What is Conscious Connected Breath?
Conscious Connected Breath (CCB) is a technique wherein our breath (inhale and exhale) is connected, and the body is relaxed.
This is a breathing technique that can be cultivated as a tool for stress management, personal growth and physical wellbeing. Through facilitated sessions, we train your nervous system how to move into a stress response and, critically, return to rest afterwards. The more we practice this pathway, the easier it becomes to meet stressful events and circumstances and exit the stress-response physiologically.
When our bodies are chronically in a stress response, our internal stress reaction can make life feel stressful when it doesn’t need to be.
We cultivate an embodied understanding of what we are capable of feeling through, which in turn alters our capacity to choose our response rather than react emotionally or aggressively because our body is in a stress response. As we train our nervous system to self-regulate the way it was designed to do, we find things that were draining, stressful and clingy (ruminating over it well after it happened), are easier to meet with integrity and let go of once they have passed.
History and Lineage
Believed to be rooted in lineages from Mahavada Babaji, most likely brought to the global north alongside yogic practices, the Conscious Connected Breathwork technique is one of many branches including Rebirthing-Breathwork, Transcendental Breathwork and Holotropic Breathwork (HB). Christina and Stanislav Grof popularized HB in the aftermath of LSD and other psychotropic illegalization, substances that have effective therapeutic benefits and were growing a following in academic research.
The Science (Nerd Zone)
Scientific evidence is only beginning to explore the profound benefits of ancient traditions and practices. It appears that CCB induces a state that physiologically mimics hyperventilation, but with a relaxed body. This changes blood chemistry due to the shift of volume of O2 and CO2 exchange, while the movement of our diaphragms physically massage internal organs integral for homeostasis, digestion and detoxification. Based on Porges Polyvagal Theory (see resources), the process experienced in a facilitated breath session improves autonomic nervous system resilience and our ability to self-regulate.
New directions of research suggest it has the potential to encourage neural plastic change, allowing us to be released from a persistent high stress state, complex, developmental and/or event-related Trauma, which may or may not have led to a diagnosis of PTSD. Nearly everyone has experienced some form of developmental trauma (Kain & Terrell, 2018), which has a significant impact on the way our nervous systems developed and now interpret our surroundings. Developmental stressors aside, most folks in the global north have high levels of cortisol, a biomarker of chronic stress, which is reasonably correlated with typical daily stressors from the demands, costs and pace of our modern world. While our bodies are designed to adapt and respond to a changing environment (physical, social, etc.), and a stress-response is critical to survival and daily functionality, a chronic state of stress leads to disease and discomfort in our body and life.
It is well established that altering breathing alters nervous system activity. The nervous system is our communication highway both within our body and between our internal and external environments. When we change nervous system activity, we change how our external environment is interpreted and thus our experience of life itself.
From what we understand of the nervous system, this practice of Conscious Connected Breath (CCB) has the potential to be a highly effective therapy for a multitude of ailments including:
As well as support and enhance our capacity in the areas of: