Today, Mystic Mag had the chance to interview Breathworker Ciara Longman. We talked about her career, how it developed, and what she loves most about her profession.
When did you first know that being a Breathworker was your calling and how did it come about?
I was an Environmental Scientist for a couple of decades and in-between work contracts, I spent a month in the town of Glastonbury in the UK. Glastonbury is similar to Sedona, the area has energy vortices and amazing ancient sacred sites. It is the Isle of Avalon referred to in the Arthurian tales and it truly is a wonderful place to visit.
I was doing more shamanic practices at the time, so I turned to my guides and asked them, “what was the purpose for my time in Glastonbury?” They replied, “learn to breathe.” “Breathe? I know how to breathe,” I thought this was really weird and dismissed it. A couple of days later, I was looking through the free Glastonbury Oracle publication and saw a course advertised called Liberation Breathing with Sondra Ray. Aha this was it! Trusting in my guidance I immediately signed up. I loved the feeling of the energy moving through my body and knew I needed to do the full training.
I also trained and traveled with Leonard Orr who is the discoverer of all conscious connected breathing, back in the early 1970s. Leonard called this technique Rebirthing Breathwork. He discovered it through a mystical experience. He was in the bathtub one day and spontaneously started connected breathing and was intrigued by it. Because he was in warm water, feelings of being in his mother’s womb and birth memories came up for him. Leonard owned a communal house in San Francisco and tried the technique with his roommates. They realized that birth trauma can be very intensely traumatic for some people, so they found that it was better to start sessions out of water and called this dry breathwork.
One day a letter arrived at the house which simply said, “Come to India.” So a group headed to India and found a guru called Haidakhan Babaji. A previous incarnation of Babaji is referred to in Paramahansa Yogananda’s book Autobiography of a Yogi. This former incarnation in the late 1800s called old Haidakhan Baba brought Kriya Yoga to the world. The newer incarnation of Babaji asked Leonard, “did you like the breath I taught you?” when they first met. Leonard discovered conscious connected breathing but credits Babaji as the founder.
It is little wonder that people have mystical experiences when they practice conscious connected breathing. Once the initial physical and emotional resistances have been broken through, a person can relax and allow themselves to enter an altered state. This involves reaching an Alpha then Theta brainwave state, which is similar to meditation or hypnosis.
What services do you offer?
I offer Rebirthing Breathwork training and sessions. However, you don’t need to become a facilitator to do the training, the majority of people join for their own personal development. This is because we journey through our conception, time in the womb, birth and then early childhood. These are critical phases that set up our life and the way we think. When we release difficult feelings we can come to a greater place of accepting ourselves. We look at Mind Mastery and how our thoughts create our reality. Loving and accepting yourself fully for who you are, are the most radical things you can do in this lifetime! I also trained in Alchemical Hypnotherapy and this involves a lot of inner child work as well as other lifetimes. So I take clients through soul journeys.
How would you define Breathwork?
Breathwork is the umbrella term for many techniques that use the breath including pranayama and mindfulness breathworks. Conscious connected breathing is part of the breathwork umbrella. It involves breathing a circular breath, the inhalation merges into the exhalation and the exhalation merges into the inhalation. It is done for a minimum of an hour and keeping this up is tricky! But once you do, your life energy starts flowing through your body. In Asia this energy is called prana, chi or mana in the Hawaiian islands. As life force energy moves around your body, it helps to first of all purify your energy system and then with a practitioner you can unblock stuck energy. I have experienced things that the logical mind just cannot understand. So letting go of the strong grip our mind has on us is vital in our journey with the breath.
When you master dry Rebirthing Breathwork and can breathe yourself through resistances, you can then try water Rebirthing. Warm water re-creates experiences of time in the womb and birth.
What can a person expect from your sessions?
Many people choose to work with a Rebirther to help them with difficult or even traumatic life experiences. We look at family dynamics, the relationship you have with your parents and siblings. Many of us were bullied as children and this still impacts us now, we even recreate it in the workplace until it is resolved. A Rebirther lovingly holds space for their client and won’t push them. Anxiety is a common difficulty people face and connected breathing helps to release it. I had a difficult childhood so I understand what people go through.
Babaji told Leonard that breathing should be done through the nose. Many other Breathwork techniques use mouth breathing, which is important if you have stuck emotions. When you breathe through the nose you get a higher perspective on any situation that comes up for you during your session.
It’s become popular to promote the scientific benefits of breathwork. I’m a scientist and science is great! but it won’t help you move through your resistances in a session because this is the crucial part of a session. Only you can do that, by finding the resources inside of you and trusting yourself. Once you push through these initial resistances during a session, you start to feel peace, bliss or unconditional love. You may have visions or even receive guidance yourself. This technique is about empowering you to go within and know that you too have gifts. On average, by the time you’ve had 10 sessions you can breathe yourself through any resistance or difficulties that come up.
In Rebirthing, over the course of a few sessions and energy dynamic with your Rebirther starts to happen. This is akin to transference in Psychotherapy, you may project your relationship with your mother or father so that it can be healed. This is why it is recommended to have sessions with both women and men.
What is the most important detail in maintaining a relationship of mutual trust with clients?
Rebirthing Breathwork sessions are built on trust. For this reason Breathworkers advise you to speak with a few facilitators to make sure you resonate with them. It’s important to choose someone who continues to have sessions themselves. Some of us have difficulty in speaking up, we learnt to keep quiet when we were younger. Breathworkers will help you understand how important it is to express your needs and speak about difficult issues.
The Global Professional Breathwork Alliance ensures that all of their members adhere to Ethical Standards. It’s important to make sure the Breathworker you choose has had proper training. There are a lot of pop-up Breathwork training sessions now. It takes a couple of years for a Breathworker to be proficient and genuinely deal with their own projections and issues, so that they can hold the space for you. If a Breathworker uses touch, they will always ask your permission first. As a result of Breathworkers not adhering to this, I wrote this article on consent: https://breathtalks.com/trust-consent/.
What do you love most about your profession?
Nothing brings me more joy than to see someone transform. I love it when my clients make realizations about their life, become more confident and accept themselves, they literally shine more brightly. Once you find the resources inside of you, to move through difficult thoughts and experiences you naturally become more creative. I really struggled with abandonment and continually choose emotionally unavailable partners, and blamed them. Until I realized I was attracting this dynamic. I always found it difficult to forgive people, but when I did – life became so much easier for me.