throughout quarantine, (like many of us) i’ve been forced to turn inward and address certain aspects of myself that often get drowned out with the business of attending events, going out, and traveling. anxiety and depression have been obstacles in my life since middle school and i have never been on medication for it. it wasn’t until the last 3 years of my life that i have really been able to acknowledge, address, seek help, and figure out what i need to do to manage these aspects of myself. i am a huge advocate for talk therapy, but i also knew that therapy alone wasn’t going to solve my issues. especially during quarantine, when seeing my therapist in person wasn’t an option.
when lockdowns first hit, i doubled down on the physical efforts i had already been making, and decided to focus on movement through buti yoga. although all of these things helped shed layers of the built up bullshit, my core was still filled with anxiety in moments i could not control. the moment i woke up in the mornings was the most intense. nearly everyday for weeks at a time, i would be struggling for at least the first 2-4 hours of my day. i am naturally an early riser and my mornings give me peace for the day, so waking up with debilitating physical anxiety that would often times induce vomiting was devastating. i reached out to, steven jaggers, a neuromuscular therapist, and was recommended to attend a somatic breath work ceremony he was co-facilitating with his partner and fellow yogi, dani, at yoga onyx in phoenix, arizona. using just my breath, i was guided through one of the most simplistic transformations of my life. i am an explorative person and have had many “transformative” experiences in my life, but this one literally rewired my being with nothing other than myself, some verbal/physical guidance, and a safe container to do so.
after finding a comfy spot to lay down and close our eyes. the group was guided through a combination of breathing techniques, meditation cues, essential oils, and sound healing. i don’t remember every aspect of the practice, so i encourage you to reach out to steven & dani and experience it for yourself. during the ceremony i experienced intense physical blockages. mostly in my limbs, i experienced extreme muscle tightness that only seemed to loosen up as i forgave each person i was holding onto anger about. this was never a thought that crossed my mind before and was something i was not even aware of prior to this ceremony. i mulled over people in my life (past and present) that had done me wrong and put my mind to letting go- as i did that each one of my fingers and toes started to loosen up individually and in sync with the forgiveness. this was the most profound teaching of the experience. because of its physical nature, it really stuck with me.
some mental lessons that came up during this hour long ceremony, were reminders of my own power. so often we let others influence or analysis of our struggles steer the ways we deal with them. a thought i got to share with the group afterwards was to discern whether you should be following someone’s guidance or tapping into yourself. too often do we minimize our own power by doing what is safe and what someone else is telling us to do. breath work was another perfect example for me that we hold within us the power to heal ourselves. and although it might take you listening, following, and absorbing from others to bring awareness to it – it is your body that led you there. own your power and be cautious of people who encourage anything other than listening to your own mind/body/soul.
for me, i’ve especially noticed the relationship between my anxiety, trauma, and nervous system and this practice seemed to reset my nervous system so my anxiety could rest. after leaving the yoga studio, it took me a few hours to settle back into my body. i was shakey, exhausted and soreness began to set in. the next morning was the first morning in over 3 weeks i had woken up without anxiety. it took me a few days to connect the dots and realize the impact attending this ceremony had on my well being. although 3 weeks is not the longest i’ve endured daily anxiety/panic behaviors i now know that will probably be the last long period of time i will go through that, now that i have breath work in my tool belt.
thank you steven, dani, and yoga onyx for the opportunity to deepen my relationship with myself, my breath, and my core.