Breath Work: Pranayama Breathing for Healing Trauma

Although it has been a challenge to keep my mind on solid ground these past three years, my exploration of yoga, breath work, therapy and writing as ways to manage all the moving parts has helped tremendously. Due to a medical recommendation last year to try Adderall for better focus, I avoid pharmaceuticals. One pill and I was off on a speed-induced orbit for the day, similar to a bag of Skittles spilling out on marble.

I had to seek focus in other ways. 

Four months after everything happened, I had a similar experience with anti-depressants. When all contingencies were removed from escrow and the sale of our family home a stark reality, I was helpless to stop the pain my children were in about having to leave. While the drug did help me manage the roller coaster of emotions, it left me bereft of any feeling at all, as though I was a living a few miles away from the heartbeat of my life. I was cocooned by an impenetrable numbness, which I suppose was exactly the point at that moment.

After two months, I abandoned them, opting for the rather harrowing experience of actually walking through the aftermath, drug free, which has not been easy. I did discover a product called Kavinace, which helps immensely for deep sleep and quieting the mind.

Thankfully, I also discovered breath work, or Pranayama breathing. “Breathe across your entire field of energy,” recommends the energy healer I am working with now. Learning to breathe on purpose is one of the most valuable and simple tools I have discovered during the past three years. It has given me access to the untended (and often unintended) emotional places I need to go, as well as the ability to move through them.

I am a shallow breather, a breath holder by nature, and since my breathing has been under my radar, I have had to make a very conscious effort to bring it to the forefront of my daily routine. Lying in bed one morning watching my breath, I noticed the minuscule amount of air I needed to stay alive, mere sips, going only collarbone deep.

I realize now how breathing this way has limited my entire range of emotions, and experience, in life.

It is profound to recognize that the connection to our inner wisdom comes through the breath. Developing an intimacy with yourself, what Mark Whitwell calls, “the sanctuary within,” is a foundational step in healing trauma. Or at least that is what I am discovering.

Throughout the day, begin to notice how you breathe and try this exercise. It is not Pranayama breathing, just a way to begin noticing your breath.

Close your eyes and for five breaths, imagine breathing in through your toes and bringing the breath all the way up through the top of your head. Visualize the oxygen illuminating every inch of you: organs, muscles, bones, even your cells. Then, as you exhale, visualize the air going down through your body and out through your toes. See the breath flowing outward from your feet, like a shimmering, billowing fog.

Have fun and experiment. See if you can begin to bring a steady stream of tranquility, and wisdom, into your daily life through the awareness of your breath.

Do you have breathing techniques that open the channels to your inner wisdom?


Who is Dianna Bonny:

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

  1 comment for “Breath Work: Pranayama Breathing for Healing Trauma

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    February 27, 2013 at 2:42 am

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