Rebirthing-Breathworker, Aaron Overstreet from Respire Breathwork, explains how effective breathwork can lead to self-empowerment and ultimate healing. Aaron also assists his clients to identify and release limiting beliefs through the use of positive affirmations.
Aaron is certified by Rebirthing Breathwork International
Aaron, what first led you to breathwork and how did this change the course of your life, professionally and spiritually?
My first breathwork experience was at the age of 21. My father’s side of the family was involved in the new-age and self-help movement. My father is a psychic, and my grandfather could heal people with his hands. I grew up hearing amazing stories of healings and learned about meditation, affirmations, energy, channeling and many other things at an early age.
When I was 21, my father asked if I wanted to try a breathwork session. I agreed. My father had trained with the founder of rebirthing breathwork, Leonard Orr. My first experience was a rebirthing breathwork session. I was impressed to say the least. The first thing I said after my experience was “this is better than drugs!” At the time I was experimenting with psychedelics to achieve altered states of consciousness. The breath gave me a way to “get high on my own supply” and I fell in love with breathwork instantly.
It was about a week later that I visited the nearest rebirthing training center and soon after moved there and spent 5 months immersed in learning about this new and fantastic modality.
Rebirthing breathwork has been the primary tool to assist in the healing of my childhood trauma. This modality has helped me to clear out what gets in the way of my natural wellness. My quality of life has been greatly enhanced by breathwork. I feel emotional well-being most of the time and if I get triggered into uncomfortable feelings, I can easily process them through the breath. The breath has taught me to allow my feelings to move through with love and acceptance.
As a career, it is deeply rewarding to help people feel better and to see the results in their lives. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Spiritually, the breath has helped me to connect to my own understanding of all that we are. Humans are incredible beings with a capacity for deep emotion and spiritual awareness. When we get out from under the weight of our unprocessed pain, we are liberated and can access our natural intelligence to create the life we desire.
I’ve been facilitating rebirthing sessions for over 30 years and continue to offer one-on-one sessions in-person in Portland, OR and via Zoom. I am also involved in rebirthing breathwork trainings and retreats as well as other offerings. Readers can visit my website for more info on events and to subscribe to my newsletter to stay up-to-date.
How prevalent are limiting beliefs in our society, and do you believe this stems from childhood?
A big part of my work is to help people with their limiting beliefs. I recommend that my clients also work with affirmations when they are trying to change their “stories”. In rebirthing theory we work with the idea that people have a “personal lie”. This is a person’s most limiting belief that lives in the subconscious and inhibits their quality of life. The most common limiting beliefs I witness are “I’m not good enough” and “I’m not worthy”. The good news is that every person also has a unique and inherent quality with which they came into this world. We call this their “personal law”. Some people embody creativity while another might embody the energy of nurturing or pure love. When we heal our most negative and limiting beliefs, we can more fully access this true inherent nature.
I believe that these limiting beliefs most commonly stem from childhood but can also develop throughout our lives from societal systems of oppression. As children we often blame ourselves before blaming our parents. If our parents get divorced or are having difficulties, we tend to blame ourselves. Sometimes we’re told that we’re “too much”. Sometimes we experience years of disapproval from our parents. Sometimes there are specific events, such as physical or sexual abuse, which traumatize us severely.
The belief “I’m not good enough” can stem from not receiving the proper quality of attention as a child. Attention is currency for us as children. When we experience trauma and distress, we need attention so that we can process it. When our parents are overwhelmed, it can be difficult for them to give us the attention we require. While it is nobody’s fault, it can have lasting effects on our beliefs about ourselves and the world.
Limiting beliefs can be changed. Trauma can be healed. It is a worthwhile journey. We can live high quality lives. It just takes a little work sometimes.
How would you describe the magic of breathwork to the novices out there, and what results can be achieved?
I like to divide breathwork up into 3 categories: conscious breathing, daily practice and peak experiences/deep dives.
Conscious breathing is when we are simply aware of our breath. Meditating and giving attention to the breath can be very calming and soothing for the nervous system. We can also take pauses throughout our day to be still and notice our breath. This can help us to relax and slow down the pace of a hectic day. There is much to notice during conscious breathing. Does my inhale feel strong or tired? How deep is my inhale? Am I breathing into my belly, chest or is it balanced? Can I drop my exhale in a relaxed manner or is there contraction? Am I fully releasing to the bottom of my exhale and expelling the carbon dioxide? etc. I invite readers to spend a few minutes letting their breath speak to them.
Daily practices are techniques which we use as needed or on a regular basis. You can achieve many things through specific breathwork methods. Breath of fire can generate vitality and strength. Box breathing can calm the nervous system. Alternate nostril breathing helps us to balance. There are many different daily practices which can become valuable tools. You can achieve magical things through discipline and daily practice.
The magic of peak experiences/deep dives is that the breath takes you into a deeply altered state where deep healing can occur on all levels. Deep emotional wounds from childhood can be healed. Tensions disappear from the body. This is my area of expertise. Through guided rebirthing breathwork sessions, I assist people in self-healing. As a “rebirther” I am a breath technician. I guide my clients’ breathing as they take a healing journey into their inner landscape.
Do you think deep breathwork could be influential enough to impact our DNA, for future generations to come?
I believe people can heal generational trauma from the past and prevent generational trauma from proceeding any further down the family line. Many behaviors which stem from trauma are unconsciously passed from one generation to the next. Breathwork can help us clean this up. Sometimes that means facing the hidden pain, feeling it and letting it go.
Breathing can influence the shape of our faces. Mouth breathers tend to have longer drawn faces and nose breathers tend to have wider faces. Changing our breathing habits can change the structure of our face.
I don’t know if these things change our DNA but I would guess that it is possible. Freeing ourselves from negative stored emotion can have an impact on our whole being.
Would you describe most of your clients to experience an altered state of consciousness while performing breathwork – and is this a rite of passage, so to speak?
Yes. Clients experience an altered state. With my assistance the client follows where their breath and higher self lead them. Sometimes this can look like a deep, shamanic, multi-dimensional, dream-like experience. Sometimes this can be a highly activated, tingling, vibrating, intense experience. Sometimes it involves an emotional purge. Sometimes there are physical sensations that move throughout the body. It is always working with the client’s intention whether it looks like it or not. We may say to our body “I want to feel better” and our body may respond with discomfort to get our attention to what needs to be fixed.
The breather goes into a theta state usually within 5 minutes. A typical rebirthing session lasts 90 minutes and the result is deep peace, relaxation and a feeling of being cleansed. People often comment they feel more “themselves’. Rebirthing utilizes the body’s natural built-in mechanism to purify and cleanse itself: the breath.
Should breathwork become a lifestyle choice?
For many it has. Many people enjoy the benefits so much that it becomes a regular part of their daily lives. It’s different for everybody. I would invite people to look up videos on YouTube or explore the videos on my website and experiment with what breathwork techniques work for them.
Some suggestions from the multitude of options: box breathing, alternate nostril, breath of fire, buteyko, Wim Hof, and breath of joy.
If people are interested in breathwork as a means to heal the effects of past trauma and distress, then I recommend one-on-one sessions with a qualified rebirthing breathwork practitioner such as myself.
Incorporating a few minutes or more of breathwork into our daily routine can help us to relax, focus, energize, ground, rejuvenate and a myriad of other desired results depending on the practice utilized.
Breathwork can be as simple as remembering to take deep breaths throughout the day. We inhale life and vital energy, and we exhale what no longer serves us. Our breath is our ally.