THE EARLY YEARS OF BREATHWORK
In the early 1980s when I first started breathing consciously, Rebirthing was being born and taking its first steps into the world. The visionary energy which the American founding fathers (and mothers) brought to Europe was contagious, challenging, joyous, spiritual and profane. After having tried many methods to put my life in order, at last here was something which profoundly touched me and which really totally transformed my life. For two years, I did nothing but hang out with breathers every day – it was a fantastic experience. We learnt about our birth, money, loving relationships, prosperity, physical immortality and Babaji. We did sacred dancing, hot tub days, one year seminars, chanting and fire ceremonies. We also met together in the British Rebirth Society where we registered each other and discovered how our country cousins were faring in far flung places in the UK. Apart from the breath connection, we organized other events including theatrical productions, fund-raising shows and family picnics. I remained a member of the BRS until the late 80s. In 1983, Leonard Orr asked for people to go to Poland to teach Rebirthing and together with Roz Hanneman, Sharda Collard, David Wood and others, I went to help out. This was a formative experience for me teaching to large numbers of people in a country where I couldn’t speak the language. At times I found myself doing things such as having a whole family breathe together using only basic words and sign language or giving an interview on Polish radio. In 1984 I gave my first professional training in Italy where I have been living ever since.
Rebirthing now known as Breathwork certainly has become more professional and widely known all over the world with many books now published as well as media exposure in magazines and on television. In the early days we worked very closely with birth issues, personal laws and affirmations and the spiritual aspects of breathwork. Nowadays breathwork is being promulgated in many different spheres of life. Here in Italy, it forms part of new techniques for personal healing, stress relief and alternative medicine. We are blessed in Italy with many hot springs and so have the possibility to work a lot with water Rebirthing. Personally, I felt the need to work more closely with the body and so my experiences took me onto bodywork techniques such as Rolfing, Shiatsu, Watsu and Sensitive Gestalt Massage with Miguelangelo Bertrand. I also explored the world of emotional therapies such as Gestalt, Claudio Naranjo’s Enneagram and Postural Integration. I worked with Robert Fritz’s Technologies for Creating and Structural Consulting and I then qualified as a spiritual healer and teacher with Robert Jaffe’s School of Energy Mastery and learnt how to unite body and spirit which I guess completed the circle. I have been involved with the International Breathwork Foundation and its Global Inspiration Conferences for the past twenty years including a spell as co-president with Nemi Nath and Catherine Dowling.
All of these experiences have inevitably influenced the way I work with the breath and what I can offer to others from my own personal experiences. This is one of the wonders of Breathwork that each person integrates it into their lives and gives back in service what they have learnt in a wide variety of ways. Merkaba Seminars is about working with our energy bodies for transformation, healing and inspiration and for me is the perfect way to incorporate a diversity of approaches in an integrated way.