Bioenergetics is a radical way to release you from the effects of trauma and conditioning so that you can feel as free and light as a feather. The idea behind it is that our muscle system holds all that we’ve repressed. So, when doing Bioenergetics, we put our body into certain positions which allows us to release these tensions. We increase our breathing – in and out through the mouth and from the belly – and we really feel. This removes holding patterns in the body and brings new life to the ‘dead spots’.
What are holding patterns? “Areas of rigid, muscular tension that develop and remain in the body from early childhood”, says Devaraj, a bioenergetics therapist and workshop leader at Osho Leela. “Likewise, ‘dead spots’ are areas where muscles have become unnaturally loose. Both of these have two principal sources – trauma and conditioning.” Conditioning is the way we were taught by our family, peers, authority figures and wider culture about the right way to ‘be’, imprinting on us what we need to do to earn love and approval. Often, this can hold us back from living our full potential and feeling at home in our own bodies.
Breaking out of the comfort zone
Recognise this scenario? You sit on the sofa with a cup of tea, start scrolling on your phone, and look up to find that you’ve totally zoned out for an hour. So what? But if you multiply this action by a hundred, it adds up to a lot of time not truly living your life, avoiding the actions that get you where you want to be. What led you to the sofa? Probably the desire to be comfortable.
The key to Bioenergetics practice is to keep yourself right on the edge of your ‘comfort zone’. Staying too comfortable prevents you from developing – but if you’re always in pain, that’s not good either. So we stay in the posture, whatever it is, and remain present with what is happening.
Where does bioenergetics come from?
Bioenergetics is generally thought to originate with American psychotherapist Alexander Lowen (1910 – 2008). Lowen was originally a student of Wilhelm Reich, who studied with Carl Jung.. However, different schools of Bioenergetics have arisen over the years.
How does it benefit you?
Supriti, who is on the Team Leader Program at Osho Leela, has been practising ‘Bio’, as it’s affectionately called here, regularly for 18 months. “I feel much more in touch with my body and much calmer in general. It’s because I’m less in my head and more in my body. I’m less afraid of life. Even though it can be uncomfortable and I resist it a lot, I commit to my bio practice and this gives me a sense that I can take anything in my stride. I trust my body. When I feel negative or get into stressful situations, I can more easily tap into my body’s natural release. I have the tools and it’s much easier for me to use them now. Then, once I’m engaged in the practice, the release comes faster.”
Surrender and empowerment
“In life, surrender and empowerment go hand in hand,” says Devaraj. “The bow and arch pose, in particular, helps you to shift between surrender and empowerment. As we move the blocks out of the body and energy system, so we feel more naturally empowered, and the need to exert mental control goes down. We find surrender much easier. Otherwise, we can end up ‘trying’ to surrender from the mind, and finding ourselves not getting very far. Once the personality is more natural, things become easier.”
“I can see the correlation with surrender and empowerment in my worklife,” Supriti explains. “I can be very pushy and that’s good – I can be very powerful – but I’m also challenging myself to take the surrendered position as an actual choice. Bioenergetics has given me the opportunity to practice this.”
And her most challenging Bioenergetics pose? “Cobra – I couldn’t do it at first but I had a breakthrough when I realised I had to be expressing vocally to be able to do it. Then, I felt very powerful. When I first started, I had to really breathe and release in order to do it.”
Bioenergetics provides a strong set of tools for bringing your body vibrantly alive and tapping into your natural resources. Devaraj will be running a 3-day Bioenergetics intensive called Spiritual Bootcamp on 10th– 13th October. It’s an opportunity to embrace your demons in a safe and supportive environment and come out on top. Beating Depression and Anxiety, 29th Nov – 1st Dec, is another workshop from Devaraj featuring Bioenergetics as well as other tools to bring emotional freedom and healing. Devaraj also has a YouTube channel with lots of helpful step-by-step videos.
Written by Khalsa (Morgan) Nichols. Khalsa is a writer, singer and group facilitator living and working at Osho Leela. www.morganknichols.com.