Interview with Breathwork Facilitator Sarah Sakotic-Sondermann
Sarah Sakotic-Sondermann is a certified trauma informed breathwork facilitator. Through her conscious connected breathing sessions she reconnects people to themselves, to others and to the whole. At Pura Vida 2022, she guided the big breathwork ceremony for over eighty people. In this interview, Sarah talks about the healing power of breath, her own journey with Pura Vida and what to expect from a breathwork ceremony.
When and how did your own journey with the breath as a healing power begin?
I believe that the breath found me. I had been looking for something to educate myself in that supports my own growth and that I can bring into the world for a while when at an afternoon - two and a half years ago - I listened to a guided meditation by Dr. Joe Dispenza and a podcast episode by Dr. Sue Morta, both pioneers in the field of quantum physics. They both addressed central channel breathing as a breathing technique which lets you breathe through the chakras and awakens your kundalini energy. This experience flashed me on such a powerful level that I knew: Breathing, you entered my life. I followed my intuiton and started my training.
You see your work with the breath as your purpose, right?
Yes. It is my purpose in life to bring breathing into the world. I feel that with every cell in my body. This is one of my tasks on earth.
What fascinates you most about the act of breathing?
Breath is life. The first thing we do when we are born into this physical world is to breathe, and it also is the last thing we do when we leave our bodies. The breath is something that is always there. It’s always with us, always for us. The most essential thing we do is breathing.
How would you describe the healing potential of the breath? Why is it so powerful?
I think the power of the breath lies in its multifacetedness, its diversity. There are so many breathing techniques and each one has a different effect on the body. There are the methods that activate the sympathetic nervous system, and thus energize the body, and there are those that allow the body to find peace and calm down. Already 5,000 years ago, the breath was used as a medicine - in yoga, in pranayama. The breath brings life energy into the body and into flow. If there are blockages somewhere, if it is tight somewhere, our chakras are blocked or one is tense - then the breath helps.
How do you use breathing techniques for yourself?
Every day I breathe 15 to 20 minutes. Breathing actually helped me to create a real morning routine for the first time in my life. The techniques I use differ depending on what my body needs. Sometimes it is slow yogic breathing, which brings me into a beautiful meditative state. Other times I realize I need intense breathing into the belly to massage my organs from the inside, to create space and become wide. At the moment, I do a lot of belly breathing with the 4-7-11 method.
How does this work?
It is eleven minutes of inhaling for four seconds and exhaling for seven seconds. When you breathe out longer, the parasympathetic nervous system gets stimulated through the vagus nerve.
Are there other methods you use?
To calm down my nervous system I also use breath in combination with sounds: humming or singing. And sometimes I even do a conscious connected breathwork session alone at home. I would not recommend this to everybody. I have learned to hold myself. The breath is my anchor and gives me security. But there are so many beautiful and helpful ways to walk your healing path.
What are your favorites apart from conscious breathing?
In general I love to work with frequency sounds, meditation, being in silence, dance, nourishing myself with soulfood and soulmates. I really read a lot to expand my knowledge, get inspired and then try different practices to feel what works for me. Also spending time in nature, being really present, and connecting to the medicine of plants is part of my rituals, as well. There is so much to explore - in the inner and outer world.
You founded ONE.breathwork to offer conscious connected breathwork ceremonies and held one of those at the Pura Vida Festival 2022. What happens at these ceremonies?
I open a room for people - a little universe even - to go into connection with themselves and their own bodies, their emotions, their subconsciousness, but also with other humans. An intense experience like this connects very deeply. Strangers come together in a room, share this experience and leave the room as connected human beings. You share emotions and energies. Everybody who joins brings the courage to look into themselves. It is like an intimate date with yourself and has a lot to do with trust and devotion.
How does a session proceed? Can you describe the scenario?
First of all, I explain exactly what the power of breath can do and what can happen on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. The breath is the direct bridge between consciousness and unconsciousness. It is important to me to prepare people well. Also, I have my heart set on the accompanying music. I give a lot of energy, time and love into creating the playlist for each session. The rhythm of the music makes it easier for everyone to find their own. The outside world gets turned off, I have eyemasks for everyone. The space I aim for is one with a warm and cozy energy - like a womb where you can feel salvaged and free to let go. That is also why I clear the energy of the room before every session. Then, everybody lays down and the deep dive begins.
A deep dive towards our heart and past emotions.
We come together to feel, yes. We connect to things that are deeply buried but still stored in the body. So, we literally make space - physically, but also on an emotional level, by reliving old emotions that are set free and given to the breath. Feel it to heal it is the credo.
This sounds challenging.
It doesn’t have to be, but it can definitely be the case - real ‘work’. I guide people with my voice, observing everyone’s breathing. Participants are supported through intuitive touch. Right after the journey we have a sharing circle for integration and I check how everyone is feeling and am available for everything that might come up in the aftermath. After care is very important and I want all souls to be safe.
You are not alone in this but have your angels to support you. What role do they play for the ceremony?
My angels are a very crucial support and backup. They are people that I trust and are completely on my side, who can hold space and support others with their love and presence. This helps me to be the eagle eye and keep the overview over the whole group. They are also an important mirror to be in exchange after a session.
What does it mean to you personally to guide conscious connected breathwork ceremonies? How did you experience the ceremony you guided at Pura Vida 2022?
It was unbelievably exciting. I am deeply grateful that I was trusted to hold the big breathwork ceremony. It was the first time that I guided a group that big and I am very thankful for my angels who supported me in holding space for over eighty people. Thinking back fills me with pure joy and a little pride as well. I completely flowed through the whole ceremony.
One year before, in 2021, you had participated at the first Pura Vida Festival retreat as a guest.
And it had been a life changing, transformative experience on my very own healing journey. To hold the ceremony at Pura Vida one year later was very special. I still get goosebumps when I speak of it. It was deeply moving.The energy we created all together was super intense. So much happened, so much was released. It was beautiful to see that everyone felt safe and people could let go. When the ceremony was over, I broke out in tears , because I was so overwhelmed. I will never forget this.
What have you learned through holding space for others?
I learned how much I love to be in service. This is very important when you accompany peoples processes, when you guide and use intuitive touch. Top priority is what the other person needs. You need to be aware to not, for example, try to calm someone down only because you yourself need it. The feedback I receive gives me a lot of self-confidence and gratitude. I can create beautiful spaces and hold them. I have this energy and power.
Looking towards an utopian tomorrow: What would you wish for in a future society regarding the power of breath?
I wish for a future where everyone becomes aware of their breath and the power and the wisdom of it. All our life, the breath completely flows by itself, and most people do not deal with it their whole life long, yet the breath has so much potential if you use it consciously. I wish that every person becomes aware of this medicine.
Why do you wish for this? How can conscious breathing contribute to a better world?
The breath can serve us in the most diverse ways and it brings a lot of presence - which is crucial in our modern society, where there is so much distraction, and you are everywhere except where you are right now. When you connect with your breath, you are in the here and now. I believe that the breath also brings a sense of oneness in the world. This starts with the connection to yourself, the breath can connect and strengthen that, but also to the universal as a whole.
Thank you, Sarah.
Please find more on Sarahs breathwork offerings here:
If you want to dive into your Pura Vida 2022 experience again, find here also Sarahs playlist that guided us so beautifully and safely through our breathwork ceremony journey.
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