Stressful times and the healthy breath

No doubt, we live in stressful times! Contributing factors are external pressures like high work demands, economic challenges, and hectic times in general as well as wrong lifestyle choices like not enough sleep, exercise or food abuse. Equally impactful are environmental pollution, electro smog and city life as well as internal pressures like anxieties and undigested emotional experiences.

Science tells us that over the last 50 years we have shifted our life mode. Previously we used to live mainly engaged in our parasympathetic nervous system. But times have changed and we are now locked in our sympathetic nervous system for most of the time and having to suffer all its consequences.

A word about the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system (SNS/PSNS)

Although the SNS sounds friendly and the PSNS sounds militant, it is actually the opposite. The SNS takes care of the fight/ flight responses required in certain life situations, whereas the PSNS helps to de-stress and calm down after the event, bringing us back into internal balance. This action/reaction cycle is an automatic body response and requires no conscious input - which is of benefit in emergency situations (and works well for animals) but proves disastrous for humans in everyday life in our highly charged environment.

The dance between SNS and PSNS happens all day long and mostly goes unnoticed. It is easy to observe when there are “big� events, threats, situations as the internal upheaval as well as the re-balancing action is very strong while the wave of emotions and chemicals are pulsating through the body. But it becomes much more difficult to observe when the impact is subtle.

The SNS is already triggered by small environmental stimuli e.g. telephone ringing, stressful thoughts - even of minor calibre (relationship, boss, shopping), news headlines (war, bombs, murder, finances), being questioned (How are you? Why….) and even by electromagnetic fields (EMF) which strongly impact on the body but are received only subconsciously. EMF’s are emitted constantly by mobile phones (switched on or off), TV, video, CD-players, electricity lines/cables/sockets, microwave oven/towers, electric shavers even battery driven watches; the list is endless and its all around us.

Which means that our nervous system is continuously bombarded by stress-inducing triggers, but hardly ever gets the chance to de-stress (as intended by biology), due to our “busy� lifestyle. Additionally if you are constantly charged up, flooded by adrenaline and other chemicals, your life perception is seriously altered. Your body constantly reports to your brain about emergency states experienced internally. The continuous message received is that your survival is threatened in some form or other. So all the time you are experiencing subconscious imprints that life is dangerous and unsafe, that “everything out there� is trying to get you, and that you have to be ready to strike at any moment- which makes it really hard to enjoy life or celebrate its surprises. You can see on the various diagrams how living in stress mode impacts on your body, all the organs and especially your heart.

How we cope

One way how we cope with stressful impacts (mental, emotional) is a subconscious reaction we all use. When things get tough, we instinctively hold our breath. This allows us to sail through the intensity of the experience relatively unscathed, as we don’t really feel the full impact of the event, but equally prevents us from releasing the accumulated feeling or adrenaline. So we end up habitually suppressing painful, upsetting or frightful experiences and their emotional content, as they seem too painful to be processed in that moment.

Unfortunately anything emotionally unfelt or energetically uncompleted remains in our bio energy-system awaiting final release and dissolving. But our “action� packed life style doesn’t allow us for space or time to consciously de-stress. This leads to layers and layers of stress energy being built up in our system, resulting in various psychosomatic symptoms. This causes us a general feeling of being unwell which over a period of time solidifies into organ damage and eventually cancer.

Your breath is the key and holds the answer.

By the time you will be 80, you are likely to have taken around 630 million breaths, based on people normally breathing around 15 times per minute. But how often are we actually conscious of our breath?

Your breath acts as a mirror of you and your environment. It is impacted by everything you do, think or act on. Every thought carries an emotion and a physical sensation and every thought or emotion can be detected in your breath. When you get agitated, mentally or physically, when you feel fear, anger or sadness, your breath will change. It will become faster and shallower first, but finally slow down again and deepen when you relax.

