Wednesday, December 13, 2006

An Experience of Shamanic Breathwork

Ecstatic. That's the only word I can think of that even comes close to describing my experience with The Shamanic Breathwork™ Process as facilitated by the loving guidance of Anyaa McAndrew, Shamanic/Transpersonal Psychotherapist and Shamanic Breathwork™ Facilitator (and more!)

Similar to Holotropic Breathwork and Rebirthing developed by Stanislav Grof, and, in fact, 3rd generation of Holotropic Breathwork, this process is highly experiential and the wisdom and healing gained comes from each individuals inner experience. Shamanic Breathwork™ honors and blends the timeless wisdom of ancient traditions with the emerging new paradigm methods of healing and teaching. It functions as the rainbow bridge between these two worlds honoring the best of both worlds while creating a bridge for body, mind, heart, and spirit.

The process itself uses very simple means: it combines accelerated breathing with evocative music in a special set and setting. With the eyes closed and lying on a mat, each person uses their own breath and the music in the room to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This state activates the natural inner healing process of the individuals psyche, bringing him or her a particular set of internal experiences. With the inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content brought forth is unique to each person and for that particular time and place. While recurring themes are common, no two sessions are ever alike.

My own experience through this process had major elements. The first element was a combination of three extremely powerful sexual energy Kundalini experiences occurring at different times during the process. In yogic traditions, Kundalini is a natural force traditionally seen as a serpent, coiled, sleeping at the base of the spine in the sacral area. Because it most strongly erupts during orgasm, many equate it with orgasmic energy. The
Shamanic Breathwork™ Process begins with music at the bottom chakra, which can trigger this energy.

As sexual energy rises through the chakras via the inner flute and streams throughout the body, it cleanses and heals blocks, inhibitions, and wounds. And with enough practice and opening, this is what causes extended whole-body Tantric Orgasm.

The second element of the process was an experience of non-dual awareness, pure consciousness, or pure being. The best way I can describe this is as an in-body experience of the vastness of the universe, and my connectedness to it. I became part of vast universes, stars, and colors, a magnificent surprise and patently obvious. Problems dissolve, joy, wonder, and compassion arise naturally.

The third part, even more powerful than the Kundalini energy, and the state of non-dual awareness (how is that possible?), was an experience of compassion, love, and forgiveness of myself. During the 20 or so minutes of this experience, I found myself tightly hugging and embracing myself, loving myself, all the while gently sobbing at the experience of permission from me to forgive me and to allow myself compassion and to love myself.

During this, I was totally aware of what was happening and it's implications for me: If I could forgive and feel compassion and love for myself, I could do it with anyone, and that there was no separation between my self and others.

A caution: This process should only be experienced with a trained facilitator. Each person's shamanic journey is a highly individualized process and no two are ever the same. Some of the states of consciousness reported range from divine, otherworldly bliss states to the struggle to be released from negative forces in the psyche. Rebirthing is a common occurrence, as is the life review where one relives or observes their lifetime experiences. Old patterns of dysfunction may be brought to the surface. Addictions are sometimes healed during this process, as feelings such as grief, fear, rage and anxiety are released.

I highly recommend you find someone to facilitate this process in your life.....for me, I'm going to try and bring Anyaa to Seattle where she can facilitate a large group of people who would like to experience this firsthand.

There aren't many practices I can describe as integral by themselves*, but this comes about as close as I can imagine!

*Most practices are part of a larger group of practices, which when done together, become integral

self portrait photoshopped by Gary Stamper - click to enlarge


Anonymous said...

Gary-- Anyaa sent me your blog. I really appreciate your clear and enthusiastic description of your breathwork experience and the process in general. I am a trained Shamanic Breathwork (SBW) facilitator who lives about 60 miles north of Seattle on Samish Island, having moved a couple of years ago from Portland. Anyaa wanted to know if she and I could co-facilliate a daylong or weekend SBW in Seattle between now and June, her schedule being the limitation. I would love to set something up for a group of 10d-20 people for a weekend. What do you say? These days I'm working as a geropsychiatrist for my main gig so my time is limited as well. I will be doing a breathwork in Portland on Mar 17-18, which you are more than welcome to come to, and I will be back in North Carolina to co-teach an eight day Shadow workshop with my friends and teachers, Starwolf and Brad from April 10-17. Early May would probably be best.

My email is
I hope this gets to you as I've never read a blog let alone respond to one. Jeff Berger

Gary Stamper said...

Hi Jeff, I spoke with Anyaa tonight and she's going to setting a date for a workshop with you and your schedules. I look forward to presenting the two of you in your amazing work and to sharing it with others.