Breathwork and Shamanism

Breathwork and Shamanism

Sometimes, participants come to breathwork from a shamanic background. I am familiar with the shamanic worldview as I went through a 3 year advanced Shamanic training with Michael Harner and his Foundation for Shamanic Studies over a decade ago.  The Shamanic world view is different from the Neurodynamic Breathwork worldview.

In Shamanism, for example, when a person has a traumatic experience like a car accident, the theory is that a piece of their soul can leave their body but can be brought back by a Shaman through a “soul retrieval.” And, in the Shamanic worldview, there are sometimes foreign energies in your bodies that do not belong there that have to be removed by the Shaman through a process called “spiritual extraction.”

In all of these cases, the Shaman is the healer. He/she goes into a trance state through drumming and/or rattling, connects to his/her spirit guide and, together with the spirit guide, searches for and brings back the client’s missing soul pieces or extracts the foreign energy from their body and sends it into the ocean or another place where it cannot do any harm. So, the only way to resolve these issues is to go to the Shaman.

In Neurodynamic Breathwork, we have a different worldview. Everybody has an inner guiding intelligence (IGI) that already has all the answers and knows exactly what needs to happen to bring the person to full health and wholeness. A healer is not necessary. The problems is that we are disconnected from that amazing inner source of wisdom by our ego mind. The facilitator in breathwork is not a Shaman or guru or even an healer. The facilitator is there to create a safe space for people to connect with their own inner guidance and heal themselves. It is a modality of radical self-empowerment where people gain more and more confidence in their own ability to bring themselves to a place of wholeness and health. And, if, for example, “evil beings” or “entities” show up in your breathwork journeys, they are not real. They are simply projections from your psyche with a message…many times they can represent disowned pieces of yourself that have not been integrated. But, there is always a message to support you in your journey towards wholeness.

If you believe in the Shamanic worldview, you can have powerful healings with a Shaman….our brains are ultra-powerful and the power of belief is one of the strongest available.

So, there is no wrong or right about anybody’s world view.  We’ve also seen participants in our sessions who can hold both approaches, and may go to a shaman and experience healing, and then come to breathwork and feel their own self-empowerment as they get more and more in touch with their own unlimited power to heal themselves.