You and your partner walk into a dim room light only by the candles burning throughout. The smell of incense fill the air, soft music is playing, and there are pillows and blankets all over the ground. You are handed a sleeping mask to wear. What exactly did you get yourself into?
Get ready to fall in love with your new date night, breathwork with your partner.
As a breathwork facilitator, I love when I get to work with couples, either one on one or in a group setting. I’m honored to share and hold space for them to relax, release, and most importantly connect. Also, as a person who actively practices breathwork with my own husband, I can attest to how it has transformed our relationship by making us both more conscious of our connection, actions, behaviors, wants, and needs.
But first, if you do not know what breathwork is, or have heard of it but never experienced it, let’s start with the basics.
There are many types of breathwork. All of them are based on a specific breathing pattern to connect with your body and release negative energy i.e. anxiety, stress, fear. It is also said to be a means to connect to spirit. In simple terms, it is a form of active meditation through conscious breathing. Some of the more well known names of breathwork include Pranayama (yogic breathwork), Whim Hof, Shamanic Breathwork, Holotropic Breathwork, and even what is referred to as Rebirthing Breathwork.
For the non-yogi, anti-new age/spirituality individuals of the world, I’m sure this does not sound appealing. But hear me out. If you factor out the woo it is accessible to everyone. You don’t need to be into any of the things I mentioned in order to have an awesome mind and body experience for yourself or a connecting experience with your partner.
Bonus, its always a good idea to try a new experience and go outside your comfort zone. It is the best way to grow. But I digress.
In a typical breathwork session you will lay down and breathe, yes its that simple. You will typically enact a breathing sequence that involves breathing deep into your abdomen to activate you diaphragm and then strongly exhaling, all through your mouth, continuously. And while that sounds like work, it’s because it kind of is, but it feels good. It’s not the same as going to a normal meditation session. You aren’t going sit and slowly breathe in silence trying to clear your thoughts. No quite the opposite. First it’s not silent, music will be playing. Second, you will be actively and continuously engaging with your breath to the point where you don’t even have time to notice your thoughts- and that is the point. Hence, why I call it an active meditation. It’s getting you out of your head and into your body.
This is why it is more accessible to the masses. For most of us our attention span lasts at most a few minutes so the idea of meditation can actually be scary. But breathwork has this active component that makes focusing easier.
Okay, so those are the mechanics of breathwork, but what actually happens, physically and emotionally, and why is it a great date night?
Good questions. Due to the breathing pattern you are increasing the oxygen in your body as well as activating your parasympathetic nervous system which is connected to your diaphragm. This results in people having physical and even emotional sensations during a session. Some of those sensations include, tingling in the extremities, feeling of pressure on different body parts, temperature changes, and emotions such as joy or release can arise. All and any experience you have is valid. After the activation breathing portion people are then brought down into a slower meditative breath and report feeling more relaxed, more joyful, and more connected. This is because they are fully tuned-in to their body and breath.
Also, another note about the physical sensations from breathwork, sometimes people get the feeling of being high after a session. This is not because they smoked anything, it is just the response from the breathing pattern- cool right? There have been studies done by the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) regarding the physical and emotional experience of breathwork and how in certain environments it can produce a similar experience to those using psychedelics. But the fascinating part is you aren’t using any substance, just your breath. Now, your typical breathwork session hosted by your local yoga studio or local breathwork facilitator is not going to be this intense, but it does serve to support the significance of this type of practice.
Okay, that is your brief overview. Overall, breathwork is a profound experience, some call it magical. Even if you aren’t into the spiritual aspect of it you can connect with the physical and emotional. Which is why it makes a great date night.
Here are some of the top reasons to experience breathwork with your partner:
First, it is a new experiences, assuming you’ve never done it individually or never done it with your partner. It’s a change up from your typical routine. Nothing ignites a relationship more than trying new things together, especially if it outside your comfort zone.
Second, it’s an opportunity to connect with yourself and each other. Outside of the fact it’s a new experience, because of the type of the experience (i.e. physical and emotional) you will undoubtedly connect on a deeper level. Breathwork is designed for you to surrender and release your emotions, which is why it is so helpful for stress/anxiety/fear/etc. At its very core it is a vulnerable practice. Going through this experience with your partner opens up that vulnerability which enhances intimacy. Additionally, feelings may come up that you have yet to deal with which can initiate open and honest discussion. Or maybe you just simply learn something new about yourself during the process that you can share with your partner.
It’s a meditation practice that men, who are resistant to normal meditation, can get into. As a woman who facilitates breathwork, I see mostly women. I’ve noticed it’s more difficult for men to connect with the idea of meditation or connecting with themselves. Not saying this is all men, I’m just generalizing here from my personal experience. However, when I do get the opportunity of sharing a breathwork session with a man, I am so pleased with their overall favorable response. It’s something about the work involved in the breathing pattern combined with the physical responses of the practice that again, makes it more accessible to them.
Last, and not least important, breathwork has been known to increase your sex drive. This is said to be due to a number of reasons, but most likely attributable to the decrease in stress and anxiety that follow a breathwork session. It is true that a lot of people experience a low sex drive from pressure and anxiety from everyday life. With breathwork being such an intense stress relief, it helps facilitate the return of your sexual desire.
I believe what you get out of every experience is based off of what you put in, and if you put in the energy for breathwork with your partner, you will have a profound and connected experience. At the very least, it will take the stress out of the equation so that you and your partner can better enjoy your time together.
Quick note, given the global pandemic, most breathwork sessions have switched to a virtual setting. This practice has been particularly beneficial for those struggling under these extreme times. With that being said, even virtual breathwork from the comfort of your own home is still a profound experience. Furthermore, virtual sessions are making the practice that much more available. First, it opens up accessibility to breathwork facilitators that may not be local. Second, it enables you to experience it for the first time from a safe space. This piece was written before the pandemic when people still were able to go to in a person session. As such, the piece is written from that perspective. But regardless of pandemic, I believe, if you are uncomfortable trying this experience in a group setting you should try it for the first time virtually from a place you feel safe and supported.
As such, breathwork (especially virtual breathwork) is definitely an option to explore for your next date night.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.
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