About Our Guest- Edward Dangerfield
Edward Dangerfield is a breathwork, movement and meditation specialist. He’s trained in Nervous System Health, Chinese Massage & Pressure Points, Breathwork, Nerve Flossing, Qi Gong, Biofield Energy Healing, Yoga and Meditation. Having been caught in an avalanche, and suffering from PTSD, Edward went on a path to discover how to heal himself. Through this experience, Edward has developed a deep passion for using breathwork and movement to heal the nervous system. Edward is the founder of Biology of Breath and Breathwork Bali.
Full Podcast Transcription
Edward Dangerfield 00:00
If I start to pant really shallow, I\’m creating an activation response. My breathing is changing my blood chemistry and my blood chemistry is changing the whole sensations in my body, including which areas of my brain are active or inactive.
Diva Nagula 00:22
Hello, this is Dr. Diva Nagula. Welcome To From Dr. To Patient, where our goal is to bring you topics of discussion that will educate you on the various healing modalities to help balance the mind, body and spirit. Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of From Doctor To Patient. This is Dr. Nagula here, and today I have the pleasure of having Edward Dangerfield all the way from Bali, and he is joining us this morning and he is about 13 hours ahead of us so it\’s really early morning for him. Edward Dangerfield is a breathwork, movement, and meditation specialist. He\’s trained in Nervous System health, Chinese massage and pressure points, breathwork nerve flossing, Qigong, biofield energy healing, yoga and meditation. Having been caught in an avalanche and suffering from PTSD, Edward went on to discover how to heal himself. Through his experience, Edward has developed a deep passion for using breathwork and movement to heal the nervous system. Edward is the founder of Biology of Breath and Breathwork Bali. Edward, thanks for joining us. Good morning to you.
Edward Dangerfield 01:35
Thanks so much. It\’s an honor to be here. I appreciate the invitation.
Diva Nagula 01:38
Absolutely, this is fantastic. I\’m really looking forward to this. So as I\’m reading your bio, I\’m thinking to myself, wow, way I got to hear more about this avalanche. Tell us a little bit more about that before we dive into the pearls of breathwork.
Edward Dangerfield 01:56
Yeah, thanks so much. I think some of us have had those really pivotal experiences in our lives, which really changed the course and trajectory. And that was definitely one of the biggest for me. I was living and working in the mountains of Whistler in Canada for 15 years, and really enjoyed my time there and was profoundly involved in winter sports and ski touring, specifically self-propelled ski touring. So I was out of the ski resort of Whistler I was off the back of the resort, essentially, behind where the lips are in an area that wasn\’t controlled by ski patrol. And I was skiing some fairly mellow terrain, but still kind of interesting. And unfortunately, as as fate would have it, the whole of the mountain decided to stop moving with me. And yeah, it was a really interesting experience something that\’s you know, the ground under your feet being stable and and suddenly not being stable anymore is profound. And so I went for a bit of a ride, essentially like a near death experience, which resulted in a lot of trauma, and then subsequently a lack of completion of the trauma or lack of completion of movement of the energy that mobilized to save my life, resulting in ultimately in PTSD, what would be classified as PTSD, or even potentially CPTSD. And so yeah, that was the beginning of a, of a change in direction. I was like, okay, I\’m gonna have to figure this out.
Diva Nagula 03:14
I mean, obviously, you experienced some physical and emotional trauma. So I guess there was probably a period of time where you were just not getting better. And then at what point did you just like figure out that you really need to take a deep dive and figure out what to do to improve your health and physical well being?
Edward Dangerfield 03:32
Yeah, thank you. Things didn\’t get better for some time, like to be honest with you. But the the tools that I had really were like, very, very simple. And I didn\’t understand the mechanisms that were at play within my human body. And so I started to drink. And I was using alcohol to numb my pain; that will only work for a certain amount of time, until the body actually just says, this is this isn\’t gonna work anymore. So I hit a real low point of depression, and at the time, I was really contemplating whether to continue living or not. And I think it was around that time that I made a choice, it was a very conscious choice where I was like, this is there\’s gonna be another way. And I think it was that that real low point was the turning point. And I just made a choice to reach out and get some quality help and support in a variety of different ways. And I was just like, you know, I\’m, I\’m going to pour everything that I have into learning how to heal myself. And I suppose part of it was a recognition that I\’m not okay. And, and that\’s okay, but I need to, I need to figure this out.
