Some years ago, when working with a Jewish client and Hebrew scholar I mentioned that there was the Hebrew word 'ru'ach' that refered both to soul, breath and wind - as far as I knew.
'"Oh" she said, "there is more!".
I contacted her again recently because I had lost my notes. Here is what she said:
"I would have told you that Hebrew is a consonantal language - and most words have a 3 consonant root, with the vowels fitting in patterns (for a gerund form, infinitive verb, adjective etc), or creating a related word for example NeSHaMa = soul, NeSHiMa = breath
The three words all have been translated as soul, but they have different nuances and are used in different contexts.
I couldn't remember the difference, but I found this:
'In Kabbalah or Chasidut, Nefesh means a bodily soul, or instinct, or innate. (All created things have nefesh). Ruach is often used in the context of "Ruach Hakodesh" (spirit of the Holiness), which is a sort of divine inspiration, or an aspect of godliness /correctness of thought (morality is one example of that). Ruach can also be the basic life force of any living thing. Neshama is the higher level soul which is connected directly to Gd, it exists only in humans."
As Jewish belief is that everything in The Torah is the word of God, the fact that the words for breath and for the highest/divine level of the soul are based on the same root, means that there is a spiritual connection between them."
Thank you Neta.
It is more than 40 years now that I have been practising awareness of the breath, and more than 30 years of working with Conscious Connected Breathing for my personal & spiritual growth as wll as working professionally with clients,
Such a practice leads to a perspective that allows equilibrium, well being and sense of being connected to a greater whole - however we name it. For me, that is a priceless foundation for living - for life.
Next trainings begin 28 March with an 8 day retreat.
A new cycle of Breath Awareness retreats is beginning Autumn 2020
Life changing! Totally transformative! Beyond expectations!
These are some of the words that participants and Breathwork students have said to me over the years. You can find more here.
If one were cynical you could suspect that recent participants might be still in an afterglow, that with time, will fade. Yet I know for me, it has never faded – only continued to deepen the unfolding of myself to myself. Thus I have experienced a transformation in the way I related to the world as well as myself and others, and a steadiness in face many different situations
It has been my delight that participants who experienced Breathwork with me between 34 and 25 years ago continue to benefit from what they have learned. They recognise those early experiences as totally transformative. The Breathwork skills and shifts in perspective they acquired have continued to provide a strong foundation for life
Recently I came across a video of a friend, Marselina, who had her first experience in 1986 just after I had just finished my training and had gone to live in Shanghai to continue studying Chinese martial arts.
Subsquently, in 1991, she participated in a Breathwork training in my Tai Tan Centre in Hong Kong. “I experienced a whole range – from physical pains to emotional delights and deep peace. A lot of things became clear – from small things to large. One of the most important things was becoming aware that I could forgive people. After doing the forgiveness processes, which were very emotional, I felt free – and still do, after 20 years!”
Dianne, also participated in one of my early Hong Kong trainings. Recently when she saw a Facebook post advertising this autumn retreat she wrote: “Changed my life forever!!! I was privileged to be in the right place at the right time. I am so happy for all who have an opportunity to participate.” Maggie, who did some of my early workshops In Australia, 1996-7, added, “I would not be who I am today without this amazing work/ experience”
Breathwork, in the form of Conscious Connected Breathing, is more than just a technique. It is a portal into the greater dimensions of life. It brings experience that gives insight, which in turn creates greater understanding. There naturally arise a centeredness and wisdom.
When you touch the still point inside yourself you know without doubt, nor wishful thinking that such a place exists; that you can return there to regain a calm perspective.
Breath Awareness Retreat Autumn 2020: Foundations 28March–4April 2020
This Level 1.1. is the foundation for creating the experience and understandings that will enable you to do what my now friends have done - use awareness of the breath to create a solid foundation for awareness of yourself and life. Level 1.2 - Real Creativity will consolidate that foundation and give you the tools to continue to live life creativity with self confidence and a sense of power.
In the retreats this year I offer you the paradigm that I have developed to guide intellectual understanding, as well as at least 5 partnered 'breathes', solo 'breathes'
If you would like further information you can read about the additional support you are offered or you can ring me on 0403-823-636 and have a chat.
It was a delight to meet and then interview June Uhrig at the graduation of her daughter Jennylee Taylor. Jenny had spent four years studying with Breathwork Trainings' trainer Robyn Fernance and her graduation day as a Breathwork Practitioner was very special indeed. What struck me most was every-one's 'joie de vivre' and open heartedness.
June Uhrig also had an open mind.
