't treating me like I was fully adequate. I've been gravitating towards some friends that didn't treat me like I was fully adequate, until I allowed myself to do a practice like somatic breathwork, where I just leaned in and moved that fear out of my body.

Our deepest fears, our deepest limiting beliefs are stored in our bodies. This is why we could do so much intellectualizing and so much talking and so much processing about a limiting belief that's holding us back and still feel like we can't let go of it, right? We can talk for it. I could communicate to you for probably about a decade now why I'm not a bad person. I could probably communicate to you for a while why my limiting belief that I'm bad or my fear that I'm bad was not logical.

But I still felt it in my body, and I still gravitated towards situations that validated that belief, and that's because I didn't just decide to have low self worth. I didn't just decide to have that limiting belief that I was a bad person. It was a functional thing. My body had experienced certain trauma in my life, certain trauma in my early childhood and in later childhood. It was stored in there.

I spent a lot of my life gravitating towards experiences that would validate that limiting belief, and that was my body's attempt to try to just keep feeling that emotion over and over again until it could be fully felt and released. We gravitate towards experiences that will allow us to play out the emotions we've been repressing. So until we can fully express and feel those emotions, we might find ourselves gravitating towards situations that kind of just repeat the same sort of trauma that we've had earlier in our life.

That is why a practice like somatic breathwork that allows you to tap into the ability to just feel whatever emotions are living in your body is so powerful. Another reason why somatic breathwork is so powerful is for the original reason I went towards the practice, which is because it helps you regulate your nervous system.

So by doing this practice of inhaling and exhaling through your mouth, spiking your nervous system, and then holding your breath, and re-regulating your nervous system, inhaling and exhaling through your nose and calming your body back down, you're literally practicing your ability to shift from stimulation to relaxation. You're practicing your ability to shift from feeling neutral to feeling content.

That's what a regulated nervous system is a nervous system that can shift easily from stimulation to relaxation and doesn't get like super caught up in either of those states, so doesn't get like stuck in stimulation or overwhelmed constantly, and also doesn't get caught in lethargy and is like unable to get up and get going. You're able to kind of shift easily back and forth between those two things.

A dysregulated nervous system, on the other hand, like I said, gets stuck in activation or in lethargy for a while. A regulated nervous system allows you to feel soothed and safe and recover quickly from experiences of stimulation. Having that sovereignty over your nervous system truly allows you to live your life in a much more peaceful way. I feel like I'm really talking at you right now. I'm saying like, you and you got to do this, do that.

So I'm going to speak from my own experience for a moment. When I regulated my nervous system through this practice of somatic breathwork, when I started to get better at regulating my nervous system, I noticed that I suddenly had this ability to honor my life experiences, and everyone in them with so much more neutrality. I was able to say, okay, yeah, my friend just did this thing, and it kind of made me a little bit upset for a moment, but I'm not going to let it derail me.

This is what it is. She's at where she's at. I'm not where I'm at, and that's that. I have this relationship with my mom, and this, this, and this thing happened during my childhood, and here's why I am the way I am. Okay, I can look at this and be neutral about it and release it, versus getting really caught up and activated in emotions about things. I could let myself kind of feel emotions about things for a moment and help them pass through my body and not look at things with quite so much judgment.

I remember that I really admired that about the person who was leading my somatic breathwork practitioner training. He was talking about his parents and how they struggled with drug addiction and how they really weren't present for most of his childhood. He was just sitting there talking about this, like so matter of factly, so neutrally, so calmly. Ten minutes later, he was talking about something that he really admired about his mom, something he really loved about his mom, and he didn't say like, oh, despite the fact that she had these problems, that diction.

He just said, I really loved how my mom used to blah, blah, blah. I thought, wow, he is holding space for so much. His capacity to hold space for his parents, to have kind of failed him in some ways and also to have loved him in so many other ways and to just neutrally acknowledge the entire range of the experience and talk about what he learned and how those different things affected him with such grace and such neutrality.