Diva Nagula 04:27
Right. And then what, so what exactly did you start doing to change things around for you?
Edward Dangerfield 04:33
Yeah, I think it was an environmental factor was one of one of the biggest issues just was like, what is the best environment for myself for healing at this time? And how does that look? And so I just, I created a really great environment for healing. And so yeah, physically how that looked was, I actually went back to a really simple work. I downshifted out of the industry that I was in I was I was a restaurant owner, and I quit the restaurant business in the ownership role, I went back to bartending. I created four nights a week bartending job that was really well paid. And I devoted the rest of my free time to movement, meditation, reading, and good healthcare practices. And then I built a team around me, I started practicing yoga often, meditation, acupuncture. And then I started training with my first teacher, which was in biofield energy healing, which was a very clinical approach to, you know, maybe what some people would call Reiki. And that was a year my teacher was trained in a three year program and Langra College in Vancouver, and like accredited, and it was very clinical. And that was kind of my first foray into expanding my own skill set, ultimately working with her so I can heal and then start practicing. And so that container was beautiful. Yeah, it was really, it was really great. And then after that I took five months out, and I went and lived for the summer, I took the summer off, I went and lived on a farm in Portugal. And I connected to nature, and I practiced meditation and movement every day. I pulled the plug on my life, basically, I was like, how can I really support myself on this healing journey?
Diva Nagula 06:04
And I guess during that time, did you discover the whole healing modality of breathwork, and how that was really resonant with you and how I\’m sure at that time, you wanted to really start teaching breathwork to people.
Edward Dangerfield 06:18
Yeah, so it was a really slow, steady process, I quit drinking, I changed my diet when very clean and moved into a paleo diet. I was really structured and rigid with myself. And it wasn\’t until probably a year later that I actually found my breathwork teacher who was a gentleman called Robin Clements, and I started studying with him. I\’d already had a huge amount of experience in in trauma awareness. And I\’d done a variety of different courses, including some courses in Chinese medicine and Chinese massage. So when I arrived into the world of breathwork, I already had a great understanding of the nervous system and study the work of Dr. Peter Levine and Steven Porges; I was aware of a lot of different modalities. And then when breathwork landed, it was like the missing piece; for me, it just bought everything that I\’d already studied together. And it was like the hub of the wheel. It was the center, I embraced it. That was it. I just dived in, I was like, let\’s do this – this is it, like this is beyond, for me in this moment.
Diva Nagula 07:14
And then I guess at that point, I mean, well, at what point did you want to start bringing breathwork to people? It had such a great impact on you, and you saw such a transformation, along with all the other modalities that you were practicing. I mean, there was, I guess it just became something natural for you.
Edward Dangerfield 07:31
So I guess the want and the desire to share that the teaching was immediate. And raining training under Robin was was beautiful because it gave me an opportunity to recognize the requirement to slow down. And even now, that\’s still something he reminds me to do is to continue to stay steady and humble and slow with my path. And the recognition is, you know, he\’s been teaching breath for a very long time. And he\’s been practicing and using it for a very long time. And so I love to share these teachings and I just always check in with myself, am I doing it in a steady and integral way. So whilst the desire was there, and it\’s still there, I\’m still so stoked on breath. I\’m really, I\’m really slowing it down. And 2020 is a year of consolidation for me of like writing more manuals and getting deeper into the material and creating more content firstly, before, you know training more practitioners will bring more practitioners through a training program.
Diva Nagula 08:27
That\’s fantastic. And let\’s get into a little bit about like how breathwork works. You know, I\’m, some of my listeners are already familiar with some breathing techniques, I actually had a pranayama teacher, whom I had on the podcast, one of my first podcast interviews that I did, it was actually really good. And I actually enrolled in some of her classes. So I\’ve been learning some pranayama from her. And that\’s really been helpful for me in terms of becoming more into a parasympathetic setting. And I\’ve done some breathwork in the past, not a whole lot. But it\’s been amazingly profound in terms of what I experienced, you could definitely feel the energy movements throughout your whole body. And that\’s just to me, it\’s just fascinating just from breathing, you can elicit such a powerful response. Talk to us about what it\’s doing and how you evoke the breath work potential in our bodies and moving energy.
