All Posts by Nattalia Walkker

What is Breath Work: a personal perspective

Nowadays when we hear the word breath work most of us think about pranayama yoga class, respiratory therapy, or we think how can I need therapy for my breath, I just breath, it happens? Indeed, these practices work with the breath and are respected and true techniques in working with the breath in the way that they do, and I get the third sentiment, we do indeed just breath, but read on.

 The kind of Breath Work I am talking about is not a lifesaving therapy to keep you breathing and alive, nor is it intended to necessarily induce another state of consciousness, although that may happen. Numa Breath work intends to connect you to your ever-present life experience without modification, control, or alteration, as it is, in its fullness. It shares with yogic practices an intention to connect to the present now, with the difference that it is not about changing the breath to become present. Rather it is an invitation to move into our natural unaltered breath-- the breath we were born to breath, our birthright outside of trauma and pain, overwhelm and the thousand and one experiences in being human. It is an invitation into our circular, unpausing, continuously moving breath; like an ocean wave, moving one into the next without separation. Without separation. 

 At birth, one of the first things we do is breathe.

And we continue to breathe until we sigh our very last breath. How often do we think about breathing though? It is something that is mostly forgotten unless we are trying to cultivate more presence and connection in our life. Then, intuitively we seem to remember our breath- our presence. This magic that connects our outsides with our insides- it connects us, in a way it records us—it is present to every thought, every feeling, every ecstasy. Think of the many ways we breath-- sigh in boredom, gasp in shock, moan in pleasure- sound riding on breath. And if you consciously hold your breath, how long till you need to breath, and what are the thoughts behind that attempt? Our breath is our connection point to something much bigger then we consciously think about and it is the bridge point between our worlds of being- between our present now, our past, and our future- between our joy and our pain- our breath.

 Through our life, from birth to death, we mostly unconsciously work with our breath. It becomes a tool to manage and shape our experience, or its an automatic function, sometimes we have needed this for our very survival. Want to feel more in control, control your breathing rhythm, slow it down, hold it, manipulate it to gain mastery. Want to hold in your grief? Swallow your breath, manage the exhale. With each and every experience, over time, we create unconscious breathing habits and patterns – often first set down during an experience that we would call intense, scary, traumatic, or extremely overwhelming for our level of being to handle at the time. We manage the experience by altering our breathing- think of the breath hold in a fear state-- it makes the experience easier to handle, it helps us survive. 

 Then as we age, other experience’s that resonate with that first experience trigger this old breathing pattern, the one that helped us first survive the intense experience and we again bring forth that breath. This deepens that held breath pattern, it becomes a somatic cellular memory, and more and more we unconsciously enter it sooner and sooner when we feel we are in similar situations. It builds over time, until it’s so deeply a part of us that we just think this is the way of life. That’s the wisdom and knowing of the whole-body system, it remembers what protected us, it seeks to still keep us safe. But in its work, it has separated us from the wholeness of the present by breaking it up, managing its flow—"I can only experience this much of this”- as I hold my breath—or “I can’t experience that” – as I swallow my breath—The breath becomes our experience manager, unconsciously repeating patterns learned in more vulnerable states. 

 However, what if that pattern no longer supports us? What if, like myself, an early trauma was to be born intoxicated? At the very moment of the most spectacular entrance into this fantastic earth world, I experienced a numbing and sedating, my first breath into a new being outside the womb was caught in my throat as my lungs were learning to breath while intoxicated. And my first vibratory experience then of hands and of my mother’s eyes were through a haze, and my nervous system was being told that at the moment of ecstasy, change, newness, bonding, connection, the familiar feeling, the way to manage these types of experience is to numb and detach, my breath recording a stumbling block to full breathing, as I learned at birth.

 Birth, being one of the most intense multi-dimensional experiences of a human being, forms a deep template as to what we feel is normal and safe.

So as I grew and aged and developed, what I began to notice was that each time an experience has the emotional, spiritual flavor of newness, ecstasy and change from one state of being to another, I freeze, I numb myself in strange ways. I feel afraid to move into this new state, I look for the familiar, the safe, and resist what feels new, by finding a way to numb, and sedate. Even though that new is a new job, or a new relationship, my patterns are so deep, and seem to be the way to do things when I encounter these types of feelings as that is all I have known to do based on my first template of reacting this way. My breath repeats my first breath cycle, time and time again, as it re-experiences it’s experience of trauma, in each experience that resembles the first.

A great split and separation arises between the inevitable flow of the way my life wants to go—the-reach-out-share-more-be-this-new-Self desire—and the cellular ingrained hormonal breathed template within me—the-when-estatic-newness-happens-it’s-scary-so-numb-it-sedate-it-slow-and-freeze-your-breath past way of being. 

 Numa Breath Work was an invitation to enter my deep unknown and unknowable- the parts that motivated, shaped and moved me yet the ones I wasn’t aware were affecting my life; except through repeating patterns and lived tensions. These parts lived on the edges of my consciousness and intersected with my known and knowable now—the life I seemed to be living, the one that felt safe but no longer fulfilling. It took me years to uncover this deeper early trauma and how this affected my life. I went through layers of unfolding to find it, and I have learned much about my Self along the way – and I can only guess what’s beyond this one. It is truly a dance I find so very interesting, integrating, freeing, and home-making, although also trembly and hard sometimes. 

