I am one of the few Breathworkers in the UK specialising in addictions, including recreational drug and alcohol abuse, in fact TIME OUT London Magazine called me ‘CLUBLAND’S THERAPIST’ in Millennial year 2000 due to my clientele using club drugs like coke and ecstasy ( MDMA ).
Not all clients arrive with these issues, relationship stuff, including codependency or stuckness in some way, is the number one problem.
Achieving a HIGH somewhere, is an example of success for many, a result, an intention to remove oneself from depression, life struggles or the need to ‘get out of it’, especially in tough economic times but continuous demand for entering an altered state of consciousness can create a habit. A second bottle of wine, a spliff to wake up to, a valium to get to work and a line at lunchtime to cope, are not unusual companions in urban Britain.
Having experienced drug addiction myself ( my last drink, drug and nicotine hit was October 25th 1982 ), all on the same day, not recommended without emotional and physical support, but I missed the HIGHS, escape routes and the RELAXATION of it all. So quick, so easy, so fulfilling.
Six years clean of all mood altering substances I came across ‘Conscious Connected Breathing’ while residing in Australia for 3 months. Then called REBIRTHING. I came back to to the UK and found myself a Rebirther to work with, and over the recommended 10 sessions to clear baggage, discovered ECSTASY in the form of emotional release and healing the body.
What a natural HIGH.
Ironically, this being 1988, ECSTASY the Love Drug arrived in Clubland and many of my future clients were taking it. Even now clients will often say “this Breathwork feels like taking Ecstasy”. With no comedown I might add, or the consequences of habitual drug use.
I am blessed having Gunnel Minett as my mentor since 1994. Gunnel came to Rebirthing in 1978 and I started my training a decade later with Diana Roberts under Sondra Ray’s Loving Relationship Training ( LRT ) from America.
Gunnel has given me permission to reproduce sections of her book the definitive BREATH & SPIRIT / Rebirthing as a Healing Technique published in 1994, including this chapter on Kundalini, a natural exploration of ECSTASY, so do give it a read and find out what Breathwork is about.
There is, as yet, no scientific explanation for the reactions which occur during conscious breathing sessions, or for what controls the length of the energy cycle. The closest we can get is to compare rebirthing phenomena with the reactions described in the various Eastern breathing exercises. So far, we have looked at some Chinese Chi Gong exercises. The other great area for comparison is yoga.
One major purpose of yoga exercises is to awaken the body’s in a life energy – the kundalini. in order to expand consciousness and reach a higher state of mind, the body’s own life energy has to be awakened and activated. According to Indian tradition, a person is not ready to experience altered states of consciousness before the kundalini is awake and allowed to flow freely in the body. The yoga trainer has to prepare the body and psyche to adjust properly to this expansion beyond the normal. The exercises of hatha yoga (physical yoga) and pranayama (breathing exercises) are specially designed for this purpose.
The word kundalini comes from yoga, but there a similar concepts in most breathing techniques. The awakening of life-energy is an important factor in the various physical and psychological cleansing processes. When the body and mind have been cleared of blocks and ‘impurities’, the person will enter a new phase where body fluids flow so freely that more life-energy can be absorbed. this leads to an awakening of the body’s kundalini, which in most adults is dormant. when the kundalini is released it produces an expansion of the mind, often resulting in the development of ‘supernatural’ abilities. This can include physical changes, for example less need for sleep and food, greater physical endurance and a capacity for self-healing.
Most descriptions of the awakening of kundalini are very similar, regardless of the cleansing method being used. The process can take anything from a couple of months to several years. One effect of the process is the experience of non-normal states of mind. These experiences go totally beyond everyday mental life, though they rarely result in loss of contact with reality or disorientation severe enough to be called psychotic.
Accounts of the awakening of kundalini have many similarities with the reactions observed during rebirthing sessions. Several scientific studies of the body’s reactions to yoga exercises have been published. Here we will not, however, go into detail regarding the physical changes in the body. (Those interested should see, for example, James Funderburk, Science Studies Yoga, 1977.) we will concentrate here on descriptions of the various physical and psychological phenomena reported from the process of awakening kundalini in various yoga practices.
Many of the symptoms and bodily reactions connected with the awakening of kundalini have been described by Sanella (1977). all of the following bodily sensations have also been observed in somatic conscious connected breathwork, and may occur from the very first session.
