At a time when the world and humanity seems to be falling apart, there are many people reacting in the streets and in their hearts, and starting to create the change we want and need to see. As breathworkers, we know that breathing is Life, breathing is Health, breathing is Balance and Grounding, breathing is Serenity, and breathing together is Peace. So, let’s inspire each other to get as many people as we can to consciously connect to their breath on World Breathing Day, and hopefully every day after that for the rest of their lives.
To anchor this reality, the IBF is working towards having World Breathing Day officially recognised by the United Nations on their UN International Day Calendar. Imagine having the world’s governments acknowledge, support and vote for a day dedicated to the advancement of awareness of breath! You can help make that reality happen! Because World Breathing Day belongs to you!
If you’re hosting an activity, please register the event on our website. This will make it visible to all and could help support our proposal to become a UN International Day. (link to register the event: https://forms.gle/9sfajHHnYidFFgoD6)
If you’re looking for a World Breathing Day event in your area, please click here to see the list of people who have registered their activity on our website or contact us by email . You can also join us virtually on the online breathing platform xxxx on April 11th to take a moment to breathe consciously in connection with all humans and living beings on the planet.
Celebrate no matter where you are, who you’re with or what your circumstances may be. The Breath is always there and free. If you can, a simple way to celebrate World Breathing Day is to step out in nature for a moment and breathe consciously in gratitude for the Life all around you and within you. Celebrate the miracle you are!
It’s just two months until we gather together in Joshua Tree, California, and we are so excited to breathe with you. We now have 185 people from 22 countries joining us!
If you haven’t registered yet, rooms are filling up fast. Go to GIC2019.com to reserve your 4 bed or 6 bed accommodations. Help us spread the word to your friends and family as well! The more, the merrier – we want everyone to enjoy this amazing location, fabulous speakers, mouthwatering food and some FUN surprises too!
We’re continuing to add workshops to our website. If you have an offering, please let us know so we can add it to the website and give you a shout-out on social media.
Still determining how to get from LA to Joshua Tree and back? We have one bus leaving from the Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, June 22 at 2 pm and it’s almost sold out! Make your reservations soon. Another bus will return on Saturday, June 29, at 2 pm, and it is half full already. Flying into Palm Springs International Airport? No worries. We recommend contacting AM/PM Shuttle Service at ampmshuttleservice.com to check costs and make reservations for as low as $35 per person.
Keep an eye on your email inboxes this month – packing lists and more Joshua Tree information will be sent to you soon.
Love and Light
The GIC 2019 Team
by Robin Lawley
When I think about the humble beginnings of the IBF and GIC more than 25 years ago in Sweden, I marvel at the fantastic progress we have made in becoming a truly global presence, even if there are still a few more places to reach, recognised by the UN and doing important work in the Middle East and Africa. I have attended all but three conferences and the GIC has become one of the highlights of my year. If you have not yet attended a GIC, I would highly recommend going. If you asked most people what they wanted most in their lives, they would probably answer “more love, more compassion, more awareness, more hope, more inspiration, more togetherness, more inclusion, more acceptance, more opportunity, more truth, more simplicity and more laughter..” And this and more, apart from professional growth and sharing, is what you will certainly get when you participate in a GIC. Take my word for it!
Post GIC Tour
I have circulated an itinerary with stopovers to the people who have shown an interest in joining us for a tour to places such as the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Sedona, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley and other places of interest immediately after the end of the conference on 29th. June. If you would like to know exactly where we are going with a view to meeting up with us on the way, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also be interested to know if some people would like to come along as drivers. Please also note that you would be responsible for booking your accommodation and since it is high season, it would be highly advisable to do this well in advance.
The Physiology of Breathing, simply beautiful.
Viola Edward and Michael de Glanville
The function of breathing is to supply our body and the brain with the energy it requires to exist, to grow, to observe, to learn, to reason, to understand, to create, to procreate and to love.
