What Is Rebirthing?
Rebirthing, also known as Breathwork, is a therapeutic technique that allows you to release physical and emotional tension and find resolution to past traumas. It’s usually practiced under the guidance of a suitably experienced facilitator.
During a rebirthing session, you lie down, close your eyes and follow a specific breathing pattern. This allows your mind to come gradually into a subtly different state of consciousness. You might find that your body begins to shake or move around as you release tension, or you may make sounds.
You do have control over the process but remember, the body loves to let go, so it’s good to allow it. Each session is about 90 minutes, though some practitioners may extend this for longer periods.
Often, people come to rebirthing when other therapies such as talk therapy have not completely resolved their problems. They find that the slightly altered state of consciousness in rebirthing facilitates healing. This is because the level of mental control we exert on ourselves is lower in this state. Rebirthing also gives you an opportunity to enjoy a period of relaxation and release, which is always beneficial.
Who can do Rebirthing?
Devaraj, who runs rebirthing sessions at Osho Leela and in Brighton, has found rebirthing to be suitable for most people. There are just a couple of contraindications. If you have a history of panic attacks or other significant psychiatric problems, are taking mood-altering medication, or have issues around breathing or that involve breathing, it’s a good idea to check with a medical professional first before you try rebirthing.
Where does Rebirthing come from?
Leonard Orr, an American alternative health pioneer, developed and promoted the rebirthing technique in the 60s and 70s. Holotropic Breathwork, a similar technique, was created by Stanislav Grof in the 1970s.
But the history goes back further than that. Many early cultures developed specialised breathing techniques to support health, release trauma and create spiritual connection. Pranayama, from the Sanksrit, covers a whole range of breath-related practices and meditations found all over the Indian subcontinent for millennia.
The reason Rebirthing earned this name is that both Orr and his early clients relived their own births when they practiced this breathwork technique. They became aware of the enormous impact that birth had had on their own lives.
Freeing up the breath
Many of us have had birth experiences that were less than positive and this can be linked to the way we breathe today. Perhaps we experienced traumatic events such as our umbilical cords being cut too soon, cutting off the oxygen supply from our mothers. Or maybe we were turned upside down and smacked on our bottoms to get us to take our first breath. Then, as adults, we often don’t breathe very fully or openly.
Rebirthing allows us to reprogram how we breathe. It frees up the breath in a way that’s both safe and exhilarating. These days, we know Rebirthing as a more holistic process, which can get us in touch with many emotions and experiences from our lives, not just birth.
How to do Rebirthing
It’s a good idea to practice rebirthing under the guidance of a suitably qualified or experienced instructor, at least for the first time. However, if you don’t have any of the contraindications mentioned above, and don’t get very high levels of anxiety, it’s also OK to try it on your own. You can use a guided meditation CD such as the series known as Quantum Light Breath by Jeru Kabbal.
The first key is to get into a relaxed state. To do this, you need to have a couple of hours set aside with your phones and computers well away from you and switched off. Choose a room that is at least slightly darkened and with minimal background noise. Ideally, you should be able to make noise yourself. With loose clothes, lie down on a mattress that is comfortable to move around on, preferably without a pillow (unless you have neck issues).
Breathe slowly and deeply into your belly for a few minutes, feeling your belly rise as you inhale and deflate as you exhale. You can also use a bodyscan meditation or progressively tense, then relax, each muscle group in your body.
The second key to rebirthing is connected breathing. “With each breath, you should feel your belly and your chest expand and deflate, moving with the breath in and out. Allow each breath to be connected to the next. Don’t pause between breaths,” says Devaraj.
The third key is to consciously stay in your body and feel. If you find yourself drifting off into fantasy or leaving your body, bring your awareness back to your breathing.
To find out more about how to create a rebirthing experience at home and what to watch out for, go here (scroll down to ‘How to do Rebirthing’).
Experience Rebirthing for yourself
Devaraj will be offering a Rebirthing, Bioenergetics and Emotional Release workshop on 10th – 12th January at Osho Leela. On this unique and powerful weekend, you will experience the rapid, transformative power of Body-based Therapy. Working with the body is always fresh, always new. So it doesn’t matter whether you’ve done a lot of therapy before or are a complete newbie. This workshop will be amazing for you! Devaraj also offers private sessions.
Find out more about the workshop and book your place here.
Written by Khalsa (Morgan) Nichols. Khalsa is a nature-loving writer, singer and group facilitator living and working at Osho Leela. www.morganknichols.com.