I was like, that's awesome. I noticed the more I practice somatic breathwork, I was kind of able to do that, too. I was able to release judgment and have the capacity for things to be both good and bad, at the same time, for two things to be true at the same exact time, for people to have failed me and for them to have loved me in other ways. That's one way that regulating your nervous system can be so valuable.

Another way I felt really profoundly impacted by nervous system regulation was that I was able to really fully receive every experience of life. When I was traveling this summer, I was all there. I was all in. I was so present, and I felt like it was because I was just fully ready to receive. I didn't have these guards up. I didn't have these defenses up. I was releasing so much grief. I was releasing so much pain.

I was releasing so much stored up calcified emotions that had been living in my body for years, and I just had this sort of fog lifted when I felt fully regulated and ready to receive whatever was flowing into my life. Another way I noticed somatic breathwork or the nervous system regulation piece of it really impacted me was that I wasn't avoiding my body in any sense anymore.

I have definitely been healed from body image issues for a while, but I noticed that every once in a while, I would kind of step into a place of body avoidance. I just be like, not gonna look in the mirror right now and not gonna acknowledge this right now. I don't really want to acknowledge the size of my clothes changing and things like that. Body avoidance had still been coming up for me, and I realized that one of the reasons why I avoided my body from time to time was because there was kind of unprocessed emotions that were living in the body.

If I were to acknowledge my body, if I were to be like, hey, how's my body feeling right now, how does my body look like right now, what am I noticing in my belly area right now, I would have to acknowledge emotions. It would maybe hit me that something that wasn't being fully felt was kind of living in my body, and I needed to acknowledge that. Somatic breathwork gave me the ability to process emotions that were living in my body in a space that I knew was going to be safe.

So I didn't have to be afraid of what emotions are living in my body anymore, because I had this practice that I could use to safely process emotions. I didn't feel this tendency to kind of like avoid my body anymore. The final thing that nervous system regulation really did for me was that it kind of cracked me open.

I talked on Episode Eight about how when I got hit in the head with a water bottle and thought that I was maybe having a brain bleed and my life was maybe going to end, that also cracked me open and made me really appreciate every day of my life, every moment of my life, every second that I was alive, every day that I opened my eyes. I know that I've also mentioned briefly that breakup grief kind of cracked me open too.

When I was going through the initial stages of both my long term breakups, I felt like because I was feeling so deeply during those moments of heartbreak that I was in this just very potent and kind of magnetic energy. What somatic breathwork made me realize is that I don't have to get hit in the head, or have my heart broken in order to feel fully alive. I can feel fully alive just by giving myself intentional space to feel my emotions and move the sticky stuff that stuck in my body through and out of me, and just feel more connected and more clear and more regulated.

When you take space to really just breathe and let yourself feel fully and be with yourself fully, you're open to receive life. You're open to receive presence. That is so important because even though somatic breathwork is about clearing out and really clearing out the trauma that's living in your body on a somatic level, and we do you all have trauma, by the way. Trauma is not an objective experience. It’s a subjective experience.

So we've all had something that has felt traumatic to us at some point in our lives. When we take the time to clear that out of us, to clear out wherever the trauma might still be living in our bodies, we have the ability to fully receive the present moment, to fully receive whatever it is that comes into our lives.

We're able to see the world around us more clearly, because we're not looking at the world around us through the lens of trauma, our trauma, whatever that may be, which tends to make us look at the world through a certain protective lens, right, like what guards do you keep up because of what's happened to you in the past. They might be really super subconscious.

You might not even know that they exist, but you might be keeping up some guards because of something that's happened to you in the past. If you could take the time to release that experience from your body, the guards come down and you're just fully open to experience life you're like magnetic. You’re present. Everything is so much more palpable and enjoyable and beautiful.

While talk therapy is so, so, so important, it's so important to process the things that have happened to you, to understand why you are the way you are on an intellectual level, to create meaning from your life and to talk out certain life decisions and how to have certain conversations with people in your life and figure out your relationships, right? This is the value of talk therapy.