 Numa Breath Work opens us to this dance --a dance with the edges of your world and the edges of the other worlds you inhabit- your unconscious, conscious, subconscious, and multidimensionally realms. Numa Breath Work is the way to move into and be with these unknown and deeper patterns of trauma/dramas in our bodies, cells, and minds. It is a way to move into what is so as to unlock what is beneath it, behind it, and open it into a newness. Because it is a type of breath work that invites what is as it is in its fullness. The very technique is intended to anchor you into the present in a way that what is just on the edges of your consciousness have the opportunity to come into your present experience. In this breath work, you are not trying to create a certain state of consciousness, rather you are inviting the fullness of what is in the vastness of your consciousness at this moment in time to come forth now for you to allow and integrate, be with, know, connect with in the moment. 

 This Breath Therapy supports the breather to be and work with what is there now in its fullness- even if we can’t understand it, even if it leads up to those places we don't want to know cause they hurt are scared, feel rejected, or we feel too timid- even through there is fear, hesitation, excitement, seeking of freedom, restriction- all of these one thousand states of being human- and how they arise in your unique web of life, all of your states that are shaping your lived life are invited in to unfold, unlock, expand, transform.

 We do this work to re-connect, re-attune, to find trust, seek Self, and love this life.

 Our original template as human being is to be born into a state of ecstatic joy and pleasure- otherwise why would the act that creates us be pleasurable? Our original intent is to live life full of this pleasurable  ecstatic bliss- but due to generational, societal, individual, built over time traumas that we have all experienced, then stress encountered in the womb, and birth interventions and practices that contribute to fear and pain, and early postpartum periods where our mothers experience isolation, overwhelm, and sadness, and perhaps troubled childhoods, etc. - these all work in us to minimize our capacity to be vibrantly, fully, and fearlessly alive and vital and to live daily from this majestic template. Our breath teaches us where we hold these traumas, and it is also the key to unlocking them.

 I am a testament to its power. This breath therapy has transformed my way of relating, being in the world with others and myself. It works, and it works in such gentle and kind ways. It never pushed me beyond what I had been able to deal with at any one time, it’s always just opened up an invitation to connect and to unwrite separation and turn it into connection. Connection between the unknowable and known parts, to bring them together in their own sacred union. It’s called me forth, it opened me up, and all I have had to do is accept the invitation time and time again.  

 So, I want to leave this writing with an invitation to you too: 

 If anything in this writing stirred some knowing in you, then this work is for you and you are ready for it. If you experienced a traumatic birth, your own, your babies, and/or your clients, then this breath work is for you. If you feel at all curious and or called to explore this type of breathing, then this work if for you. I invite all of you to reach out- especially any past clients who are still processing their past births, their own postpartum traumas, and/or current unresolvable or unknown intense life experiences, then this work is for you.

I want to share this powerful medicine with you, and as such I am offering a discount on current breath services, Originally 110+gst for 85/ session – or a package of 3 – originally 260+gst for 200. If this speaks to you, book your complementary consultation toady by  clicking anyone of the contact me buttons on this site.

 If you feel like this would benefit someone in your life- please share- the offer stands until the full moon on May 18 2019. 

 If you are reading this at a later date- connect with me and let’s see what we can do for you, together!

 Here is to doing the hard work necessary to bring more vitality, deeper resolution, kinder ways of being in the world and into our lived reality!  

Pain in Childbirth

Pain. Pain in childbirth. This is one of the major reasons that women will fear their own births. Fear of the pain. 

The interesting thing is that we live in a time that wants and supports women in being afraid of birth. Because I tell you from experience if you ask any women who has gone through her birth without medication, who has faced the pain of it, she will tell you that the experience has made her a stronger women with a stronger voice in the world. 

And the reason the world fears this, is because, when you have one of largest groups of people, Mothers, who are the shapers of the future through how they decide to raise and educate their children, start to stand for what they believe in, than you have a world changer!! 

Because empowered women, make empowered choices. 

She makes strong decisions for her children because she is not afraid of the pain of making these choices. She makes waves in her cultural status quo in regards to how she is choosing to mother because she has seen that if she can handle the pain of birthing her child, than she can handle the pain of raising them with principles that she believes will create a better world. 

We do indeed live in a time that supports women's fear of their own bodies, their own births, their own choices. How many of you have been scared to go past your Expected Date of Arrival ? How many of you were told that if your water broke than you only have a certain amount of time to have your baby? How many of you encountered only the possible risk scenarios in birth and not the possible bliss scenarios? And how many of you were given alternative information to any of those reasons you were told you needed an intervention of some kind? 

****When we divorce the emotional and spiritual aspects from birth, when we only focus on fear, risk, and that which we can only see with the naked eye, and when we turn over our power of choice, trust, and responsibility to an outside source-- any outside source-- then we disempower our own inner knowing and we cut ourselves off from the opportunity to empower ourselves and be responsible and true to our own truth.****

Thus, we raise our children with these same fears and understandings. And as birth workers, we fail to offer women the best birthing experience, and they are lead to make choices based on fear, and have experience that are less then they knew themselves capable of. 

