Episode 33 – Breathwork with Joy Onyschak
written by Joy Onyschak (SomaSensing Somatic Movement Therapist, Numa Breathwork Facilitator) on 26/03/20
What is Numa Breathwork?
It’s a transformational psychosomatic practice that weaves together the power of conscious breathwork, somatic movement explorations, mindful somatic inquiry, and sound.
What issues do people come with that could benefit from this work? What is the typical end results after a session?
People come to Numa Breathwork to assist in resolving a wide variety of mental, emotional and physical concerns. Some examples are:
• Restricted breathing – perhaps due to held stress, repressed emotions, and unconscious beliefs,
• They seem to keep repeating same patterns in life and don’t know why,
• Seeking a body-based compliment to talk therapy or coaching,
• People who have experienced traumaticevents (I.e. surgery, accident, violence, intergenerational trauma, birth process) or not processing difficult life events (I.e. loss) and sense that the residue from these events are limiting their daily life.
• People who are curious to explore what lies beneath the surface of their thinking mind and want to explore their subconscious and the wisdom of their bodies.
The results really vary for everyone and are can be quite different at each session. Generally, people experience things such as sensations in their body, realization of subconscious material, insight into the way things are, integration and resolution of events, and release of stored stress and emotions.
What does the process look like – how do you help someone who is new to the process?
After reviewing intake information, a client is invited to lay on a comfortable surface and breathe in a conscious, connected breath pattern (vibrant inhale, relaxed exhale, no pause or gaps). I observe the person’s breathing for tension patterns and (with permission), provide gentle touch and related affirmations.
Recorded music, and mindful somatic inquiry are used to assist the process.
My role is to create and maintain a safe container for a person’s unique process and hold space for whatever arises. Although I act as a guide, I’m following the client’s body cues or what they report to me during the process.
Often, clients enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness whereby they are able to have a variety of experiences (I.e. sensations, visions, memory recall, emotional release) that they wouldn’t experience in their regular everyday consciousness. Part of my role is to keep them aware and present, greeting whatever arises with curiosity.
Are there precautions? What if I am recovering from trauma?
Yes there are precautions (read more on my website: joysomatics.ca). Gentlermodifications (I.e. nasal breathing instead of open mouth breathing, music/sound choices, use of somatic inquiry instead of breathwork, shorter breathwork durations etc.) are used for those with certain health conditions and sensitivities. I recommend that people who are recovering from PTSD/cPTSD and serious childhood adverse events to also work with a counsellor or psychotherapist trained in trauma.
What are the benefits and what are people most surprised by?
Some people (especially the first time), may simply experience relaxedbreathing and sensations in body with some emotional/tension release as they get used to the practice, learn to let go and trust their body’s wisdom. However, people are often surprised by:
• (During the process itself):
o Dream-like visualizations
o Realizations of subconscious material – things they didn’t realize they were holding inside and the power of acknowledging what is there,
o The permission and encouragement they receive,
o Strong sensations, trembling in their body (not everyone experiences this)
o Profound experiences that can lead to insight, integration and transformation of challenging events in their life.
• (After the process):
o The resolve that comes from letting out emotions, saying/shouting it out loud, or completing actions.
o Shifts in perspective, a sense of space around past events and/or current circumstances,
o Improved resiliency and response to stress,
o Improved agency (ability to express themselves and take care of their needs),
o More access to natural, relaxed breathing in daily life.
What is your story that led you to this work?
As someone who has suffered traumatic loss, managed depression and experienced workplace burnout, I have passionately sought out ways to relieve human suffering (mine and others’). I’m a curious person who seeks out efficient, intelligent and wholistic approaches to wellness (and I’m a bit of a jack of all trades with lots of interests). After 10 years of studying and teaching yoga, and particularly seeing clients privately, I became interested in the field of somatics and its potential to create sustainable change on a causal level. For me, this is another important puzzle piece in helping both myself and others access more freedom and ease in everyday life.
To learn more about joy, follow her on Instagram @joysomatics or check out her website at joysomatics.ca