Most of us take breathing for granted; we know that it happens, and yet did you know that you can use your breath to feel more energetic, and experience greater peace and clarity in your life?
Having heard wonderful things about how breathwork can assist in reducing stress and improving health and healing, I decided to sample the talent of a local breathwork practitioner here in Atlanta, named Plamen Russev (pronounced Plah-men Rue-Sev). The information in this review comes from one session with Plamen, and an email interview with him. You can also learn more at: Soulful Breathwork Atlanta.
What is breathwork?
[Plamen]: Breathwork is a practice of active, conscious, continuous breathing that floods the body with oxygen. This flushes out stress, toxins, unproductive emotions and old beliefs in a completely natural, and safe way.
Why do people seek your help with breathwork?
[Plamen]: Since many people don't know much about breathwork, often curiosity brings them to their first session. After that, almost everyone comes back to breathwork for one or more of the following: stress or anxiety relief, peace of mind, mental clarity, emotional healing or release, continuing self development, spiritual connection, integration and wholeness.
Which specific physical and psychological health problems could breathwork help?
[Plamen]: The healing available through breathwork is uniquely tailored to each person and depends on the concern which is most ‘ripe’ for the person to address at any particular moment. Some experiences people have reported after breathwork include:
- Significant alleviation of chronic pain,
- Release of past trauma trapped in the body,
- Quitting smoking,
- Easing of stress, anxiety and confusion, and freeing long-suppressed emotions,
- Discovering one's personal power, unblocking one's creativity, and reconnecting with joy and playfulness
How does breathwork benefit us, and are there any downsides to it?
[Plamen]: The above examples illustrate that breathwork can help us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, sometimes in ways that are beyond our ability to put in words. The only way to know how it can benefit any particular person is for that person to experience first hand this safe, gentle and effective practice.
Aside from the general precaution for anyone with a heart condition to have taken their medications before breathwork (because the heart will be working harder in this active form of breathing), there are no known downsides to the form of breathwork I am trained in.
What was my breathwork session like?
The sunroom in Plamen's Atlanta home is a peaceful, tranquil environment; this is the location where he conducts his individual healing breathwork sessions. Before we started the session, Plamen gave me a brief rundown of what breathwork is, and a few hints of what I might experience. As I lay down on my back, fully clothed, my head was supported by a comfortable cushion, and Plamen sat next to me. He then started the music, most – but not all - of which had an underlying Eastern theme, and verbally guided my breathing, while also helping my body to relax. The music is especially chosen, and Plamen facilitates the mind body healing process with his gentle way of being, and soothing voice.
Overall, the session was very powerful; I could tell that changes were happening in my muscles and emotions, and I also felt very safe and comfortable, and very relaxed. At times I spontaneously laughed uncontrollably. The peace stayed with me for the rest of the day, and helped me to very calmly attend to an unexpected, and potentially stressful situation. This was my first time experiencing breathwork, and I recommend experiencing it with Plamen; I know that I'll return for more of this type of mind body healing.
What basic concepts do people have to understand to get the most from breathwork with you?
[Plamen]: Breathwork is not about working hard, forcing or manipulating results; it’s actually about opening ourselves to receive healing, guidance and support in ways we may not be able to imagine with our rational and logical mind. What we receive in breathwork is always timely and appropriate, even if it may be surprising at first. In this way, breathwork also helps us cultivate trust in the healing intelligence of our own body and trust in the world around us.
There are different types of breathwork; what is yours named, and why did you choose to help people with this one?
[Plamen]: My training is in Soulful Breathwork which I continue learning. The first time I experienced this breathwork, I was captivated by its gentleness. Simultaneously, I was awed by its deep transformational power which stems to a large degree from the gentleness. At the end of that first session, my entire being was permeated with the clear realization and desire to learn Soulful Breathwork in order to share its healing benefits and transformational power with my fellow human beings.
What do you do during a breathwork session with a client?
[Plamen]: In both individual and group sessions, if people have no prior experience of Soulful Breathwork, I always start by introducing and describing the practice. Then, I guide and support each person to begin breathing in an active, conscious, and continuous way. This usually lasts an hour and we wrap up the session by sharing what the experience was like, suggestions for appropriate self-care, and questions and answers. Sessions with people who have prior breathwork experience inevitably go deeper because we can begin to focus on specific questions, needs or concerns they have. The optimal format for individual breathwork is a series of 10 consecutive weekly sessions.
To experience breathwork with Plamen Russev, call him at: (404) 788-7686 or email him at: SoulBreathAtl@yahoo.com