From the magic moment of the first breath taken during our birth experience, we have been breathing continuously, twenty-four hours a day, throughout our whole life. The vital importance of this instinctive action becomes clear when compared with our other bodily needs. We can survive for weeks on end without eating and even manage to go without drinking for many days, but if our breathing is interrupted for much longer than three minutes, we cease to live.
Breathing is popularly considered to be one of those natural automatic bodily functions. It is always there, going on in the background of our lives and we are not really conscious of its broad ranging influence. Night or day, we breathe, we manage what our lives bring us. We deal with the habitual, with the contentment, the joy and the pleasure, the pain and the stress.
In contrast, the conscious practice of Breathwork focuses on developing a detailed knowledge and understanding of this fascinating function in order to make the best use of its powerful healing properties for mind, body and spirit.
When free from conscious intervention, human breathing patterns are selected autonomously, depending on our perception of safety or danger and on the emotions we are feeling or the stress we are coping with. Once we perceive that the cause for alarm has passed, other autonomous processes return our breathing to normal and this capability of fluid, easy variation of heartbeat and breathing tempo is an excellent indicator of our body health.
However, problems arise when we find ourselves continuously exposed to stress, danger or pain or when we are in a state of perpetual alarm. Our nervous system then finds itself locked onto crisis mode. We trade reflection and clarity for instinctive reaction, loosing our capability to relax, to reason, wind down and recover. In chronic examples, this body state leads invariably to poor health.
Fortunately, with relevant knowledge, our brains can choose to reverse this autonomous command chain through the application of specific breathing patterns and break free from damaging habitual behaviour patterns. Our brains learn to recognise the symptoms of dysfunctional breathing and how to override our body’s autonomous control through conscious intervention in our respiratory process. The brain’s selection of a relevant corrective breathing rhythm will take us to a clearer mind mood and a healthy relaxed body state.
Viola will be giving an experiential workshop at ICAAD (International Conference for Addiction & Associated disorders) in May in London. This is a prestigious platform for promoting breathwork. http://www.icaad.com/
Is Breathwork the New Yoga?
Submitted by Ana Berenguer in Bali
Yet again this year, I’m lucky to be able to share with all of you what is happening with Breathwork at the Bali Spirit Festival, which is a lot. I would like to share this article from the main webpage of the festival. It’s about Giten Tonkov’s work and his BBTR School. Giten is an amazing teacher and facilitator with a long career and will be at GIC for the first time in California.
This article shows how the Bali Spirit Festival is promoting Breathwork. Many people who go to the festival for yoga or other healing modalities have the opportunity to experience Breathwork in many cases for the first time.
Breathwork seems to be what all the buzz is about these days, with an array of new teachers offering workshops and trainings in Bali and around the world. At Bali Spirit Festival, the breathwork workshops are an integral part of the festival and growing fast in popularity. Some even say that breathwork is becoming “the new yoga” and since there is obviously no need to replace yoga, let’s look at how these practices inter-link and can complement each other.
In a recent interview for Hanuman Academy, Giten Tonkov, founder of the BioDynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release System® (BBTRS) and author of ‘Feel to Heal – Releasing Trauma through Body Awareness and Breathwork Practice’, explains how many people, after practicing yoga for some time, hit an agonising point where they are being faced with a mirror of themselves in their practice. When faced with their reflection, they start to see things in themselves that are painful, uncomfortable or simply not welcome. Imagine a time when during Savasana you had tears running down your face? Or in warrior pose, when you could have actually attacked someone?
Have you ever during class found yourself judging the teacher, fellow students, yourself or your own body…and then judged yourself more for being judgmental because that’s not very “yogi”, right? Well, apparently that’s what most of us experience at some point and why many people actually quit the practice. Or – we decide to go deeper and that’s where the practice of breathwork can help.
