Image taken from LSD psychotherapy by Stanislav Grof (1980)
Life in the womb can be as emotionally varied and complex as life outside the womb. This is what people report after Breathwork sessions. But how is this so? Medical science says that we can't actually remember life in the womb or our birth. There is no way it can happen because the cerebal cortex of the newborn is not complete, it is not myelinized (as it is called), and therefore no memory recording function is available to us.
So in a Breathwork session clients report oceanic feelings of bliss (a good womb) or a toxic womb (environmental toxins e.g. tobacco or alcohol) or a 'toxic' emotional environment.
So whilst Freud and the psychoanalytic movement tended just to focus on post-natal biography and the Freudian individual unconscious, discovering the perinatal aspect of ourselves process opens up a major door to healing distortions in our nervous systems. In my own case, I uncovered lots of repressed rage, even though on the outside I was a very nice guy. I traced this back to my high forceps delivery and being 'forced' out of the birth canal.
So when we undertake Breathwork, we can tap into some 'unremembered' areas and bring it up for processing and healing.
A major component of a breathwork session is lies in the realm of sensory experience. How do I experience my body in a non-ordinary state of consciousness?
We can feel tingling, changes in body temperature, tetany (pins and needles/numbness), subtle changes in the amount of energy in the body and not-so-subtle energy changes. In terms of my own early breathwork sessions, I had a lot of pain in my abdomen. Very intense spear like pain. This continued on for a least six or seven breathwork sessions where it gradually lessened then disappeared. From my reading it was related to some trans-personal story (past life or ancestral form of being wounded - literally!). This pain no longer occurs during my breathwork sessions.
Sometimes I have had sessions where I have felt totally leaden. Like I can't move my arm off the floor. Like some heavy tranquilizers have entered my system and I'll never escape them. But it does pass. This could be read as revisiting and integrating the drugs that crossed the placental barrier during the birthing process. A drugged mother generally also equals less quality bonding with the mother, hence less ability to bond with adults later in life.
Sometimes we just need to move our bodies. Thumping the floor, shaking the legs, moving the arms upwards, untwisting the neck. All these somatic responses are perfectly valid in a breathwork session.
So in summary don't be inhibited what your body wants to do in a session.