Updated: Nov 19
Moving to The Netherlands was supposed to be an exciting journey! However, right when I landed on Dutch soil, I found myself feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and literally burned-out (what I know now was a Samhain life moment, but
that is for another post). How dare I be depressed on such a fairy tale adventure! I quickly did what most Westerners do and sought out motivational speakers and mindset coaches to get me out of this inconvenient funk. But all the self-help and personal development tools were just making me feel worse about my-self, as if I wasn’t good enough because I couldn’t think my-self to be productive or feel happy and cheery again.
Eventually I came across a crazy Dutch man on Youtube (who snow climbs in shorts and plunges in ice water) named Wim Hof. Wim would make his rounds on different podcasts and talked about embracing the cold and using pranayama breathing to build resilience. I wasn’t quite ready to cold plunge, but I was willing to try his breathing technique. I admit, it wasn’t easy to start making it a daily practice, most days it was hard making it out of bed by noon. Somehow, I managed to make a deal with myself, that once I got out of bed I would lie down on my mat and do one round of breathing. One round consisted of 25 deep belly breaths finished with a breath hold. At first, that was all I could do, and some days I couldn’t make it out of bed, so I did it in bed. But eventually I started doing 2 rounds, then 3, making it up to 5. This was the start of my healing and my breathwork journey. Just letting the breath guide me to the stillness, the pain, the darkness, and the knowing that everything was ok- it was okay to not be okay.
Just before the pandemic hit, I found a yoga and meditation center in Amsterdam that held Wim Hof classes and other Breathwork classes. Only problem, it would be hard for me to get there from where I was living, plus, I didn’t have the energy to physically attend a class. (Do I dare say?) thankfully, the pandemic hit, and it inspired the center in Amsterdam to take its classes online and I was able to take a variety of breathwork classes from a variety of instructors- from Wim Hof method to conscious connected breathing.
I found myself taking one class a week because I could just feel so much heavy stuff leave my body. I started taking cold showers and embracing the icy NL weather. I started to have aspiration and dreams again; even had a vision of being a breathwork facilitator for women. I had the energy to enroll and finish my first breathwork certification course; Control your Breath, Control your Life (from one of Wim Hof’s “disciples” no less!). I found the courage to start facilitating breathwork and meditation classes, both online and in person, to the community of Expats living in my area.
I can’t claim Breathwork is a magic bullet to solve all problems, nor the only modality that contributed to my healing journey; however, it was a godsend. Through Breathwork I was able to turn off the critic in my head, soften the resistance to hold onto pain and grief, let go of life goals that were not aligned with my soul’s purpose, and connect with a Higher Power and state of consciousness unlike I ever had.
"With every breath, the old moment is lost; a new moment arrives.
We exhale, and we let go of the old moment. It is lost to us.
In doing so, we let go of the person we used to be. We inhale and breathe in the moment that is becoming. In doing so, we welcome the person we are becoming. We repeat the process. This is meditation. This is renewal . This is life"
- Lama Surya Das -
Sending love to wherever you are on your journey!