She had participated in Jenny's Self Awareness programme and as she says she discovered things inside her that even at the age of seventy three she did not know were there - and things she wanted to learn. For her, it filled the coming decades with infinite positive possibilities.
Anyone with the will to learn can discover more about themselves and become more self aware. Breathwork, I believe, is the master programme. Through awareness of our breathing, and how it relates to physical sensations, emotional states and thought patterns - we gain self knowledge and self understanding. We develop compassion for ourselves and others.
We learn how we have used our breath to suppress difficult emotions and unpleasant thoughts. We can also learn how to use the breath to release those suppressed emotions and limiting thoughts gain greater self awareness and do what it takes to become free.
For more than thirty years I have been privileged to witness the journey to greater self awareness through the conscious use of the breath.
Through breath awareness, comes self awareness and transformation
The more we practise living and working from a state of self awareness – a place of higher consciousness, the better our lives become. It takes time and practice to truly learn who we are and what we are capable of. More than that – it takes commitment.
We need time for self-inquiry to uncover both the positive and negative in ourselves – the light and dark shadow. We need techniques to release suppressed emotions and install a positive programme. We need to take time to meditate to find a place of peace to rest and regenerate.
We could find time for this in our every life. But we all know how full up we are and how many demands there are on us. By taking time out for ourselves - away from our daily routine - we get away from the distractions of our daily lives, We gain a new perspective and time to stop, think and to go within.
Breathwork retreats at the Millthorpe Meditation Centre
Ann Harrison first set up a retreat meditation centre in 1988 and she has been running retreats ever since. Ann's retreats take place in the small historic village of Millthorpe, situated in the Central West of NSW 3.5-4hrs west of Sydney. www.millthorpevillage.com.au
Staying in the village gives time out and it also allows for a more easy integration back into daily life, once the course has finished.
“Breathwork is a total bodymind practice. It incorporates meditation, mindfulness and emotional education. It has theoretical compenents as well as being highly experiential. It runs the gamut from psychotherapy to spiritual practice. The retreats give participants the time and space to go deeply within themselves – to release suppressed emotion, source and release unconscious limiting beliefs and learn skills that will enable them to live with less stress and more joy and creativity.” Ann
Check out what people say.
Each of Ann’s 8 day retreats has a certain theme. The chakra system is the theme for the 2019 Spring Breath Awareness Retreat - 14-20 October 2019. More information click here or contact Ann directly.
Breath Awareness Retreats & Breathwork Training
What a delight it has been for me this last year to have seen my meditation studio build and hosting 3 x 8 day retreats with another scheduled for 2019 October and already half full.
When I asked what the participants appreciated. They answered: "everything - the energy - the chance to travel inward - being with myself"
I have been facilitating personal and spiritual growth courses for more than thirty years now and the process both humbles and delights me.
I asked those participating to put in their own words what the course gave them: " a chance to see what is inside me and how it is connected to the whole - a balance between movement and stillness - a delightful journey of self awareness, beautifully balanced with clear intellectual explanations and varied theories; unexpected insights and personally deep experiences"
They are delighted to find local BnB stays and love the village - as I do.
Autumn Retreat 6-13 April 2019
This coming autumn retreat will be unique.
Participants will have the opportunity to experience
Robyn is the renowned author of Being Born - How your birth affects your learning, performance, lifestyle and relationships: A Handbook” She practises a very traditional form of Rebirthing Breathwork. She will cover theoretically and experientially the areas of the unconscious death urge, debilitating memory from a past lifetime, fragmented soul self, unresolved birth trauma.
Ann developed her trainings at the Tai Tan Centre that she created in the Hong Kong countryside, after having lived in Shanghai in order to pursue her study of Chinese martial arts and philosophy. She developed ways of describing the ancient paradigms of wholeness and the processes that an individual may use to return to that state of oneness..
For practising Breathwork professionals it is an ideal way to upgrade your professional knowledge and skills. For those who have experienced that power of the breath it is a way of diving more deeply into yourself and the power within.
In this faster and faster changing world we all need constant unchanging reference points to guide us. Awareness of the breath, experience and knowledge of how life experiences are mediate and created by the breath is an extraordinarily effective way of harmonising ourselves with life.
Contact us as soon as possible to ensure your place
An interview with me, Ann Harrison and Les Jensen at www.blogtalkradio.com
It was my pleasure a couple of years ago to speak with Les Jensen.
As I listened today I was delighted with how Les drew out aspects of my personal journey with the breath that took me Shanghai, my years in Hong Kong where I created the Tai Tan Centre - a retreat in the countryside by the sea. We talked about my approach to Breathwork - in working with clients and developing trainings.
