Understanding Tears: The Emotional Release of Breathwork

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Breathwork, a practice as ancient as any form of meditation and as diverse as the cultures it comes from, has found its way back into the limelight of modern wellness.

When we change the way we breathe, we can affect our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

What can happen is the unexpected crying during or after a breathwork class.

Why do you think this happens?

Let's take a look at it from a scientific perspective.

Scientific Explanation

Breathwork has a massive impact on our emotional state as it directly effects our body's nervous system.

Breathing techniques like Pranayama or Holotropic breathing can shift our body from a state of fight-or-flight (sympathetic nervous system activation) to rest-and-digest (parasympathetic nervous system activation).

This can trigger a release of pent-up energy stored within our bodies.

By engaging in the act of intentional breathing, we can increase our own oxygen levels and decrease carbon dioxide in the blood, which can lead to a change in the body's pH level.

This physiological shift can lead to a release of endorphins, but also lower our emotional defenses, allowing us to let bottled up emotions fly.

Emotional Impact

From an emotional perspective, breathwork serves as a bit of a "mirror", reflecting back to us the emotions we've tucked away.

In the safe space that breathwork provides, these repressed feelings—be it sadness, grief, joy, or relief—find an outlet.

Crying, in this context, becomes a bit of a cathartic experience, creating a physical manifestation of emotional healing and purification.

For me, it's always when I do holotropic breathing that I find the most profound shifts in consciousness.

Personal Testimonies

The stories are as varied as the individuals who tell them.

Some speak of tears streaming down their faces as they relive moments of joy, finally allowing themselves to fully feel the weight of past happiness.

Others describe sobbing as they release grief they didn't know they carried, mourning losses they hadn't consciously acknowledged.

And then there are those who cry without knowing why, only feeling lighter, as if a burden has been lifted off their shoulders, once the tears have dried.

Expert Opinions

Psychologists and breathwork coaches alike view these tears as a breaking down of barriers to healing.

In 2024, we need to understand that crying is not a sign of weakness, but a tool that aids in healing.

It's the mind's way of cleansing itself.

Breathwork facilitators often prepare participants for the possibility of emotional release, emphasising the importance of allowing these reactions to flow freely, without judgment.

They view each tear as a step towards deeper emotional resilience and clarity.

Tips and Guidance

For those embarking on their breathwork journey, here are a few pointers to navigate the emotional responses that may arise:

Create a Safe Space: Ensure that the breathwork classes you attend are in a setting where you feel secure and safe.

Let Go of Expectations: Enter each session with an open mind, ready to accept whatever comes up for you.

Be Kind to Yourself: If tears come, allow them to flow. This is your body's natural way of healing.

Journaling After: Writing about your experience can provide insights into the emotions that surfaced during breathwork.

Seek Support: If the emotional release feels overwhelming, consider seeking support from a seasoned breathwork coach.

After years of breathwork facilitator training and breathwork coaching, I have realised that an emotional release is the straightest path to deeper self-awareness and healing.

In Closing

The tears shed in breathwork is our capacity to heal, release trauma, and ultimately, to grow.

They remind us of the strength in vulnerability and the beauty in letting go.

As we continue to explore the depths of our inner selves through the simple act of breathing, we learn not just to live but to thrive, embracing every tear as a step towards our emotional liberation.

So, the next time you find yourself or someone else in tears after a breathwork class, remember, these tears are a testament to the transformative power of breathwork.

If this blog has sparked an intertest in breathwork, and you desire to become a breathwork facilitator, then our Elated Breathwork Facilitator Training program is your best bet.

Our breathwork training is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become a confident breathwork facilitator. This breathwork course not only teaches you breathwork, but provides you with FREE ongoing support and business coaching

Join our breathwork training program and transform your life and the lives of others.

Sarah looking at the camera

Written by

Sarah Michaels

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