Experiences of expanded consciousness e.g. (visions, sounds, out of body) normally occur only after a person has completed at least ten sessions, and often at an even later stage. A precondition is the one should have cleared out a substantial part of biographical memory experiences. This normally involves having had at least one experience of birth memories. The examples listed below range from physical experiences to ‘supernatural’ phenomena, but they do not necessarily appear in this order.
The body often starts to move spontaneously. The movements vary greatly from person to person. They can be soft, curling, jerking, twitching [sic] or vibrating. the physiological explanation is that the breathing exercise affects the cerebellum, the part of the brain that coordinates muscular movement.
So-called spontaneous rebirthing, with rapid shallow breathing, deep powerful breathing or spontaneous breathing patterns, occurs frequently. The practice of various breathing exercises may trigger and natural breathing cycle, which will normally be completed before returning to normal breathing. This spontaneous breathing reaction is originated in the hypothalamus, which monitors and controls the blood and its oxygen content. It does this by regulating the impulse to breathe.
Various states of cramp occur often, affecting all parts of the body. They can last for short period or persist over a longer time, affecting mobility. States of cramp are normally preceded by fear or hysterical states. This is often referred to as tetany in other Breathwork publications and with an experienced breathworker as breathing coach it soon passes.
The skin or the whole body is often felt to vibrate or itch. It is usually described as ‘bubbles’ in the body, or stitches and bubbling. Sometimes these experiences are perceived as sexual, similar to pre-orgasmic feelings. A physical explanation is that this is mainly caused by stimulation of the sensory cortex. The vibrational sensation often moves from the feet upwards (the way the kundalini is said to move through the body). The left big toe is often said to be the starting point. This toe has a direct link with the cerebral cortex. (The big toe plays a special role in yoga exercises. Hindu mythology states that the holy River Ganges emerged out of the big toe of the Creator.)
Changes in Temperature
Body temperature can rapidly change from very hot to very cold. Sometimes, this is purely a subjective experience but there may also be objectively measurable changes in body temperature. A possible explanation is that when the kundalini force encounters a blockage in the body, friction is generated leading to localised temperature rise. This affects the hypothalamus which, in turn, will have effects on the body temperature as a whole, causing rapid changes.
Experience of Pain
Sudden pain may be felt in the head, eyes, spine or other parts of the body without apparent reason. The pain usually remains for only a short period. A traditional explanation is that the kundalini force becomes intensively concentrated when passing through a ‘blocked’ part of the body. People who resist the process with a subconscious wish to retain control over the body are likely to experience these phenomena as painful.
Light and Sound Experiences
There are many descriptions of a wide range of light and sound experiences: colours flowing freely, illuminating or flowing from various parts of the body; voices, music, whistling or strong roaring or hissing. These phenomena may be caused by wave movements in the ventricles (cavities of the brain). This area influences the auditory cortex in the back lobe of the brain, which controls hearing and vision.
Most emotional experiences are very intense, ranging from anxiety, fear, hate, depression and confusion to states of total bliss. The negative feelings are mostly experienced in the beginning of the session. They are later normally replaced by feelings of peace, harmony and love, at the end of a completely worked through session. It is influence on the thalamus which probably causes these intense emotions. This area transport information to various centres in the cortex, in cooperation with the reticular and limbic systems. The latter has great impact on the emotions and motivation.
People often report a change in the thought process itself. Thoughts pass through the mind faster or slower than usual and thought can even stop completely at times. Thoughts can also appear irrational, strange or unbalanced. These states can sometimes resemble mental illness, trance, impulsive actions or confusion.
Another common experience is a feeling of separation from the actual event. ‘What is happening has nothing to do with me’. This can also be described as being outside, observing the events, thoughts and feelings. This is known in yoga as ‘witness consciousness’. In some cases, especially when there is an underlying imbalance in the person, this state may resemble schizophrenia. With the right type of guidance, it usually disappears rapidly and completely.
Out of Body Experiences
In this kind of experience one’s own body appears distant. There is a feeling of being outside the body and the person can experience moving to various places while leaving the body behind. This is a sharp distinction between this type of experience and ordinary dreaming. The person can actually ‘see’ their own body from the outside, and be able to describe places without having physically been there. This distinguishes the phenomenon from dreaming or visualisation.
In the latter stages of the kundalini process a capacity for ‘supernatural’ skills often appears. The most commonly occurring skills are clairvoyance, clairaudience and the ability to see the aura (the body’s energy field) but other, even more remarkable skills may develop.
And here we are in June 2019 experiencing the kundalini of REAL LIFE
Gunnel Minett & David Parker with a selfie.❤️