This is quite a lengthy podcast. Great to listen to in the background. Especially relevant to those who want to know more about the power of Breathwork and are considering a longer workshop or training.
"Take a deep breath and relax into a Breathing Circle.
You will find ways of accessing deep relaxation, connection with like-minded people and learn a simple spiritual practice for inner calm and every day healing.
So, what is Breathing Circle? A Breathing Circle is a network of people who are committed to:
We meet once a month to celebrate the breath and introduce other people to this transformational tool."
Ref. Australian Breathwork Association
Conscious Breathing Circle Saturday 4th August
Time 2 to 5-5.30pm
Address Millthorpe Meditation Centre, 58 Victoria St
Preparation - please wear warm loose comfortable clothes and warm sock. [I have heating but in the process some people can feel cold]
If you would like to remind yourself about what Breathwork is, here are some links to information
1. What is Breathwork http://annharrison.com.au/AH/Breathwork.html
2. How to prepare for a session preparation
3. What people have said https://www.breathworktrainings.com/recommendations.html
1. Short 1min 30 sec extract from an interview I did with Jim Morningstar on Breathwork and Education https://youtu.be/J__dT0opUgk
2. Longer overview of Breathwork for those who are considering longer retreats - but it has in it useful information on What is Breathwork https://youtu.be/SQeHoLQRY7s
Real Creativity comes from our connection to self, to the creative power the lies within us, and which is part of a greater whole.
Breathwork is a way of connecting to that power through mindfulness, According to the great modern Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield, what keeps us trapped and unhappy is a denial of what is. This in tern undermines our freedom.
Kornfield suggests that there are four key principles of mindful transformation of difficulties, for which he offers the acronym RAIN.
R - Recognition
A - Acceptance
I - Investigation
N - Non identification
Recognition comes when we contemplate and/or concentrate and focus in the present moment. We can focus on external people and objects; and we can focus on our own state - physically, mentally, emotionally and spirituality. Since we are the source of our own experience, to know ourself and make friends with ourself and life, is to learn how to live with greater ease.
Kornfield says if we don't know ourselves or ...: " if we deny our dissatisfaction, our anger, our pain, our ambition, we will suffer. If we deny our values, our beliefs, our longings, or our goodness, we will suffer....Acceptance allows us to relax and open to the facts before us."
The easiest way to come out of denial and know ourselves is to begin with a focus on the relationship between our breath and body.
Modern Breathwork in the form of Conscious Connected Breathing has just that goal.
Kornfield goes on...Starting with investigation in the body, we mindfully locate where our difficulties are held. Sometimes we find sensations of heat, contraction, hardness, or vibration. Sometimes we notice throbbing, numbness, a certain shape or color. We can investigate whether we are meeting this area with resistance or with mindfulness. We notice what happens as we hold these sensations with mindfulness and kindness. Do they open?
By staying with the awareness of the breath, body and emotions we experience change and ultimately transformation.
By learning how to remain in a state or awareness, and not identify with our thoughts, emotions, body sensations, social roles, social group and culture we become free. In my terms - creative.
The Real Creativity workshop is an exploration of specific mechanism of denial, how we lock ourselves out of our own creative power. Participants will be guided and supported to use of the breath to investigate deeply what normally lies outside our conscious mind and expand into a greater state of awareness; and "every form of genuine awareness is liberating" [Kornfield]
For further information about the workshop you can read here or ring Ann Harrison on 0403-823-636
Ref. Jack Kornfield, 2011. Bringing home the dharma
Thich Nhat Hanh has said:
"To practice mindfulness of the body, follow your breathing and focus your attention on each part of the body, from the hair on your head to the soles of your feet. Breathe mindfully and embrace each part of the body with the energy of mindfulness, smiling to it with recognition and love… Identify the form elements in your body: earth, water, air, and heat. See the connection of these four elements inside and outside of your body. See the living presence of your ancestors and future generations, as well as the presence of all other beings in the animal, vegetal, and mineral realms. Become aware of the positions of your body (standing, sitting, walking, lying down) and its movements (bending, stretching, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, working, etc.). When you master this practice, you will be able to be aware of your feelings and your perceptions as they arise, and you will be able to practice looking deeply into them."
The words of the great spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh perfectly encapsulate the goal of this Spring Breath Awareness retreat 13-20 October 2018.
All the great Eastern traditions - yoga, Taoism, Buddhism - recognise the importance of awareness of the breath and its relationship with body, mind and emotions. Modern Breathwork practice is a powerful way to increase that awareness and knowledge.
Contact Ann on 0403-823-636 for further information or to enrol.