As Giten goes to explain, many of our core beliefs, conditionings and traumas are held as tensions in the body so as we move through the deeper layers of our physical body, stuff comes to the surface which can carry an emotional charge or a traumatic memory. This can be scary and uncomfortable and collide with our idea of yoga as in the spiritual world we are often made to believe that these so-called “negative” aspects of ourselves are somehow flawed or “un-spiritual”. According to Giten, we may even start to feel worse than ever before in our lives while things that were so far suppressed are rising to our conscious awareness. This process of purification is in fact healing as, over time, we become more aware of our wounds and triggers and learn to integrate them, moving from a space of emotional reaction to conscious response. We have to, at some point on our spiritual journey, face our darkness and inner demons in order to bring them to the light and grow as humans.
The traumas, conditioning or limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves cause us to close off our vulnerable hearts and, over a lifetime, we subconsciously build up physical and energetic armouring in order to protect these wounded hearts. During yoga and breathwork, we break through these layers, removing the armouring so that the heart can shine again.
A Climate Of Change: A Therapeutic Response To Climate Change
Submitted by Joshua Alexander.
Joshua is a member of the Australian Breathwork Association and the International Breathwork Foundation. His contemplative practices include breathwork, nature-based therapeutic practices, yoga and meditation.
Until recently I have regarded myself as a climate change observer. Someone engaged with the daily reports of confronting news about the climate, but emotionally detached from the information itself. The information was too abstract for my emotions to be engaged, the warnings provided by experts in the field and global institutions rarely extended into a felt sense of what it meant. The numbers and the sheer destruction unfolding are too big for my heart to comprehend. Of course, I am someone who connects with nature for my physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and it is not uncommon for me to be deeply moved by a nature documentary or witnessing the destruction of our natural world. But climate change itself, and the warnings from our scientific community has not been felt in the same way.
However over the past year, in particular, this summer, I have felt a growing sense of concern and anxiety regarding the state of our natural world. Canberra, my hometown, just experienced its hottest summer on record (again), with a record 24 days with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius, beyond the projected weather extremes made for the year 2030 (12 days per year that exceed 35 degrees). I also realised last year that my workplace was not inundated with Bogong moths, and then later read that their population has collapsed and those species reliant upon them for food are now starving, which aligns with the broader global collapse of insect populations.
In November 2018, up to 30 000 spectacled flying foxes died in a three-day heat wave in Queensland, which accounted for a third of that species population. In January 2019, extreme weather and on-going low river flow led to the unprecedented death of hundreds of thousands of freshwater fish in the Murray-Darling River system. Then in February, a flash flood in Queensland killed half a million drought-stressed cattle and countless native species. Amidst these events, David Attenborough, one of my heroes, stood up in front of world leaders and warned ‘if we don’t take action [on climate change] the collapse of our civilisation and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon’. These stories, along with the hundreds of others I have read over the past few years, have all had an accumulative effect on my emotional wellbeing. At times, quite literally, keeping me up at night.
The ultimate trigger point for me was my exposure to the growing number of academics, activists and concerned citizens who have started to express the view that the collapse of our environmental, agricultural, social, economic and political systems is inevitable, and is already happening. Indeed, when I reflect on my time in Syria, visions of the environmental strain from its worst drought on record come to mind, and the subsequent war is for me symbolic of the fragile and dependable relationship we humans have with our natural environment. A relationship that is often ignored, and at worst, forgotten.
The effects of climate change, and the growing concern of how it will impact the Earth understandably is taking its toll, both personally and collectively, on our physical and mental health. Mental health professionals are increasingly vocal of this link.
In the UK, psychologists and psychotherapists have formed the Climate Psychology Alliance, creating resources in the field of ‘climate psychology’ to support people who have awoken ‘to the very real dangers of continuing inaction around climate change’ and face difficult truths with the aim of:
helping to understand our complex individual and cultural responses as the crisis unfolds and we engage with the unthinkable;
helping people to develop resilience, so that they can contribute to sustainable communities and prepare for change; and
validating people’s experiences of responses to the climate crisis; helplessness, grief, anger, despair and fear all have their place in this work.
