The Blog

Breathwork—the primordial essence of life that sets us free!

by others Jun 05, 2022

During the first week of October, 2017, Eugenia and Laura Altamira, accompanied by almost a dozen of international facilitators were invited to hold a Transformational Breath Foundation Seminar. Sounds normal, right? Only this time, it took place at the CERESO Morelia, Mexico, the Social Rehabilitation Center for women—also known in layman terms as “prison.” The organization of the event was assisted by Eugenia’s dear aunt and social worker who has been diligently attending the ladies at the CERESO every Friday afternoon for the past 13 years straight. And on a personal level, this experience had a profound and meaningful learning effect on all, not only from a personal front, but as members of this collective. 

Before entering, we were exhaustively searched for any hazardous materials. These investigations too place both externally, within all of our stuff we carried in, as well as internally, to check for all of our emotions. All of our usual back-jacks, pillows, blankets and boxes of tissues were as delicately examined, as we had to check ourselves for any worries, fears, anger, pain, sorrow or sadness. And fortunately, all things and emotions cleared for everyone, every day, every time! 

There was a lot of excitement and hopefulness in the air before arriving on the first day. Eugenia and the staff had organized a day-long TBF Workshop for the local interest in the city of Morelia. However, for many of us, this was our first encounter with a correctional facility, even as social workers. We were enthusiastic, yes, but mixed in with a few hints of anxiety and nervousness because of the surprise that lie ahead. None of us—and probably including Eugenia, Laura and their sweet aunt—had any idea of what to expect! 

On the day of our arrival to the correctional facility, however, we learned we had to endure an exhaustive interrogation, sign-in with the correctional official (who would also attend the Seminar, by the way), do a fully-clothed body search, and go through five different police checkpoints before entering the space with the in-mates. Along the way, beautiful roses sprung from well-kept rosebushes on the gardens fenced off to our sides— a poetic interlude and introduction to whom we would encounter behind those doors. Originally planned for 15 ladies, the Seminar extended to almost double in less than a week due to its phenomenal success and commitment to the program. Rumors spread quickly about the Seminar happening in the Chapel, and no later than a day did the security and administrative personal start to demand our services and attention. 

The ladies were of all ages, from different backgrounds, were there serving for many different reasons, and were staying for vastly different amounts of time. One thing that united them—as it unites us all—is that they were there to breathe. And through that breath, and with their permission, we were allowed to discover the shinning hearts that lay behind the closed walls of their emotions. Floods of tears and screams echoed constantly during our six-day Seminar. And we facilitators glimmered happily (and a bit machiavelically, too!) at how their hearts began to open up to the joy of life. Each and every single soul within that Seminar rejoiced by overcoming their emotional distress and traumas. Every person that attended gasped for that delicious air, as if receiving oxygen for the first time. Everyone endured a strict process of cleansing and purification, including ourselves. 

The stories are many and the experiences are not few. However, I will always keep to heart seeing Doña Guille, a 70-year old inmate with terribly destroyed hips and who required at least two of her friends to walk, or sit down, dancing cumbia to the joy of kundalini and during our celebration party, crying constantly “thank you God, thank you GOOD, thank you GOOOOOOOD!!!” And my friend Mary, commenting that after her first few days of doing breathwork in what is presumably a life-sentence at the correctional facility, she recognized that the true—and only—prisons in her life were inside her heart and inside her mind! MIND-BLOWING and HEART-FILLING! 

Without a doubt, we left the CERESO with overflowing hearts of love and appreciation, accompanied by our many handmade gifts and trinkets our dozens of friends had made for us inside the facility. The breath of life—as simple as it sounds—can create our exit- way strategy, if we allow it to be. We learned to recognize the CERESO as only a building, and nothing but that! May all of the wonderful ladies within the CERESO, as well as those of us outside of that building, continue to break away from the emotional and mental prisons that encapsulate the overjoying and radiant power of our hearts! 

In love, gratitude and with much, much respect and appreciation, Nando

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