Conscious Breathing summary
We tend to take breathing for granted because it’s automatic, but the breath does far more than keep us alive. Conscious Breathing incorporates Buddhism, shamanism, and contemporary breathing techniques into a structured framework that can help transform your life.
Conscious Breathing notes & quotes
Here are my notes and quotes on Conscious Breathing by Joy Manné. My notes are casual and include what I believe are the essential concepts, ideas, and insights from the book, along with direct quotes from the author.
Prologue: Breath is Language
- “How we breathe affects what we feel, how we relate, how we live, how we think. It affects our physical and mental health, our personal and spiritual development, our state of consciousness. We are our breath, and our breath is the language that tells us how we are.”
- “Our habitual breathing rhythms regulate our emotions and state of consciousness. When we change our breathing rhythm, we alter our state of consciousness.”
- Breath language is especially rich in communicating emotion.
Chapter 1: Varieties of Breathwork Experience
- Probably everyone starts their personal growth or therapy for the same reason: Sufficient unhappiness pushes us into action.
- “Connected breathing” or ‘circular breathing’ means there is no pause between inhale and exhale.”
- “The breath follows its own path and reveals us to ourselves in its own way and according to its own rhythm.”
- “The energy changes brought about by the breath can bring back conception, birth, and other early memories, or painful and traumatic experiences, including past-life memories.”
- Breathing can also bring about ecstatic, altered states of consciousness.
- “Kundalini is the personal aspect of the universal life force names prana by the yogic tradition.”
Chapter 2: What Is Breathwork?
- Breathwork is an integral part of all spiritual disciplines and religions.
- “The way we breathe creates and controls our state of consciousness, and our state of consciousness influences the way we breathe.”
- “Shamanism describes a pattern of development and a way of living that fulfills human potential.”
- “Breathwork is inherently energy work.”
- After a breathwork session: our skin and eyes are clearer; our energy feels better, and we have more of it; we have more energy for our projects and relationships; we succeed more in all aspects of our lives.
- “Breathwork takes us firmly into the field of energy work, a new and growing form of therapy.”
- “We sense when we are vibrating in harmony with the Truth and when we are not.
- Untruth causes us suffering. It contaminates our energy field and our essence and takes away our energy and joy in life.”
- “All religions and spiritual practices are about the quest for the Truth.”
- “The first initiations concern the development of the capacity to be grounded and aware. Our breath teaches us to be in the present, aware of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.”
Chapter 3: Talking About Breathwork
- “Breathing work deals with physiological problems that affect breathing. Breathwork deals with psychological problems and promotes personal and spiritual development.”
- Rebirthing Breathwork is a breathing technique invited by Leonard Orr.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- “Diaphragmatic breathing is best for healthy people going about their ordinary lives.”
- “It happens when our in-breath first fills our abdomen, pushes our belly outward, then open out our floating ribs, and finally fills our upper chest right up to the top of our shoulders. Then our exhale does the reverse, emptying from the top of our lungs and ending with a retraction of the diaphragm.”
- Exercise: Breathing Into Your Body
- Sit comfortably. Breathe deeply low into your abdomen until your breathing rhythm
- has become constant. It usually does not take very long, perhaps five breaths.
- Now experiment. Try breathing into your heart. An image for this is to breathe as if the breath entering your body has a physical beginning that goes into your heart and is followed by the rest of the inhale.
- Technique: Sometimes, it helps to imagine an eye, or little goblin, at the beginning of the breath and to use that to explore an area.
- Now try breathing into the fingers of your left hand, then your right hand. Now breathe into your right foot and then your left foot.
- Now breathe into your head.
- Notice how breathing into each area affects your consciousness and energy.
Chapter 5: Grounding and Awareness
- Unhappiness is an excellent initiation into consciousness, and we are now consciously unhappy.
- Awareness feels so much better than not being aware. We inhabit our lives more.
- Everything becomes more vivid and more vibrant. We feel more alive. People are friendlier and become more interesting, and we even become more successful.
- Awareness makes life more pleasant.
- Fear and dread live in the belly.
- “Somewhere deep inside we know the truth.”
- Secrets and lies cause suffering. “The essence of grouding and awareness is acknowledging what is.”