I am not a pro 'natural' birth advocate because I think women are tough and they can tough their way through it. No, I am a natural birth advocate because I trust and believe in the bodies wisdom, in natures wisdom. How could nature, your body produce something it couldn't birth, or it didn't have the capacities to learn and work with? Or given that it gestated a baby for 9 months that some how it doesn't than know when the best time to bring the baby forth is? When you look to nature, nature cares for all its beings, it has reasons for all things, even death, even pain, and even if humans can't understand the reasons. Ask any herbalist, and they will more than joyfully tell you about the beautiful synergy and magic of how plants work with other plants, with humans, animals, and the earth.

**How nature has reasons that reason does not understand!**

And when it comes to birth, when you understand the hormones and nervous system's way of working for a birthing women-- that copious amounts of beta-endorphins (pain killers) and oxytocin (the love hormone- the synthetic kind doesn't have the same synergistic qualities as our own bodies) are produced and sent around a woman's body and thus into baby- than you understand that birth has the capacity to be one of the most blissful and powerful experience's for the birthing women and baby. These hormones together produce consciousness transforming experiences! Imagine a world where babies first introduction to the world was in bliss?! * for more information :see perinatal/prenatal psychologist's work for the effects of the birth experience on babies future. To start, see the APPPAH website)

Ah but the pain. Nobody ever tells a runner, or a gymnast, or a mountain climber, or a sailor, or an academic, or any other pursuit that produces an outcome we deem worthy, that they can't handle, or that they should fear the process of, what it takes to get there. The runner runs because it feels good and the results are amazing. Even though there is pain- the pain of getting started, the pain of the hill climb, the pain of a sprained ankle. But they run and when they finish they are empowered. And they have a social support system that say's, "Run, you can do it!," "Its healthy to run, good for your body, good for your mind, etc." And these supports are there even through the sprained ankle, the hill, the discipline required. "Keep going, you got this." Are cheers you often hear at races.

But we tell, and we support women all of the time with the belief that they don't have what it takes to birth their babies. That its too painful, that somethings gone amiss, that there are to many risks involved, that pain and possible adverse outcomes are to be avoided at all costs. i.e. Fear this, fear this are the cheers we hear about most of pregnancy and into birth. 

But really its about responsibility on the birthing women's end to know her truth. To make her own choices. And to make them in the face of fear. That birth is her chance to evolve, to transform, to become empowered to go on with her purpose. And patience, and awe, and supernatural respect, and the grounding of the ego on the birth workers end, to wait for birth, to remove their "I'm the hero and responsible to make choice's for this woman" mentality. Its a 2 way street, I am well aware of that. 

Birth use to be like this-- the birthing women as the primary force in birth-- the history of what has happened in birthing rooms in the past is absolutely amazing if you ever care to look into it. It tells a lot of how brith was taken out of the birthing woman's timing and power and placed into technology and fear. As an aside; its interesting to note that technology can't save us from a huge natural disaster -- even though we think it can-- and it can't save us from our own lack of responsibility and ignorance in using it- just look at the use of bombs and war craft! 

**But women can't make empowered choice if they don't believe in themselves, or their bodies.** 

This is a deeper cultural issue. But after navigating their own birth in an empowered way, after facing the pain of it, they can make those choices, they have proven that to themselves. And once the maternity care system recognizes that birthing women are clients and not patients -- than this changes the whole paradigm of how women are treated in birth! Patient's are passive, clients are active. And once the maternity care system adopts a heart based and spirit based understanding, than the ego of the hero responsibility is kept in check and the woman becomes the primary force behind her birth once again. Again, its a 2 way street. Nobodies fault; no- one is to balme or shame; we are all a part of it. Its a representation of who we are at the moment, based on what we believe, and the choices we make.

Pain is not the enemy. Pain is the transformer. Pain is the answer. If we don't medicate it, if we trust that it has purpose, like nature has purpose, then we open ourselves to something completely new. We recognize something that wasn't there before the pain, we learn, we grow. The pain of giving brith is not pain to hide from, its pain to grow from. It's powerful and holds powerful messages about who we really are, and what we are actually capable of. 

There is a secret in birth. The secret is that YOU are the transformer and magician of your experience. That you hold the power of creation and transformation within your own body, your own psyche. That really, the next chapter in this life, in this world really comes down to us and our choices, and our trust in the magic of that which we can not understand, can not see. Simply, to trust that what guides natures growth also guides us.

Someone dear to me once said, "live in the mystery, as having the answer shuts down the questing and thus the magic." Birth is my favourite mystery. My favourite wild place. And I am proud and deeply honoured to walk with birthing families as they navigate this naturally wild, technology influenced, fearfully represented, secretly blissful and ecstatic place. Thank you for asking me into these intimate places, for letting me see you in your strength, for allowing me to support you as you make choices that are empowering to you, and trusting me to help you through the vulnerable moments. I will forever stand for the magic and sacredness of birth and all its mystery and I will keep walking this path 🙂 xo

Warmly,

Nattalia