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FEATURE - April 2019
An Introduction to Shamanic Breathwork™
By Rev. Dr. Stephanie Red Feather
Breath is one of the powerful tools we possess. There are endless ways to use breath to achieve altered states of consciousness, move energy, release and clear tension, meditate, or shift your state of being. And, it costs us nothing! For anyone on a journey of awakening consciousness, breath is the key that can unlock the door to greater awareness and mastery over the multiple dimensions in which we live and play.
Shamanic Breathwork™ (SBW) is a dynamic technique that uses breath, chakra-attuned music, art and energetic bodywork to enter a naturally induced altered state of consciousness and invoke a personal journey. From this space of non-ordinary reality, your higher self (or inner shaman) will help you access your own innate wisdom and lead you through whatever experiences you need for your highest growth and healing.
Shamanic Breathwork Basics
Shamanic Breathwork can be conducted in several formats: one-on-one with a private facilitator and the “breather”; in a group, where everyone breathes at the same time and one or more facilitators walk the floor; or with co-journeyers, where two people pair up and one breathes while the other supports and a facilitator walks the floor.
SBW is most often conducted on a pallet on the floor, and you, the breather, are watched over by either a co-journeyer or a group facilitator. This gives your psyche permission to drop below the level of ego and everyday awareness, made possible by knowing your physical needs and safety are safeguarded. The co-journeyer’s job is to hold space, keep you safe, and be the sacred witness.
You are in charge of whether you want to be touched. The co-journeyer or facilitator will hold energetic space. If you permit touch, they can assist your process by doing energy work, supporting your body in certain positions, facilitating a symbolic birthing, or any number of safe and nurturing forms of physical support.
The Shamanic Breathwork Session
The breathwork session begins when the music starts (usually lasting between 60-75 minutes). This carefully selected group of songs is designed to take you on a journey through the chakras, beginning with the root chakra. The music begins with primal beats, including drumming, indigenous instruments and sounds. This helps drive the experience and “stir up” the person’s energy field. The music is purposefully loud, which allows the vibration to penetrate the body and loosen and activate trapped energies. The volume acts like a safe container, inviting the breather to surrender more deeply and to encouraging vocalization without feeling conspicuous.
As the music progresses, it changes in intensity, delivering an array of instruments, sounds and energetic focus to shift what is elicited in the breather’s journey. The music is like a river, flowing continually from one chakra to the next, supporting the breather in their journey, and eventually ending with the seventh, or crown, chakra.
Breathers are encouraged to ask for support as needed and to give themselves full permission to make noises, express emotions and move their bodies as they feel led. During SBW, a person might wiggle, dance, hit pillows, move like an animal, or any number of physical expressions as their body permits. Vocalizations–crying, screaming, growling, cussing, hissing, or laughing–depend on what a person is acting out from their journey. Some people stay perfectly still the entire time. The body has its own intelligence and knows what it needs to do to purge itself of stuck or unhealthy energy if given the chance, which is why Shamanic Breathwork is such a powerful tool for clearing, healing and transformation.
After the music and your journey have completed, the first step in integration is the creation of an art piece to capture your experience on paper. Keep this “mandala” where you can see and interact with it regularly in the months following your breathwork, because the visual representation continues to transmit information and energy from the breathwork session.
Finally, you and your facilitator or group will process the experience by talking about your journey and sharing your mandala. All these activities are designed to facilitate the integration process. There is no limit to what can occur during SBW, but common experiences include physical movement, emotional releases, vocalization, reviewing past lives (or earlier sequences of the current life), encounters with angels, guides or deceased loved ones, receiving messages, or anything one might experience in dreamtime.
How Do I Know if Shamanic Breathwork Can Help Me?
First and foremost, SBW honors your sovereign experience and knowing. The technique creates a physical and energetic space where you can connect with your own inner wisdom, clarity and guidance. Facilitators are not there to tell you what you should do, though they can help provide perspective and support. They are there to create the best possible environment for you to know yourself as your own master, guide or spiritual authority.
Shamanic Breathwork can help with any number of circumstances, such as:
Being blocked by anxiety, stress, fear, anger, addictions, limiting beliefs and old patterns from this life or past lives
Seeking to live in greater alignment with your life’s purpose
Needing clarity or an energetic push to make positive change
Desiring transformation in a specific area of your life
Clearing trapped, stagnant or stuck energy from your field
Finding yourself at a crossroad and seeking soul guidance and direction
Reclaiming life force energy, passion or motivation
Who Created Shamanic Breathwork?
Linda Star Wolf is the founder and director of Venus Rising Association for Transformation and the founder and President of Venus Rising University. After studying for many years with the likes of Jacqueline Small, Stan Grof, and Seneca Wolf Clan elder Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, Star Wolf synthesized her personal exploration and direct healing experiences with breathwork, shamanic wisdom, depth psychology and addictions recovery methods into a unique blend: Shamanic Breathwork. Shamanic Breathwork facilitators are either trained by Star Wolf, or by her certified teachers.
Rev. Dr. Stephanie Red Feather is a certified Shamanic Breathwork facilitator and offers private and group facilitation. Through a variety of workshops, trainings and products, Stephanie support deep transformation and spiritual growth. Her specialties include shamanism, divine feminine mysteries, thriving as an empath and embodiment. Her first book, The Evolutionary Empath, is due out this November. Visit her website: www.bluestartemple.org.