- “Breathwork is a gentle form of shamanism.”
Chapter 6: The First Breathwork Session
- “Nothing is as powerful as gentleness.”
- As long as the breath is flowing, my sessions go well.
- When repressed feelings, ideas, and memories surface, the integration will take place, mainly without the need for intervention.
Chapter 7: Consciously Connected Breathwork
- “Transcendental and mystical experiences are normal and natural in breath work.”
Chapter 8: Advance Breathwork
- “Advanced breath work gives access to the most elevated states of consciousness, the deepest states of meditation, and the closest experiences of God or the Divine.”
- “Advanced breath work may give rise to both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
- All spiritual practices are designed to shake us up, challenge our thoughts and beliefs, make us uncomfortable, and disorient us so that we can find a better, higher orientation.”
- “In every advanced breath work session, the Ego dies a little as it gives ground to Soul.”
- “The key to advanced breath work is wise surrender. Ego has will, Soul has an intention.
- “In advanced breathwork, neither client nor breathworker are looking for change. That would be spiritual materialism.”
- “Power without fear is dangerous. Fear without power leads to helplessness.”
- Advanced breathwork brings up an infinite variety of religious experiences, from Christ-consciousness and Buddha Nature, to Oneness with God, deep insights into the meaning of there being only one God, and all the other experiences associated with noble religious insights.
- “We are dangerous to ourselves if we succumb to the spiritual materialism in any of its various forms: vanity, conceit, specialness, pride, feelings of superiority, self-righteousness, pretentiousness, inflation, dishonesty, and the rest.”
- “The more we inflate, the harder it will be to come down to the ground and to real life.”
Chapter 9: Our Infinite Breath
- “Mastery of the breath only occurs when ego is completely surrendered to Soul, and breathers can accept completely whatever is being experienced in the moment without fear or judgment.”
- “We use it to focus and concentrate, to be in connection with our mind and body, to discover the source of our problems and to heal them.”
- “It can be revelatory to become conscious that just hearing the name of someone we know can change our energy in a positive or negative direction.”
- “I accept everything you have given me and I will do my best with it.” — Bert Hellinger
- “It is through what we do with our shadow—through our own struggle with our light and shadow—that we earn our progress on the spiritual path.”
Chapter 10: Breathwork Shamanism
- Breathwork helps us develop personally and spiritually at the highest level, and it lasts.
- “Neither psychotherapy nor meditation is possible unless the sense of identity or ego is mature and well-grounded. Otherwise there is nothing to change and nothing to go beyond. A sufficiently developed self is essential for experiences to be integrated into!”
- One of our challenges is not identifying with any of the processes—seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, touching, and thinking—through which we function in daily life.
- As you move through your activations and healing, you become reborn into the person you really are.
- Throughout time, the young have sought fasting, solitude, and extreme physical experiences that involve confronting danger and altered states of consciousness through meditation and drugs.
- “In every old person there is a young person wondering how it happened.”
Here is a list of resources, including authors, books, websites, podcasts, and concepts mentioned in Conscious Breathing, which might be helpful for further learning.
- Wilhelm Reich
- Alexander Lowen
- Arthur Janov
- Leonard Orr
- Stanislav and Christine Grof
- Bert Hellinger
- Gundle Kutchera
- Binnie A. Dansby
- Larry Dossey
- Sondra Ray
- Hal and Sidra Stone
- Jessica Dibb
- Jim Morningstar
- Alara Kalama
- Uddaka Ramaputta
- Henri Ellenberger
- Karl Popper
- Pierre Janet
- Alfred Adler
- Carl Rogers
- Milton Erickson
- Mircea Eliade
Books and Publications
- The Breathwork Experience by Kylea Taylor
- The Ethics of Caring by Kylea Taylor
- Breath and Spirit by Gunnel Minett
- Rebirthing in Light and Love by Jim Morningstar
- Rebirthing and Breathwork by Catherine Dowling
- Birth of a Rebirther by Archie Duncanson
- The Body Remembers by Babette Rothschild
- Joy’s Way by Brugh Joy
- Breath and Spirit by Gunnel Minett
- The Discovery of the Unconscious by Henri Ellenberger