I sat with Brigitte at our local health food store, Four Seasons, on a Thursday afternoon with pen in hand. She had agreed to meet with me and help me tell a story of hers; one that I knew I needed to tell as many people as I could. From the moment I was introduced to the power of Breathwork Meditation, I had to share it. Amazingly, through Breathwork Meditation and my own journey of coming to love and trust myself, I figured out how to share this story. While chasing and capturing my own dreams and desires, I could share something that allows us all to do this for ourselves.
The depth of Breathwork is, in part, the revelation of the power sitting waiting inside all of us. Knowing of this power, I was challenged by the question of how to get people to come to a Breathwork Class. I needed to figure out how to get the people who need this experience the most to come with me and open up their lives. I asked Brigitte this question and sat waiting for the step by step instructions to bring in the masses. And in her serene voice she stated, It’s going to fall into your life when it is time, like a book that you were meant to read. The people who show up are there because they want more for their life; they know there is more. I laughed at myself as I realized I already knew this answer, as it had happened just as poetically for me.
I discovered Breathwork on an unforgettable and beautiful car ride with my brother Jason in the summer of 2017. We drove along the Battenkill River where it nestled itself perfectly between winding country roads and deep mountains. We couldn’t stop talking about how incredible the ride was and how we had somehow never come this way. We were headed to Vermont to see our favorite band, Greensky Bluegrass. Not only were they a favorite band, but they connected us to our mother, who had loved the music too. With her gone now from this physical world, it is something that brings me close to her as I imagine her dancing alongside me to their sound that captivates us. The summer had been marked with great pain and transformation for me. I was sick with a stomach infection from antibiotics. The experience brought dramatic changes to my life as I knew it. I was scared and I knew I needed to heal holistically. My entire world, my motherhood, had been challenged and major life adjustments in the form of improvement were required of me. This trip to Vermont was part of the healing; to get out and dance and free my mind of my worries. We drove and my brother and I spoke to one another more openly than I feel we ever had. I felt raw from the pain in my body and mind. As we drove, Jason began to tell me about a class to which his friend Marci had invited him. He handed me his phone and let me read the message she had sent him with the description of Breathwork Mediation. The words captivated me as I read what seemed like an important piece of my healing. Meekly, scared that he might say no, I asked, Can I come? I have not since been the same. I have become a better version of myself, someone I love.
Breathwork Meditation begins with a three part breathing exercise. In through the mouth to fill up your stomach, in through your mouth to fill up your chest, then out through your mouth. As the cyclical breathing continues, you begin to feel the movement of energy throughout your body. Your body begins to tingle and vibrate and your journey begins. Brigitte explains the class as …an active meditation that moves stuck energy in the body (fear,anger, anxiety, grief and negative thought patterns). As a person breathes, their mind begins to open. When trying to understand what is happening to you after you first experience with Breathwork, or even when you try to explain the experience to someone who has yet to participate, Brigitte exclaims, It’s just love! It is connecting you to your source and pulling you out of your head into your heart. Most of us are making our decisions based on fear; we play it safe, she explained. Living in fear keeps us living small. Through Breathwork, we are finding our true essence, connecting to our true selves, as we heal parts of ourselves. Once we connect to our true self, then we align to what we need to do for ourselves instead of society. You are enough. We are all just looking for inner peace.
It was Brigitte’s own journey of self-love that brought her to Breathwork. I was really questioning self-love a few years ago. I understood it intellectually, but something was missing. People were always saying “be kind to yourself,” “take care of yourself”, “get a massage”, but something was missing from these actions for her. These things might help temporarily, she reflected, but there was something deeper. I was missing the full grounding to be connected to my soul. She continued to reflect on this idea of soul connection, speaking with friends and family about the concept, until it clicked what she was truly missing. All these actions were outward and temporary, and what she was seeking and needing was inward caring for the soul. She needed self-love where she would send to her soul and mind only the positive. While these massages and baths and chocolates are important and I will always have them in my life, they are not the answer to self-love. Self-love truly hit home and solidified itself in Brigitte in 2016 when her mother passed on, or as Brigitte beautifully states, she changed her address to heaven. She explained her mother’s death as a great catalyst for change. I decided that this is how I will live my life from here on out. We think negative thoughts about ourselves, we take care of others before ourselves, and we are left drained. Yet we are all just looking for this inner peace. Going inward and trusting and having faith in yourself is the key. You are the source. Four months later, on her own mother’s birthday, Brigitte’s sister passed on. Her lessons and reminders for self-love came in full force with these back to back deaths. I was fully committed. You fall off of it some days, but you bring yourself right back. One month later she had made all arrangements to head west and study Breathwork Meditation.
