Leonard Orr, the founder of the rebirthing technique and of rebirthing breathing international, was in India recently with a team of rebirthers to train people in this powerful technique. I was fortunate to have received this training and to have completed the mandatory ten sessions to become a qualified rebirther.
I am a trained psychologist and psychotherapist and have worked with several organizations as a Human Resource Consultant too. For the last ten years or so I have been exploring several meditation practices as a sort of natural progression and deepening of the former training. I find rebirthing to be a powerful yet simple technique (the more potent for its simplicity) to awaken to and to live one's complete potential.
But then what is rebirthing? As Leonard Orr would define it, 'it is breathing air and breathing energy' and 'it is breaking the birth-death cycle'. Let us stay with the first definition. In rebirthing one does not just learn to breathe a particular way, by following the instructions of the teacher, as say, with pranayama. Rather one learns from one's own breath. And unlike vipassana one does not simply observe the breath as it is and learn from that. But, one follows a certain pattern and observes the emotions / issues / thoughts that come up and one just breathes through those too. Other names for rebirthing are 'conscious connected breathing' and 'divine energy breathing'. Rebirthing can, and often does, result in a biological experience of God.
The pattern of connecting the inhale to the exhale tends to bring up sub/unconscious issues to the fore, that then can be breathed away. 'But then why bring them up, let them lie buried and unconscious', you might well say. Yes, that would make sense if it were not for the fact that those unconscious issues are influencing our lives and creating the problems that we have to deal within our everyday life! Our thoughts, our beliefs and our imprints create the universe we live in. Very often these beliefs have been imprinted into our consciousness at birth and even during our conception and prenatal life. The conscious connected breathing of rebirthing helps us to access these early imprints and we can change them by breathing through those feelings and through the use of affirmations. Affirmations are positive thoughts that help us to create the universe of our choice.
Thus, rebirthing is similar to psychotherapy in that it believes in accessing the information in the sub/unconscious mind, but it differs in that it does not require an analysis of the situation nor a reliving of the feelings but a simple, gentle connected breathing.
In concrete terms, rebirthing is done in 5-10 one to one sessions. Each session may last anywhere from one to three hours. The breathing cycle dictates the duration of the session. Generally, adults are asked to breathe for one whole hour (even when the cycle may have been shorter) so they have a chance to integrate their experience and to just enjoy their natural intuitive breathing. The frequency of the sessions needs to be not more than once in two days and not less than once a week. But, the client is king/queen and knows what works best for him/her.
Given the continuum of the physical-emotional-mental self, rebirthing can and has been known to cure various ailments and diseases such as diabetes, asthma, migraine, blood pressure, common cold, sinusitis, and all psychological disorders neuroses, phobias, depression, and psychosomatic disorders.
If one is learning to breathe from one's own breath why is the rebirther needed? The rebirther is there to gently guide you to the pattern whenever you stray from it. The rebirther notices the intricacies and subtleties of the breath and can help you deal with emotional issues as and when they arise by guiding the breathing. The rebirther can help you formulate the affirmations that are likely to work best for you. Most people feel reassured by the presence of a gentle, compassionate soul and feel the safety and security to allow repressed memories to come up. They like to have someone to talk to, to share their experience and insights with. But, in say ten sessions, the client having experienced the benefits learns this pattern of breathing i.e. it comes to him/her in a more or less natural way and s/he can use it whenever required. So the dependency and transference issues of psychotherapy are kept to a minimal. The client is encouraged to connect to their intuitive breathing pattern and thus to become independent, emotionally and at all other levels, in ten sessions.
However, unless you experience it for yourself you will not know the truth of what I say and claim. So, do give it a try, and see what happens. You are likely to be pleasantly surprised!