Edward Dangerfield 09:22
So I think the first point of going into for me is the recognition of the nervous system and the endocrine system. So I love studying body systems. And the first one for me to really touch upon is the idea that our endocrine system, which is our glands, changes our blood chemistry. And as an example, the most profound one will be the adrenal gland. Like that\’s what a lot of people have heard about. And so, adrenaline, when it punches through our bloodstream, it actually creates a huge amount of strength, resilience, and it also changes our brain state. So it shuts down on prefrontal cortex is and the gateway for that to the amygdala. And so when that area is closed, we no longer have such a capacity for empathy or compassion. Now the reason for that is so we can outrun a tiger and outrun our friends, we don\’t want to be caring about them, we want to be caring about ourselves. And so this is an evolutionary pathway. And it\’s really important because it\’s allowed us to stay safe in potentially threatening environments. Now, the endocrine system is paired to the nervous system. And the nervous system is directly paired to our breathing. And so on our inhale, we actually activate, we turn everything on a little bit in our glands, so our adrenaline response becomes a little fuller. And on our exhale, we actually relax and our whole endocrine system down shifts. And what we\’re talking about here is the sympathetic nervous system being an inhale, and the parasympathetic nervous system being an exhale. And so these two are always working in harmony; I\’m inhaling activating, and I\’m exhaling, relaxing. Now the rhythm and balance of my breath is going to change which branch of my nervous system is more or less active, which is going to change how my glands are responding. And so if I start to pant really shallow, I\’m creating an activation response. And that\’s going to shift my adrenal response, which is going to change my brain state. So right there we can understand my breathing is changing my blood chemistry. And my blood chemistry is changing the whole sensations of my body, including which areas of my brain are active or inactive. So in that moment, I\’ve just demonstrated that breathing changes thinking. So the profound impact of breath is huge. And beyond that, if my breathing is only capable of operating in one way, ie a shallow pant, I\’m always in an adrenal response. And so I\’m living in fight or flight. And that was my experience after the avalanche, I was stuck in a one type of breathing pattern, right? And so what did I do? I numbed it with alcohol, and we could numb it with anything. But when my breath pattern is stuck, I\’m only living in one state. When my breath pattern is fluid and dynamic, I can live in all states, I can be relaxed, and I can be aggressive and charged if I\’m surfing, or I can be very, very calm. If I\’m cognitive, I can be socially engaged with someone. Now my breathing is going to reflect shifts in my blood chemistry. The beauty of being able to live in all ways is available to us if our breathing is dynamic. And so I love breath work, because it allows us to create more dynamism in the breath; we release holding our tension in the fascia, in the muscles in the whole nervous system. And we allow people to be able to breathe in all different ways. So they can live in all different ways.
Diva Nagula 12:43
Now, well said Thank you, that was a really good explanation. I like to remind people it\’s like, breathing is the one thing that our bodies can do both consciously and unconsciously. And so it\’s just a beautiful thing to think about that and how it works, as you just described,
Edward Dangerfield 13:01
Totally, so I love that. I love that level of awareness. It is the one body system that we have a choice over. And also we don\’t have to. And so in that moment, we recognize it is the gateway into the subconscious mind. Freudian psychology stating it\’s an iceberg theory of the mind. 10% is conscious. 90% is subconscious. What are those subconscious processes that are running, essentially, our choices in life? Our emotions are guiding us, our emotions are basically deciding what choices we\’re going to make below that in the 90% subconscious. And so as you raise that level of awareness around breath, it becomes the doorway into the subconscious – it becomes a doorway into why am I motivating myself to do these things? Why am I living in this way? And so for me, that\’s where it\’s the most profound. I kind of think of it as the trump card. It\’s like, we can do anything in our lives, we can change our diet, we can change, you know, the fluid that we\’re drinking, we can change your exercise protocols, but we\’re breathing about 23 to 26,000 times a day. And beyond that, seven to eight hours of that subconscious, we\’re asleep. And so we are sleeping for a third of our day. If our breath pattern when we\’re asleep is shallow, we\’re simply reinforcing old pattern, and we\’re not actually relaxing and resting. So one of the big focuses that I work on with breathwork is how to change the subconscious breathing pattern. That is the pattern when we\’re asleep.