Whatever happens to us during our life, the brain is recording and storing every detail in our memory (including colour, sounds and smells). Especially traumatic fear experiences (starting with birth already) or long term stresses are leading to limited breath volume and eventually establish themselves as lifelong breath holding patterns with diminished energy, power and wellbeing.

Although we actually cannot forget anything, we don’t have conscious access to all these memories. Fortunate on one hand, as it would be difficult to live our daily life through this chaos of minutely detailed memories, we also carry a vast storehouse of subconsciously held trapped emotional energy to which we have no conscious access.

Bridge to the unconscious

Breathing is the only body function that is voluntary as well as involuntary, thus building a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious.

Using a technique called “Conscious Connected Breathing� or “Circular Breathing� it becomes possible to access these subconsciously stored memories, unexpressed emotions or any other material that is held in the body’s psychophysical system. Relaxing and deepening the breath in this way dissolves the tension in the body and helps to reveal and release the emotional holding patterns and trauma held in body/mind. Re-experienced, expressed and integrated these experiences and memories cease to have an emotional grip on your life expression, allowing you to live more conscious and empowered.

How to get out of survival into total enjoyment of life

As in so many cases awareness of a situation is the first step towards remedying it. You have to become able to recognise when you are triggered into sympathetic response mode. Then you need tools to counteract the tendency till eventually reversing the effect to ensure your somatic wellbeing and ongoing life quality so you can create a life, which is giving you continuous wellbeing, although the world seems to fall apart on a daily basis.

Your body/mind has a natural desire to heal itself. Creating the right circumstances (safety, relaxation, increased transformative energy through deep connected breathing, love etc.) allows and supports this innate desire to flourish and accelerate. And there is no better way to do this than with conscious Breathwork.

What’s on offer

Each type of Breathwork has its own intention and benefit. We discern between breathing for health and optimum performance (Pranayama , Chi-Gong, LovesBody), breathing to centre yourself or to aid meditation (Breath of Light, Vipassana) as well as consciousness expansion (TranceBreath, Holotropic Breathwork) or for de-stressing and to facilitate emotional release and personal transformation (Integrative Breath Therapy). Depending on the desired outcome or intention you can choose between specific breathing techniques with different emphasis.

What all these techniques have in common is that through the deep rhythmic, connected breathing you enter a non-ordinary state of mind (pre-requisite to all healing), a meditative relaxed state of mind while at the same time your hole vegetative system enters a deep relaxation and openness. Your body thus creates an inner healing environment that is supported and enhanced by the facilitator of your session from the outside. Affirmations and visualisations become more potent and effective, energy and stress release happens easily and more or less by itself. Regular practising of these techniques over a period of time results in great improvements in breath volume and capacity as well as in general health and well-being.

What is "Integrative Breath Therapy"?

Integrative Breath Therapy is a unique holistic body oriented therapy using the healing power of the breath - one of the most effective tools for personal transformation available. Conscious Connected Breathing facilitates deep cellular release and integration of previously suppressed energies held in the body and mind to reveal the unique, powerful and creative individual that is inside all of us. As result you access more personal freedom, develop genuine relationships and gain more vitality.

For more information on Breathwork or any of these techniques or to find a 1x1 practitioner please contact the BRS or Heinz Gerd Lange directly on or

Heinz Gerd Lange: On his life long personal quest for enlightenment and personal mastery through the major world religions, Heinz Gerd came to personal development and Breathwork over 20 years ago. Since then he is committed to create space for peoples core essence to unfold.

Heinz Gerd is an international lecturer and trainer for Breathwork, metaphysics and personal transformation specialised in mind re-patterning, bio-energetic integrity and life shifts. He was the director of the former Institute for Breath Therapy and Transformational Healing (InBreath) in the UK, which used to train professional breathworkers in a 3-year part-time diploma training, and now runs the “Life Mastery Program� together with his wife Lera.

by Heinz Gerd Lange

See Heinz’s BRS profile


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