Working With Resistance in Breathwork

Our ego mind doesn’t like big changes

So, it creates resistance to them through boredom, fear, anxiety, sleepiness, etc. If you feel like you are having resistance, move forward, you are on the right track!

Feeling Stuck? Some People Have All The Luck!!

At some point in your breathwork process, you will get to a place where you feel that for several sessions, “nothing is happening,” that your experiences are not very intense, that you feel “stuck” or that you cannot get out of your thinking mind. You try breathing deeper, you try lying down, you try sitting up, and nothing seems to help. So what is that all about? Why is it that for awhile the experiences can be deep, intense, profound, and then for awhile, it feels like nothing much happens?  Let’s explore some of the reasons why this might be happening and some tips on how to work through it.

“Nothing is happening” is a potent opportunity!

First, when you feel stuck in breathwork, try to reframe it from thinking of it not as a bad thing, but as a great opportunity to work through your resistances.  It can be one of the more important, meaningful opportunities that the breathwork brings you.  How you respond to being stuck in breathwork will ALWAYS mimic how you respond to being stuck in various areas of your life.  So pushing through a stuckness in breathwork can yield some highly beneficial results in your life the next time you experience “stuckness.”  and can translate to breakthroughs in all areas of your life if you use it that way.

Quieting the mind

If your chit-chat mind will not quiet down, remember, you cannot necessarily control your thoughts, but you can control your response to them… i.e. where you place your focus on in any given moment.  Try to take your focus away from your thinking mind and put it fully into your body, the most fascinating thing ever created in the universe, which has an incomprehensible wealth of “body wisdom” that the thinking mind will never fully understand. All of the trillions of cells work together in unison to allow you to process food, to move, to think, smell and touch and to process the billions of bits of information that are coming in every moment. So, stay in your body, turn yourself over to this amazing source of wisdom and focus on your breath, focus on your emotional state, focus on your heartbeat, focus on the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe, move your fingers or toes, be 100% present in your body. Your body is always in the now, in the present moment.  On the other hand, your ego mind is always in the future or the past, remembering or planning, and it cannot withstand the power of a deep, intense focus on the body.

Remember, there is always something happening in breathwork

Try to remember that there is always something happening in a breathwork session.  The challenge is to open yourself up to it; to tune into the right channel. Sometimes, the experience can be more intense, sometimes more subtle.  Almost always, it doesn’t look or feel the way your ego mind thinks it should.

When you feel stuck, the natural proclivity will be to resist or ignore that feeling because it is frustrating. Your mind wants “something to happen” and nothing you do is catalyzing that desired experience.

Does this sound familiar, have you ever felt like before this in your life? Have you ever set a goal (relationship, financial, etc) and then felt like no matter what you did, you couldn’t make progress?  How did you react to that?

Stuckness in Breathwork reflects stuckness in life

If you are feeling stuck in breathwork, you will almost certainly find areas of your life where you are stuck also.  Try to remember that the feelings you are experiencing of stuckness did not originate in the breathwork.  They are feelings that originated with feeling STUCK in various areas of your life.

Look deeply into your life and dive into your stuckness there. Are you on your track, are you on your purpose, are you spending your time on what you love, are you moving ahead in the most important areas?. Maybe a relationship that is stagnating or a job that no longer interests you or familiar repetitive emotional dramas and your habitual pattern of procrastination. And, instead of listening to your ego mind which will try and get you to be lazy and put up with the situation, dive deeply into those feelings of stuckness also. Once you let yourself fully feel the frustration, that will motivate you to move forward, to shift.

Then reconnect to your vision for your life, see where the gaps are between what “is” and what your vision is and take responsibility to make a plan of how to get there. What action steps can you take now? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month to get UNSTUCK and start to MOVE FORWARD again. And, you can use the same tools as in breathwork. Dive into the feelings and let your emotions drive you forward to a solution instead of making you give up and then MOVE! TAKE ACTION! Nothing will happen until you become responsible to be an active participant in your own life and take focused action.

How to work with “nothing”

  • THANK your inner intelligence for bringing up this learning opportunity.
  • Remember why you decided to participate in breathwork. What is your vision of where you want to go? What benefit do you think you will get from these expanded state of awareness experiences. Reconnecting with your goal will help you connect to the determination needed to stay with it and dive in.
  • STOP RESISTING the feeling of stuckness. Fully feel it, dive deeply into the stuckness, let if fill every cell in your body, give yourself permission to feel 1,000% stuck.
  • Observe what emotions arise… often you’ll find frustration.  Or anger.  Or sadness.  Notice those emotions, and fully embrace them.  Remember, if you resist them, they will persist!
  • Notice what stories your ego mind tells about your experience.  Are there “ego resistance” thoughts like “no matter how long I do breathwork, this will never change?”  “I don’t have time for this.”  Or whatever? Notice the stories.  Notice that they come from the mind.  Then let them go and recommit to being present in your body, or in the music, or in your emotions.  Or anywhere in the direct felt experience of the moment.  Just not in the head.
  • Whatever comes up, strive to drop into it… Express it fully.  Make loud sounds.  Move your body.  Allow the emotions, sound and movement to set you free.
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