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Diva Nagula 15:23
You\’re equating breathwork with the road to the subconscious. And I think actually Freud actually said that dreams are actually the road and path to the subconscious. So it\’s interesting to me, there must be some correlation between dreaming and breath and breathwork.
Edward Dangerfield 15:38
Yeah, totally. So when Freud says that he\’s really looking at dream states, and he\’s
looking at an altered or non-ordinary state of consciousness. And so it\’s really interesting that that I believe, is speaking to theta brain state, when we start to look at the different brain states, we can actually correlate certain breathing patterns with certain brain states. So when, as an example, we\’re in a high tone, parasympathetic nervous system state, and our breath is connected and fluid, we know that the brain is now operating in theta. And when the brain is in theta, we have access to the subconscious material that would also be available to us in a dream state. And so there\’s a variety of other techniques that we can use to access those, that subconscious material. The essence is when we\’re in theta, our nervous system is incredibly neuroplastic. And what that means is it\’s malleable and changeable. And so we can essentially rewire old patterning and conditioning and subconscious beliefs, and we can release them.
Diva Nagula 16:36
And I\’m assuming this is how you can process buried emotions, because of the fact that you\’re actually tapping into the subconscious breathwork.
Edward Dangerfield 16:47
Exactly. So when we\’re looking at subconscious, we\’re saying this is something that my body has taken, and it\’s buffered it, and it\’s jammed it down inside me to deal with at a later date. Now, that\’s beautiful, what an amazing technique and technology that the human body has – I\’m in a state of overwhelm, I\’m going to take all of the stimulus, and I\’m going to submerge it into my system, so that I can process it out. Now, here\’s the key piece – we need to process it out. And so with breathwork, what we have is a container and a technique and an opportunity to bring up those old emotions that we didn\’t have space to be with and to process them. So taking the example of my avalanche, when I was in the avalanche, I didn\’t have an opportunity to actually complete the trauma cycle, because hey, I\’m still off the back of a mountain, and I need to get home. And so it would only be getting home would actually give me the opportunity to process out that trauma. And so breathwork gave me a container and an opportunity to go into those big experiences that I had previously stored and buffered in my cells and tissues, and to breathe into them and to relive them. So ultimately, yeah, I was reliving these big cathartic journeys in a super safe space, being guided by a quality and qualified practitioner. And in that moment, I was able to unearth this old stuff that was in me, relive it and feel it viscerally, feel the chemicals move through my body, and then relax and get complete on it so that it was no longer running in the background. And what I kind of think of is like trauma is like open windows, and the more unprocessed emotional experiences that we have jammed inside our body and buffered into our system, the more
disregulated we\’re going to be, and that will show up immediately in the breath. And so when we modulate and change breath pattern technique, we have an opportunity to bring up those experiences, bring them out of the subconscious, relive them, and then know that we\’re safe and complete. And essentially, we close the window. It\’s no longer running in the background. And now we have more clarity in our life. And we can choose how we\’re living in a totally different way.
Diva Nagula 18:47
When these emotions resurface from the subconscious, do they manifest by just thoughts and patterns that may have been buried, and memories that are just been put aside that are coming up? Or does it come up through somatic types of releases, or both?