Many of these approaches understandably are intellectual and cognitive exercises; however, therapy practices, such as breathwork, provide a non-verbal exploration into the underlying feelings about climate change and its impact on our lifestyle, our families, communities and our world. Indeed, whilst climate change is the facilitator of this emotional and spiritual upheaval, it is secondary to the underlying primary emotions that we may not be consciously aware of. Climate change, at a personal and collective level, is forcing us to face our relationship with change, with discomfort, the loss of control, fear and anger. At its heart, climate change is compelling us to face death, whether it is our literal death, the death of our loved ones, the death of a species or a natural environment we care for, or the death of the old Self, an Ego death, and the presumptions we once made about our future.
Submitted by Wilfried Ehrmann. This is an exhaustive 12 page document. Please follow this link to read the full article
The need for physical contact is deeply human and anchored in our body, which responds to gentle touches with the release of endorphins and oxytocin. Research has shown that tender touch reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. And all those who go to cuddling parties, who do contact improvisation or Biodanza are helped in this need, which is perhaps being lost more and more in the modern world.
In the very early stages of our lives, touch is vital. The sense of touch is regarded as the first of all human senses. It is developed in the womb even before the embryo is two centimetres tall. It has been observed that an embryo reacts to first contact stimuli as early as the eighth week of pregnancy, long before it can hear or see. Premature babies lying in incubators gain more weight if they are massaged regularly. Infants, on the other hand, develop less well if they are embraced by anyone.
We all have a history with touching and being touched, body contact, closeness and distance, from very early on, with many imprints. We have memories of pleasant, calming and connecting touches, but also of painful, inappropriate, insensitive or violent physical contact.
Body Contact in Breathwork
In many schools of breathwork, body interventions play an important role, while there are others where this is not used at all. This article is about gaining an insight into the complexity of this issue and sharpening the sensitivity for this area of therapeutic interaction. The Role of Interventions in Conscious Breathing
When we engage in a process of conscious breathing and deepen and accelerate breathing, we enter into an unpredictable inner state. Because by changing the metabolism through breathing as if we were exerting ourselves physically, even though we lie quietly on a mat, a chaotic state arises in some systems of the body. The further course of a session cannot be planned and foreseen in advance, but is always good for surprises. This phenomenon characterises the special power of breathing sessions. Existing patterns on the physiological as well as on the emotional and cognitive level get shattered and have to be reassembled afterwards. This is the experience of being born again, which gave the name to the method of Rebirthing. The therapeutic effect can be seen in the rise of suppressed or repressed material from the depths of the soul, due to pattern interruption. Then it can be accepted and integrated.
On the other hand, this power that is triggered by intensified breathing requires particularly careful and responsible form of guidance. The most important aspects the accompanying person should convey to the breathing person are trust and unrestricted presence without judgement, as well as caring for safety in the environment and keeping up with the breathing rhythm of the breather. These aspects describe the therapeutic attitude, i.e. the attitude that the therapist adopts towards the breathing person, granting her the security and confidence to engage in deeper feelings and difficult inner experiences.
In addition to these accompanying postures there are interventions with which the accompanying person influences the breathing process. These can be verbal (e.g. supporting or clarifying sentences) or physical measures. There are techniques that are taught in training and used in practice together with intuition. The forms and areas of application of body interventions are very different in the different breathing schools.
IBF internship for the promotion of our World Breathing Day and other IBF news on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) WANTED
A student in marketing in search of an internship opportunity.
An IBF member to mentor and supervise this student.
Dear IBF members. After years of preparation we are now ready to promote our World Breathing Day (WBD) worldwide. To help us with this important project we are looking for:
A university student in marketing to develop and manage the promotion of the WBD on social media as their internship project
A member of the IBF, with expertise in social media and mentoring, to supervise the internship student and report regularly to the WBD Group and the Communication Officer of the IBF Executive Team.
Apart from the World Breathing Day, this role will be enlarged with other IBF news in order to increase the IBF presence on different social media platforms. (Second phase)
If you are interested to any of these jobs, or you know someone who is, please get in touch with Brigitte at email@example.com These jobs are on a voluntary basis.