Portals Breathwork is a 2.5-hour small group breathwork workshop with live ambient electronic music in a beautiful ceremony space near the Whidbey Institute, offered one Thursday evening a month from 6:00-8:30PM. Ceremonies will include 90 minutes of breathwork with half an hour before and after for information and closing. Breathwork is an extremely effective way to help us to release, overcome, heal, connect, explore, transform, and awaken. Contact me for the ceremony schedule, starting in July of 2024!

The combination of breathwork, live music, and bodywork offers a powerful portal to the healing potential of your own psyche.

Breathwork alone is a fantastic way to move energy and facilitate healing. In order to overcome the effects of stress or trauma, we must discharge the stuck energy from our bodies. Breathwork is one way to do that. This approach appeals to those who are ready for transformation and want to take charge of their own healing.

Because breathwork involves “overbreathing,” it can bring up intense physical and emotional feelings as energy is coming up and out. Purposefully agitating our systems helps to move our tissues from a “freeze” state of immobility into mobility, which is essential in the healing process. According to Peter Levine, renowned trauma specialist, to discharge energy from stress or trauma, our nervous systems must first go into an aroused state before they can go back into a calm state.

This connects with Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory, which explains the role of the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for the “rest, digest, and heal” phase). This theory suggests that in order to move from a threatened dorsal vagal “freeze” state (numbness, depression, shut-down), we need to first move into a hyperaroused sympathetic “fight” state (anger, irritation, frustration) or “flight” state (anxiety, fear, panic) before being able to access the ventral vagal state where we feel safe (grounded, connected, and open).

Up to 90% of the vagus nerve fibers go from the body to the brain, which means that what is happening in the body is communicated to the brain, which tells the body how to react. Therefore, what we do with our bodies tremendously impacts our brains and how we feel. Through intentional breathing, we can drastically alter how we feel. Our lungs are the only organs innervated by the vagus nerve that we can consciously control.

Deep, slow, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the best ways to calm our nervous systems. Breathing this way sends the message to our brains via the vagus nerve that we are safe. Slow exhalation decreases heart rate: breathing controls heart rate, and not the other way around.

Extended deeper and faster circular breathing changes the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body and activates a tremendous healing response. By triggering the sympathetic nervous system response, we can bring negative physical and emotional symptoms up and out to access the ventral vagal state of feeling safe in our own bodies and in the world.

According to James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, “This breathing technique was found to really transform the mental health of so many.” He says, “We know it works,” it’s “extremely effective,” and “very much worth checking out.” See this clinical report on the effectiveness of Stanislav Grof’s Holotropic Breathwork, which Portals Breathwork is based on.

Beyond its healing capacities, breathwork is also a wonderful tool for personal/spiritual exploration and growth because of the “very deep hallucinatory dreamlike state” that it can elicit. Breathwork is an empowering way to achieve a non-ordinary state of consciousness without the use of substances and with no adverse effects. It can help you connect to your deeper self and your path in life as well as connecting with others and the world.

Group sessions can magnify the healing potential and sense of connection. Live meditative soundscape “synth bath” music by JP Paglia will enhance your experience and reduce potential distractions from others.

Music has long been used as a portal to the mystical.

Sound waves can be used to alter our vibrational states, helping to bring about shifts in perception and consciousness as well as affecting us on a cellular level. Music amplifies meditation and breathwork, allowing us to reach much deeper levels of release and healing.

Rather than using tribal instruments or crystal bowls, JP utilizes synthesizers, samplers, and a variety of effects, borrowing musical structures from the past but expressing them with instruments created in our own time and culture: a remix of shamanic tribalism, the psychedelic pioneers of the 1960’s, ambient electronic, and contemporary sound engineering.

JP underwent a rigorous program of psychedelic therapy to find his way out of the dark after the sudden unexpected death of his teenage daughter in 2021. His hope is to use his background in music, art, and meditation to help light a lantern for others as they navigate their own paths.

Bodywork is the third component of Portals Breathwork that can offer tremendous healing in and of itself.

See my bodywork page for more information. Bodywork can be used as needed to help release stuck energy. This can be done during the breathwork ceremony or after, in a private session.

The combination of this specific style of breathwork, original live music, and bodywork — as well as access to individual sessions for preparation and integration — is unlike anything else out there. We are so excited to share it with you and assist in your healing transformation!

Contact me with any questions and to register for our next event.