Edward Dangerfield 19:05
Yeah, both and everything. And thank you for bringing that up. And I love your level of awareness around trauma and what we\’re speaking to here, thank you. So it shows up in a variety of different ways. And it really depends on the quality of the of the trauma. So as an example, it might be, in my case, an avalanche would be a very big physical experience. I relived all of the movement patterns, again, that kept me alive, my heart rate climbed, my breath shifted, and now I was in a treatment room being observed by a practitioner, going and living this experience. And so when I\’ve held space for someone that say had a near drowning, we would see that that would be the same, they would go through the same body movements of the near drowning. So these are big, single traumatic experiences that we can speak to and we really associate that as trauma. The deeper piece is the low level kind of insidious cultural or behavioral pieces that we may have grown up with. So an example of that would be \”big boys don\’t cry.\” Now \”big boys don\’t cry\” is a super toxic thing to say to anybody. And what it does is it suppresses tears. And tears are a natural physical response to the release of emotion. And of course, men need to cry; with the reason we have tears is so that we can create a physical change in our endocrine system. And so, if we\’re suppressing tears, what we\’re going to find is that that\’s going to create some holding intention in the jaw. And that holding intention in the jaw is also going to spread into the thyroid and parathyroid. And what that will do is it will affect the quality of the exhale. And so the vocal cords, which is one of the diaphragms with breath in the body, they\’ll slightly contract. And so what we see is when I read someone\’s breath, I\’ll hear there\’ll be a slight murmur in the vocal cords, it\’ll be like a bit like Darth Vader. And so what we\’re hearing is this tension in the throat. Now the reason is tension in the throat is because that child was told that they couldn\’t express themselves. So they developed over their childhood capacity to create a maladaptive behavioral program. And now that\’s running. And so they continually don\’t express themselves. So how does that show up? Well, they don\’t speak that truth. And they become basically filled with emotion, which will then lead to a huge outburst of potentially anger and rage. So what we\’re seeing with men is if we suppress our emotions, we\’re going to explode. And that\’s because we haven\’t been free to actually be with the sensation that\’s moving through us. And so that would be like one example of, of how someone would then
release would be using the vibration of aum or using sound or even primal screaming to release in an authentic way the throat to create more clarity in the vocal cords. And we would then hear that the breath is corrected. And then now the exhale is just falling, obviously, like it would fall without control, there would just be ease on the exhale.
Diva Nagula 21:57
And taking us back to that example – we were talking about a person who is taught to not be able to express their emotions as a younger person or whatever reason. That\’s a lot of years of just buried trauma. Does it take multiple breathwork sessions to get over and reprogram that person?
Edward Dangerfield 22:15
Yeah, that\’s a great question. So the the power of working in non-ordinary states of consciousness creates massive neuroplasticity. And what I\’m speaking to is pranayama is not the style of breathwork I teach in practice in clinic. Now, I teach and practice pranayama as well. But those are conscious techniques. It\’s like inhale for four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold out for four. Right? That\’s very conscious, what I\’m teaching is something totally different. We\’re using a technique that just allows a non-ordinary state of consciousness, essentially moving down into a theta or trance-like state. And we\’re then inviting a repatterning, when essentially, the body is totally neuroplastic, it\’s malleable. And so we can rapidly effect change in the area that we\’re holding, or moving or speaking to. And it sets – well, what happens is it shifts it changes, and then it sets, so that pattern is gone. And it can be as rapid as, depending on the area, it can be as rapid as one session. And that\’s where this style of what we call conscious, connected breathing, and specifically clinical trauma aware, conscious, connected breathing is incredibly powerful for repatterning, subconscious beliefs and any unprocessed emotion that\’s held in the physical body.
Diva Nagula 23:33
So the essence really, in what breathwork entails is really getting someone into that deep, you know, theta state. And then that\’s where all the magic happens.
Edward Dangerfield 23:43
Totally, that\’s it. And so we can teach conscious breath work as much as we want, it will have an impact on the breath pattern, it will change it to some degree. And of course, it\’s going to be going to be healthy and beneficial. However, if we want to create really deep, profound, immediate change, it\’s been my experience, and what I witnessed with all of my clients is that when they drop into the theta state, when in a altered state of consciousness, the repatterning is so much more rapid and effective. And also, what I said is it sticks, it\’s done. It\’s like, there\’s no need to practice it anymore. We just created the change. And they walk out of there, out of the clinic room with a totally different breath pattern. And then they come back and see me the next week, it\’s the same and then we do another profound shift and they walk out and it\’s the same again. And so yeah, we can repattern ourselves, ultimately back to a full, healthy, dynamic breath. And it\’s profound.
Diva Nagula 24:35
Is it advisable for a person to do this kind of breath work on their own or with a certified practitioner or someone who\’s an expert like yourself, what\’s the best route?
