The session that took me from having zero interest in breathwork to becoming a breathwork practitioner...
In the first year of the pandemic, I accidentally escaped the iron ring of Melbourne’s intense lockdown and landed myself in Queensland. I’d been visiting family for a long weekend, just as the possibility of lockdowns was coming into being.
Hours before I was supposed to return to Melbourne I came down with a sharp fever. I was pretty sure it was a symptom of the ear infection my nephew had passed onto me, but there was a slight possibility it was the dreaded “big C” so I opted to stay in Queensland until I felt better. By the time I recovered, the borders were closing and there were no flights back to Melbourne.
I was staying at the Sunshine Coast, separated from my family in Brisbane and my friends, work colleagues and home in Melbourne, alone and unsure as to how long the situation would continue. For two weeks? Forever?
On paper, I’d landed a dream situation: escaping Melbourne's lockdown to subtropical beachside paradise, but the reality was more complex. I found myself alone, lonely and without much support except for check in calls from my mum, sessions with my psychologist, and quality time with my very loyal border collie, Luna. The only person I came into physical contact with during the course of a week was my barista, if my hand accidentally brushed his as he handed me my takeaway coffee.
Lonely in paradise
I needed support. I needed community. I longed for connection.
One morning, I was googling spiritual events on the Sunshine Coast, searching for something that would connect me with a new community, and a healing experience that would help me feel better about myself and the awkward situation in which I’d landed. I was scrolling through event after event, with only a “yeah, maybe” feeling (never reason enough to book) when suddenly, I landed on an event run by Daniel Coates, aka “Suntara.” It was a small group Rebirthing Breathwork and Sound Healing session at the Wonderdome in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
I’d heard about the venue (a small white dome in the forest with excellent acoustics), and I had always loved sound healing, but I hadn’t heard of Rebirthing Breathwork.
I’d never been interested in breathwork. I had always thought it sounded awful… I mean “breath” - yup, boring, something we do every day, what’s the big deal?! And “work”- something I didn’t want a bar of outside my normal 9-5. My housemate in Melbourne was a breathwork fanatic and had invited me to join her for a couple of sessions but I’d politely declined, not having any interest in exploring the modality AT ALL.
However, when I clicked onto the Suntara’s event page and was directed to a video of his ethereal sound healing, I was transported. I listened for half a second and knew I’d found my YES!
I didn’t even watch the rest of the video. I didn’t need to. That half-second was enough to convince me that this was the session I needed to attend.
Little did I know how much that decision would change my life.
The drive to the Wonderdome was long and beautiful. I had a feeling something special was about to unfold as I navigated my way through winding forest road after winding forest road toward the hidden venue.
During the walk from my car to the dome, I encountered adorable decorations, including a wooden spider’s web nestled in the small of a tree, as well as beautifully curated flowers and vines. The Wonderdome was in a veritable fairy garden!
I entered the gorgeous white dome, found a space in the circle and settled in. There were about 20 of us, led by Suntara and his assistant, who was one of those magical earth goddess people who exuded effortless hippie chic.
The session quickly lulled me into a peaceful, magical state, guided by singing, drumming, handpan and yidaki - and my own breath!
It felt like all the time in the world had elapsed and also no time, but during that session I felt a range of new and wonderful experiences coursing through my body.
At one stage, I felt as though a fountain of white light was flowing through my base, sacral and solar plexus chakras, clearing out years and years of physical, mental and emotional gunk.
I felt an incredible pulsing sensation in my hands, and smiled to myself as someone on the other side of the room began to laugh. I wondered what the laughter was about but felt no FOMO; I was enjoying being in my own land of awesomeness.
In that session I experienced a total and absolute bliss state that is one of the possible outcomes of a Rebirthing Breathwork experience. When Suntara guided us back to the room I felt as though I was in heaven. I gazed drunkenly around the room, absolute love flowing from my heart toward all the other participants. I had never known such joy, bliss, calm contentment and buoyancy. I was floating atop clouds of pink fairy floss, in an unpierceable bubble of fluffy blankets and whole-body hugs.
Following the session, I found out that Suntara was running a Rebirthing Breathwork practitioner training on the Sunshine Coast.
I’d had such a profound experience at the Wonderdome that even after only one Rebirthing Breathwork session, I signed up… not with the intention of becoming a practitioner, mind you!
At that time I undertook the course purely for my own benefit. If one session had made such an impact on my health and wellbeing, imagine an entire week immersed in the gentle power of Rebirthing Breathwork and in hot and cold bathing, fire ceremony and the company of incredible people.
A cure for loneliness, depression and isolation? Absolutely!
And so began my journey to becoming a Rebirthing Breathwork practitioner…