There are certain things that we sometimes cannot talk out. There are certain things that just need to be filled out. There are certain things that we just need to release from our bodies that we need to just, without even intellectualizing, just give our bodies the opportunity to release. Your nervous system remembers everything that you've been through. Your body remembers everything that you've been through.

You might not even remember in your brain everything that you've been through, but your body knows what it needs to release. It will release it when you do a practice, like somatic breathwork. That's how somatic breathwork helped save my soul this summer. It was really such an anchor for me more than the summer and spring and summer. It really was an anchor for me throughout the entire time I was traveling this year.

I'm so incredibly grateful for the way it's changed my life and for the way it's changed my view of the world and my view of myself and my ability to hold space for clients. I guess I do have to just say one more thing about it, which is that it helped me stop rushing to fix everything. It helped me really slow down and create that space that I was talking about, take that space that I was talking about, so that I can actually assess what's going on in front of me, and that really, really helps not only with my clients, but with all relationships in my life.

When someone seems to be upset or activated or something needs to be addressed, I no longer feel this need to kind of rush around and put out the fire as fast as possible, or rush around and try to get to the bottom of it as fast as possible. I feel this ability to be like, okay, I don't need to fix right now. I don't need to rush and fix. I can slow down, assess. Also trust that if I'm dealing with another person, they have an innate intelligence.

Their body knows what it's doing to protect itself, and I'm never going to assume that I know exactly what experience someone is having. They have an innate intelligence. Instead of forcing my agenda on them and being like, you have to do this, and you have to do this and you have to do this, I can kind of sit back and assess, okay, what might their experience be right now and just take my time knowing that everyone has past experiences that are informing the way they're behaving right now.

There's this lovely Eckhart Tolle quote. He's like the most quintessential spiritual teacher that everybody quotes, but he says, if his past were your past, if his experience your experiences, his life, your life, would you not do the same thing that he's doing right now. The quote goes something like that. I think somatic breathwork has given me the ability to sort of embody that quote and understand that everyone's body has an innate intelligence, and our bodies are often just trying to protect us and regulate us.

Sometimes based on our past experiences on whatever set of trauma we may have been dealt in our past or our nervous systems might do funny things to feel regulated, and everyone's in a different place. Instead of forcing my agenda on you need to do this, I need to just give people more space to be able to feel, more space to be able to, yeah, really feel and release and move through whatever it is that they're going through in their unique life.

So with that, I honestly could talk forever, and I think that I'm sure I will talk a little bit more about this practice in another episode. I want to leave you with a processing prompt and an actionable experiment for today. The processing prompt for today is what I learned to ask all of my clients at the beginning of a somatic breathwork session. So the question that I asked all of my clients at the beginning of a breathwork session, whether we're doing it for 60 minutes or for 10 minutes, I asked them, what do you want to receive?

This is a powerful question because it's kind of the opposite of what I always found myself doing in therapy, for example. I always found myself focusing on what I wanted to let go of in therapy, what I wanted to release, what I wanted to fix. I entered therapy when I was 16, and the goal was letting go of my eating disorder at that point. I wanted to release my body shame. I wanted to release the harmful behaviors I was engaging in.

It's so powerful to instead enter situations focusing on what you want to receive. Because yes, a practice like somatic breathwork or practice or a setting like therapy will help you release things, that will help you release blocks. Also, the more important thing is why you're releasing those blocks. What is it that you want to invite in to receive after you release those blocks?

When I started focusing on what I wanted to receive instead of what I wanted to release, it was so empowering because it was no longer taking this kind of pathologizing approach to my healing. It was taking a more inspiring and motivating approach to my healing, a more empowering approach, that's the word, to my healing. So I ask you to contemplate today just in your journal, out loud, all that stuff, you know what a processing prompt is by now, what do you want to receive?