Edward Dangerfield 24:47
Yeah, thank you. There\’s a lot of people that are offering like online courses or potentials for different breathwork – I\’m really clear in my boundaries on this one and it is essential that someone practices with a trauma-aware clinical practitioner until they have their
own breath practice in such a way that they can safely hold space for themselves and all of the emotion that\’s going to be coming up. And normally what we\’d say is that\’s 10 sessions, we\’d like to see a client practice with us for 10 sessions. Now, it might be less than it might be more depending on the other work and the regulation of the nervous system, and their capacity and resilience. Now a practitioner is going to be able to guide someone on that journey. My aim is to make myself obsolete with my clients. My aim is to get every client to a place where they\’re self regulating, because there\’s enough people out here that need to work like I have. I\’m like, fully booked for weeks, and I don\’t need more clients. It\’s like, so the model is how can I get someone to the space where they\’re practicing it on their own? So it\’s essentially an investment model. It\’s really unpopular with a lot of other practitioners, because ultimately, you know, there\’s no repeat business, it\’s like, you just freed yourself. And I love that because people have just become ambassadors that like, yeah, I do this like three days a week, and it\’s awesome. And I\’m self regulated, I\’m living to my fullest potential, but they then become an ambassador for me. So I work with people usually over like a three or four month period. And then what I\’ve noticed is they want to train with me. So that\’s pretty much the next next kind of tier and piece that\’s been coming through, which has been amazing. So yeah, and I\’ll answer your question very clearly, I recommend one on one, clinical trauma-aware breathwork. And finding that person that can really hold space for you. And, you know, the truth of it is, I might not be your practitioner, I might, I might just not be the person who\’s going to work for you, I can recommend a variety of other people that might work for you, gender will play a role, I might remind you of your father, that\’s going to trigger the hell out of you, we don\’t want that. And so finding someone that really, it\’s like dating, you know, like you find your breathwork, and it\’s gonna work for you. And then you establish a therapeutic relationship, and then you continue all the time. And it\’s a wonderful journey.
Diva Nagula 26:51
Right. And after they\’re completed with their sessions that the practitioner has recommended, I guess there\’s homework to do, do they need to continue this for an indefinite period of time? Or is their breath patterns shifted, where they don\’t necessarily have to consciously change anything anymore?
Edward Dangerfield 27:07
Yeah, thank you. So there\’s, there\’s two pieces that come through. The first one is we\’re unpacking the case of trauma, we\’re getting rid of all of the stuff that we might have carried, right. And once that\’s done, then it\’s just the maintenance program. So then it\’s just like, okay, I\’ve created clarity in my body systems, I can breathe dynamically and fully, maybe once a week is going to be great for my maintenance. Now, if I\’m pushing a big deadline, or I\’m going on a trip, or I\’ve got like, you know, some conflict in my life somewhere, I might choose to breathe more often than that. Now, what I\’m encouraging is people to develop the quality of deep listening within themselves, they become their own medicine, they become their own teacher, they\’re like, okay, you know, I\’m starting to feel a little bit stressed, I probably need to breathe an extra day this week. And it could be as little as 15 minutes, it\’s just gonna regulate the whole system. It\’s going to train the sympathetic and the parasympathetic, back to that fullness of expression of breath. So yeah, it\’s sort of to, it\’s like, unpack all of the all of the old trauma. And then let\’s just have some steady maintenance of myself.
Diva Nagula 28:07
And for our listeners, who are mainly in the US, how would, if they were to locate you and work with you, do you do virtual training? Or do you just do basically one on one in person training?
