Indigenous Wisdom: Healing Women’s Emotional Pain with Ceremony, Ritual, and Breathwork

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Traditional Native practices like “medicine bowl breathing” can teach women how to honour themselves.

Every word and thought carries a vibration. If we are surrounded by healthy relationships and love, we hear the words that nourish our soul, and in time, these words become part of who we are, how we feel, and what we believe about ourselves.

When we experience abuse or spend time in an environment that is devoid of loving and supportive words and gestures, they too become part of who we are and the perception we form of ourselves.

Once we have deeply internalized these words and thoughts, they move from our mind to become deeply rooted within our spirit and body. They reflect outwardly, from within each of us, as heart ache and emotional pain.

Compared to men, women are often more spiritually open. So, the emotional pain that they carry runs deeper than it does in most males. Because we hold emotional pain in these deeper places, it affects our kidneys, heart, thyroid, and adrenal glands.

Each of our organs and glands have an emotional and spiritual function in addition to their physical function. The kidneys help us to feel safe and grounded to reality. Our heart helps us to know and maintain our interconnectedness to one another and all living beings, and it also brings a peaceful sense of wellbeing. The thyroid uplifts us and supports our creativity and, lastly, the adrenal glands help us to bring our desires into action.

When we allow deep emotional pain, such as fear, anger, and sadness to build up inside us, our heart becomes blocked, our body contracts, and the rhythms and natural cycles of our organs and glands become disrupted.

This disruption leads to the onset of mental and physical health issues, such as depression, anxiety, cysts, digestive issues, fibroids, and moon-time (menstrual)  problems, any or all of which can become chronic if left unacknowledged.

Women can begin to heal themselves by acknowledging the emotional stories and the deep pain they carry inside. Using the ceremonies, medicines, and practices offered by Traditional Native

Healing, they can learn and master effective forms of emotional release, such as the practicing of powerful ritual and ceremony, breath work, the learning of sacred movement, and finding their true voice.

‘Medicine Bowl Breathing’ is a simple but powerful technique that can be performed daily. The medicine bowl is comprised of the pelvic floor, lower belly, lower back, hips, and related organs.

When women are emotionally healthy, they feel the vitality, sensuality, and power through the deep connection to the heart. When we become emotionally sick, our medicine bowl becomes dirty and stagnant, and it becomes disconnected from the heart.

Medicine Bowl Breathing helps to clear the areas of stagnation and reconnect them to the heart, which, in turn, allows emotions to be released and deep healing processes to begin.

Learn the Technique

Start by finding a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. Place your right palm on your lower belly. Place your left hand on your heart.

Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your heart. Let your heart speak to you. How does it feel? Is it flowing, heavy, or light? Is it angry or sad? Honour and acknowledge these feelings by listening silently.

Now bring your awareness to your lower belly. Once again, listen to the story it is telling you and acknowledge this story.

Next, bring your awareness to your breath. As you breathe in, imagine drawing a line from the centre of your lower belly to your heart. As you breathe out, imagine drawing the same line back from your heart to your lower belly. Take deep slow breaths. Each breath gradually heals and awakens the broken or blocked connection between your heart and medicine bowl. When there is a shift, it can often feel like a softening or a letting go.

Spend ten minutes per day practising this breath work ritual. Give gratitude for the healing you receive, regardless of your experience, as much healing occurs within the deeper parts of ourselves before it ever comes to our conscious awareness.

Many women suffer from emotional pain. Much of this pain is repressed because they do not make time in their schedule to acknowledge their feelings. Regrettably, the strain of life’s demands does not often allow for this personal time. Traditional Native practices such as ‘Medicine Bowl Breathing’, performed daily, can teach women how to honour themselves and their emotional pain, and facilitate the emotional release needed to reclaim their power and regain their health.

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