You can enter a practice like somatic breathwork, or a setting like therapy or whatever healing self care tools you want to enter into with that mindset of what do I want to receive instead of what am I letting go of. If you focus on what you want to receive, you will inevitably let go of what you need to let go of because especially if you're doing a somatic practice, a body focused practice like breathwork, your body will know what it needs to let go of in order for you to receive what you want to call in.

I hope that lands of you. One more thing to keep in mind there is that if you do focus on what you want to receive versus what you want to let go of, it takes shame completely out of the equation. Remember that shame is not a sustainable motivator, and if shame is your fuel, you will burn out. I think I've said that on an episode before, so many episode callbacks today.

So I think that it's most important to just think about how focusing on what you want to receive versus on what you want to let go of takes shame out of the equation. Now, you're focused on a more empowered approach, where you're not shaming yourself, because you're holding on to something. You're empowering yourself by saying, here's what I'm ready to receive, here's what I'm willing to call into my life.

So that's your processing prompt, for today, inspired by my time in the somatic breathwork practitioner training, and your actionable experiment today is coming back to what I was talking about at the beginning, which is this idea of taking space. Can you give yourself a moment, even if it's under a minute, to sit in space and notice what comes up for you when you sit in that space?

One of, honestly, my favorite songs, it's actually by Noah Cyrus. I'm a big fan of the Cyrus girls. I'm coming out. I love love Miley, and I love Noah, not so sure about Billy Ray. I think adding him to Old Town Road was a genius move. I don't know who was at that roundtable when they decided to do that, but besides that jury's kind of out on him. But I love Noah and I love Miley, and one of my favorite songs by Noah Cyrus, the lyrics are, when you don't know where you're going, just stand still, and soon enough, you will.

I love that. When you don't know where you're going just stand still. When you don't know where you're going, take space. I know that if you're experiencing something or healing from something very scary or very traumatic right now, standing still can be really difficult, and that's why it's so important that if you're having a hard time, staying in space, sitting in space, creating spaciousness in your life yourself that you find someone to hold space for you so that you can digest.

So I invite you to experiment. What does it feel like when I take space in my life? If I just stand still, even for under a minute, what do I feel in my body? What's coming up in my body? What needs to be processed? If that feels like a scary experience for you, I'm here for you. I have referrals. I have resources. Don't hesitate to reach out to me and also know that it's just so important to find someone to hold that space for you, so that you can have that time to digest.

So find a way to just sit on your couch, stare at the wall for a moment, sit on your couch with your dog and a blanket if you need some comfort in that and tune into your body. Notice what's coming up, notice what's trying to come through you. Just noticing without judging, trusting that what is meant to be released can be released. I hope that some nuggets in this episode resonated with you.

If you're curious about breathwork, don't hesitate to ask me questions. You can do research on your own. Of course, there are so many amazing breathwork resources out there. I'm by no means the expert on this. I am a certified practitioner, and also there are so many people who have so much more knowledge and experience than myself, and I'm gonna bring some of them on this podcast soon.

Yeah, if you're curious about it, though, don't hesitate to reach out to me for resources. I definitely want to give you the caveat that there are a lot of individuals who are in the breathwork community that might also be attached to some triggering things related to food and diet culture, that wellness world where these people are sharing such amazing ideas, and then they're also like, oh, by the way, do the whole 30.

That happens all the time, and it's really frustrating thing. I am committed to creating a resource that gives you access to breathwork, while not giving you any access to any sort of triggering content related to food and dieting. I feel like there's kind of a lot of intermix in there, unfortunately. So be careful when you're doing your own research that you might find some stuff like that, but this is just the beginning.

We’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg here. This episode was very much stream of consciousness, because I really just wanted to get this out there and start sharing more about my work with breathwork. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please don't hesitate to let me know what you enjoyed. Don't hesitate to reach out to me. I love the community that's being built around this podcast.

I will be back here again next week probably with the guests. Until then, I hope that the rest of your day is exactly what you need it to be. I hope you can find a little pocket of peace and a little pocket of space to just notice. Tune in. Take care. Release distractions for just a moment.


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