Edward Dangerfield 28:21
Yeah, thanks so much. Yeah, I have a really clear boundary around that I only work in person. And the reason and a lot of people will say, Well, you know, like YouTube, like, get on YouTube and get on, get on a package up your offering and put it out there and an online course. And I\’m just like, yeah, those are all great things to do. There\’s a lot of teachers that are teaching pranayama in that way, and that\’s really, you know, maybe safe and maybe not, what I\’m really clear on is when I work with someone, the essentials is to provide proper containment. And for me containment looks like hands on. And so I run retreats here in Bali, and I work in clinic in Bali. And if someone wants to work with me, I invite them to come to tropical paradise. I mean, like, how am I, that\’s okay. I also do work in in Canada. Yeah, I was living and working in BC. And I do make trips back to BC. And again, I love working with people in a therapeutic way over a series of time, but I also do a five day deep dive. And what that looks like is we do we do 10 breathwork journeys, so 10 sessions, in five days, here in a you know, basically, I rent a really nice villa with a swimming pool, we all come together, and we just go on this process. I\’ll be running a few of those a year, so Feb and November this year, and that\’s, that\’s a great way for someone to come to be in a really safe container to be held, to see, you know, to have a swimming pool and great nutritious food and to be in this environment where they can actually create beautiful neuroplastic change within their system and learn from other people that are going through the same process. We really learn in circle and we learn in community in that way. And sharing our own stories of our own experiences is really part of the deeper teaching and so I love the clinical practices of one on ones it provides such a great quality containment. I also love teaching groups, small groups, and we limit our groups at 16 total in the container.
Diva Nagula 30:07
And another question that came up for me is that if you\’re doing these intensive five days retreats, is that a lot for the body? I mean doesn\’t their body get overwhelmed with all that subconscious material and trauma coming into this surface release? Or is it just the exact opposite, they just basically feel so much better, because of all the stuff that comes out?
Edward Dangerfield 30:27
Yeah, so thank you, the essence is ensuring that everybody gets complete. So breathwork can be very re-traumatizing; what that means it brings up material, and then it\’s in the field and in the surface, but we never got complete on it. Now, the neuroscience of this is really essential to understand. When we\’re surfacing something out of the limbic brain, out of the emotional centers of the brain, and we\’re just bringing it into the forefront, it is essential we move into a very high tone in the parasympathetic nervous system, deep relaxation and theta, so that we can make sense of it. And if we don\’t do that, all we\’ve done is re-traumatize. And that\’s the danger of some of the yoga asana practices, and some of the meditation practices that are taught online or taught by ultimately practitioners that don\’t understand nervous system regulation. If the client does not move into a really deep rest and relax phase at the end of the session, there\’s an opportunity that they\’ve simply been re-traumatized. And so polyvagal theory looks like a bell curve. Basically, we start the session slow, we climb up to release some unprocessed emotions, and then we drop all the way down really deeply. And what we\’ve done is we\’ve measured heart rate variability, when we measure HRV, we can look – the HRV goes down the pan in the middle of the session, but people are really going through it. And what we see is at the end of the session, the HRV is going through the roof, what we\’re seeing is people that have added amazing coherence. So what\’s happening is the whole body systems are taking all of that unprocessed emotion, and then making sense of it all, everywhere, including in the higher areas of the brain, the hippocampus that records time. Ultimately, what they\’re doing is saying this event is no longer running. Currently, it is now in the past. And I don\’t need it to affect my perception of how my nervous system sees the world and how I integrate information from outside of myself into my inner body. What that does for the vagus nerve of vagal tone, is it drops it every time. And so what we\’re seeing is, all of the organ systems start to rebalance because the vagus nerve, which is wondering and controlling all of those systems, is now up regulated. And the reason it\’s up regulated is because each of these is directly impacted by breathing. And as the breath pattern shifts, HRV shifts, as the HRV shifts, we\’re seeing that neuro plastically in the brain, there\’s now neural pathways are opened up – Hebbs Law as an example is neurons that fire together wire together, we\’ve created new neural pathways in that deep theta state of relaxation. And so in answering your question, people going through these big profound shifts, and as long as they\’re entering into a long relaxation state, at the end, everything is setting and getting complete in a really healthy way. My concern is breathwork practitioners that will be opening up big states of trauma and not allowing a long enough relaxation phase – aand that could be that could be potentially very dangerous, and very challenging for people that are coming into interspaces of breathwork. And so part of my mandate is to ensure that people understand the branches of the nervous system and understand your endocrinology in such a way that they can deliver breathwork in a really safe way for the clients.
Diva Nagula 33:30
And I think you just brought up some really interesting and salient points. People were like, well, this is kind of woowoo stuff, right. And you know, a lot of people in the Western society, that\’s how they feel and think of anything that\’s unrelated to being prescribed a pill. And it\’s interesting, because there is, what you\’re describing is there is objective data, you know, the HRV is a huge objective piece of the puzzle, where you could visually see the improvements after the breathwork session. And that\’s how I modulate my healing, if I\’m doing anything, and I want to see the end results, look at my HRV. If my HRV has improved and increased and whenever I\’ve been doing that sets the stage for myself in the future, and in terms of my healing outcomes. And so thanks for bringing that up. I really that was, you know, that really….case in point is I want to bring in topics that have a scientific background or have measurable improvements that\’s objective in nature.