I suppose I imagined Brigitte had stumbled upon a class as I had in my own discovery of Breathwork. Truly, however, it was her lifelong journey and beliefs joining together and being reflected back to her in the form of Breathwork; it was a natural progression. So much of my life has led up to this, from teaching children and families and the formulation of my spiritual beliefs. Years of workshops, books, my background in massage therapy, yoga, and so many influential people along the way, all formed what has come to be. This was 25 years in the making. She described her early foundations in Catholicism on which her parents raised her and her nine siblings. She is grateful for this foundation and the lessons learned through it and the symbols that connected her to something deeper. She understood and valued faith, without faith-what is there? Yet the words in church were not making sense; they were not enough. As she grew and moved out on her own, she realized that it was nature that was her church. She was drawn to the natural world because it just made more sense to her. I understood her statements so completely, it was the same understanding to which my mother had come to in her life and had passed on to me. There are so many beautiful lessons to be learned through the many institutions through which we pass, but that connection to what is real and pure, waits for us in the natural world.
Brigitte finished up her certification in Breathwork Meditation in early 2017. By the summer, when our paths crossed, she had only just begun teaching. The practice of Breathwork, however, is centuries old. Pranayama, this controlled breathing, is ancient and old, but everyone keeps saying that it is like nothing else they have ever experienced, she remarked. There are a lot of people experiencing pain in the world. Breathwork is a way to work through it; a way to work through it with love. We can heal pain through love and not through struggle. This has been so well received by the community. I am seeing transformation and growth in people. This is the fastest route to healing. I just want to keep sharing it everywhere! Through Breathwork, you create a connection with yourself. Brigitte’s wish is for everyone to feel this soul connection just once. If you never had another class, just to have that connection to yourself, just once, to love yourself that deeply, would be something. Once you have accessed this ability within yourself to heal, to grow, to love inwardly, it is hard to ignore and not want to seek out more and more.
So you are asking yourself if this class is for you. In Brigitte’s words, this is accessible to everyone because we all have a breath. My heart wants to scream out to the world to come to a class immediately, but I know it must come to you in a time when you are ready. My heart and soul told me I needed more and it allowed Breathwork to find me. Until that moment, I had never heard the words Breathwork before. My own wish is that you at least open yourself to the possibility, without understanding the ‘how’ or ‘why’, that there is so much more within you. More love, more joy, more dreams becoming reality. Before I allowed myself to access what Breathwork can reveal, I was a girl stuck in her own head of self-doubt, unable to conceptualize a way of accomplishing my dreams beyond the safe and limited world I had created. Now, as I unveil the depths of my soul, I fall more in love with myself and revel in the joy brought forth from the realization of my unlimited potential.
Breathwork has been one of the most amazing, nourishing and transformational experiences of my lifetime. The energy created in each session is magical and healing, leaving me with a profound sense of joy and inner peace.
Through Breathwork, I felt the heartbeat of the whole world.
For me, Breathwork has been a beautiful journey of deep self reflection; an awakening! The power and potential of this type of energy movement cannot be relayed by my humble words. It is something that simply must be experienced. Brigitte is the perfect guide for this life changing adventure.
When first asked about joining a Breathwork Class I was excited, nervous, and extremely curious. I had never experienced an ‘active meditation’ before. In the first moments of arriving, Brigitte emanates comfort and positivity. My personal experience is hard to describe in words, but I loved it. My curiosity about Breathwork has grown and I look forward to the next adventure.
To sign up for a Breathwork Class, or to learn more, contact Brigitte Toussaint at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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