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How breathwork changed my life

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Breathwork is one of the most powerful techniques for transformation. My own life is evidence of it.

I discovered shamanism and breathwork in a moment of crisis – and they opened doors of which I had not even known they existed. In this blogpost I share with you how within a short period of time, my life changed radically and sustainably for the better.

„This is how I want to feel more often: whole, healed, at home within myself.”

Succesful … outwardly ….

I spent a large part of my life being succesful. I graduated from a Bavarian High School with the best possible grades. I moved on to studying Political Science and Psychology at universities in Germany and Scotland. During my studies, I was a fellow of the German National Scholarship Foundation and the Bavarian Max-Weber-Programme. Already in my first years at university, I did internships in the European Parliament in Brussels and the Austrian Embassy in Cairo. I worked as a tutor and student assistant, and received much praise for my academic and professional performance on many different occasions. I concluded also my university degree with distinction and afterwards had successive research positions at three well-known German research institutes and universities. My research and work took me to Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nigeria, the USA and Canada. I was clearly on track for an academic career, and in the eyes of many of my peers and superiors with good chances for success.

... but internally overwhelmed and exhausted

Also in many other regards my life looked good: I lived in a nice apartment in Berlin, had very close, good friends and a wide and diverse network of acquaintances. I travelled a lot, was physically active, worked hard and as a way of “balancing” that also partied hard. (As so many people in academia do.) At the same time, I had to make a huge effort to keep all of this going. In particular after I had started working on my PhD research, I became increasingly exhausted. Often enough I had the impression that I was barely able to hold together this life of mine.

In the realm of romantic partnerships, my life was marked by many disappointments, there were many, sometimes harsh conflicts with my parents, and I also found my work increasingly meaningless. I was sick a lot and often exhausted, alcohol was an important - and regular - coping strategy. What started with exhaustion and tension increased more and more; external - only seemingly random - events led to more and more overload and brought old unprocessed traumas to the surface, until I felt that I urgently needed to do something...

On new paths …

"Breathwork and shamanism opened doors for me that I didn't even know existed."

In this moment of crisis, I did breathwork for the first time. What an experience!!! Never before in my life had I felt so whole and healed. It was as if the breath had sweaped out a lot of the emotional weight I had been carrying around with me. For the first time since I can remember, I felt completely at home within myself. What I experienced is not easy to put into words. It was an absolutely fantastic and fascinating experience. And I asked myself: how come I hadn’t known about this? Why hadn't anyone told me that there are such simple techniques that can make you feel so good? Why don't my many friends and colleagues, who also suffer from the stress of academia and struggle with mental health issues during their PhDs, know about this?

A new guiding principle: feeling whole

And indeed, the experience I had in my first breathwork session became my guiding star: that's how I wanted to feel more often. And I began to rebuild my life according to it. I began to ask myself: is what I'm doing right helping me to move towards and experience of wholeness?

The most immediate change was that I began to give mindfulness practices a firm place in my life. I started to mediate regularly and stopped cluttering my days with appointments. For the first time in my life, I also began to look into spiritual and esoteric topics. Completely in line with my academic habitus this meant that first I stocked up on books on mindfulness, kundalini, shamanism, self-love, working with the inner child, and so on. But perhaps the most salient aspect was that I began to question patterns of thinking, feeling and being that I had hitherto taken for granted. What I had experienced put many of my assumptions about the world into question. In my search for answers, I suddenly found myself confronted with completely new ideas and concepts about the big issues of life, such as relationships, meaning, sexuality, and human nature. Partly, this offered me an opportunity to understand many of my previous experiences in a new way. It also increased my awareness of existing patterns of thinking and behaving and provided an opportunity to review them.

Freer from burdens, free to be

From then on, things developed quite rapidly and at the same time very organically for me: I joined a trip to Mexico, which brought me in contact with new teachers; I met my partner (and by now husband), Luis de la Cruz, and moved to Mexico together with him; I started a training in shamanism and trained as a Clarity Breathworker; I began to orientate myself in my everyday life towards Toltec principles... And indeed, today I feel much better and more fulfilled than I did a few years ago. I am much freer from old burdens and also experience a lot of inner peace, joy and connection in my everyday life. I am more clearly aligned and able to follow my own path instead of living up to (societal) expectations that I unconsciously picked up while growing up. And both in my work and my personal life I see how this also inspiresothers to live their lives more freely and give themselves more space to be.

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