Edward Dangerfield 34:34
That\’s beautiful and I\’ll speak really clear to that – breathwork can be super woowoo; like someone can deliver it with that lens, for sure. That\’s not my way – I have a degree in economics, I\’m super left brain logical. And when someone delivers something to me, I want to know why. And there\’s that part of me that incessant I\’m like, why? And so, not only with HRV, but also when we start to measure cortisol and adrenaline levels over baseline over time, we can also develop those metrics, and so this is really profound -the challenge, there\’s two challenges that are being faced right now. The first one is you can\’t package it up and sell it as a pill. There\’s no repeat business model, everybody is freeing themselves with it, and it\’s free. And once I teach a client to do it, it\’s like, they\’re gone, they\’re living the best life. And I\’m seeing my clients absolutely expanded to fullness. And it\’s amazing to witness. And so it comes against, you know, the current Western business models, because ultimately, we\’re teaching humans to heal humans. And, and I love that. And that is ultimately what\’s going to create this shift in all of us so that we can live in a more balanced way. And so we can relate to ourselves, and also to each other and to the planet in a much more balanced and harmonious way. Because we understand the interconnections of all things and the relatedness of all things.
Diva Nagula 35:50
Right. And this has been fascinating. Thank you so much for coming in. We\’re actually running out of time. But before we depart, I wanted to ask you a couple things for our listeners, one, if our listeners are interested in looking for a breathwork practitioner, that\’s an area, is there a database or directory online that they can search?
Edward Dangerfield 36:11
Yeah, so the the GBPA, the global breathwork. practitioner alliance, is the sort of self created body of breathworkers that is regulatory, so that\’s one avenue that GBPA, and then also the IBF, international breathwork foundation or Federation. So those are two resources. And they\’re not very, that I mean, honestly, this is a very fringe and unregulated industry, right. And then the key, the key piece is really asking them the questions around what\’s their level of knowledge around trauma? So ultimately, do they understand the two branches of the nervous system and almost interview that person – I mean, like, if I\’m gonna do any work with any healer, I\’m gonna ask him some key questions around like, what\’s the level of expertise and understanding? So yeah, I think really giving people agency and power. Sure. I could be on a website, and someone could endorse me. But ultimately, like, let\’s get everybody feeling it for themselves. Does this person hold an integral space? How do they present in business? How do I book them? Like? Is it like a phone conversation email? Is it an online booking system? All of these pieces will add up to tell us? Like, is this an esoteric practice of someone you know, that really doesn\’t understand the grounded science? And are they going to be able to guide me in a in a healthy way? So yeah, really, ultimately, giving agency back to the listeners and saying, like, you guys figure it out, you guys choose these kind of really serve you in a good way. Be aware of the questions you need to ask, that will be sort of my prayer.
Diva Nagula 37:38
Awesome. And if people have questions, or want to reach out to you and actually traveled to Bali to do some breathwork, what\’s the best way for those people to do so?
Edward Dangerfield 37:49
Yeah, thanks so much. I think funnily enough here in Bali, that the platform of Instagram seems to be the most popular, that\’s also a great way for me to deliver a lot of my content. And so I use Instagram to deliver you know, reading lists or information, my morning practices and some videos on occasion. So my Instagram is just my name, which is Edward, and my last name, Dangerfield. And feel free to message me. I mean, I\’m really happy to receive messages from people. As you know, my healing journey has been through trauma, depression, suicide, alcoholism, I\’ve been in those places. I\’m really happy to say I live a really joyful and peaceful life over here, something that has taken me some years to cultivate, and I\’m really happy to help support and guide people on that journey as well to ultimately self actualization, freedom.
Diva Nagula 38:35
Thank you so much. It was such a great pleasure to have you on our podcast.
Edward Dangerfield 38:39
It\’s an honor to be here. Thank you so much.