Somato Respiratory Integration
The 12 Stages of Healing: SRI Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises help calm down anxiety, keep us grounded, and recenter our souls. There is strength in breath! Somato Respiratory Integration, also known as SRI, is a powerful tool that you can use to recenter your heart, mind, and soul. SRI exercises are based on the 12 Stages of Healing, created by Dr. Donald Epstein. Donny discovered that people go through these 12 Stages throughout their journeys of healing and transformation. Each “stage” correlates with a specific SRI exercise, starting with Stage 1, which we call suffering, all the way to stage 12, which we call community.
What is Somato Respiratory Integration?
Somato Respiratory Integration (SRI) is a set of breathing exercises that involves the breath and body. Soma, meaning body, and respiration, meaning breath. These SRI exercises allow you to connect with the natural rhythms of your body through energy, touch, and movement.
SRI Breathing Exercises
Holistic tools, like SRI breathing exercises, are irreplaceable at times when you need them! Have you ever been in so much emotional pain, and someone tells you to just get over it? That’s the last thing you want to hear. Somato Respiratory Integration allows us to be ok with wherever we’re at, without judgment. Only when we’re able to work THROUGH that state, are we able to move forward.
Are you interested in connecting with yourself on a deeper level? We are offering a comprehensive Somato Respiratory Integration Course. Unlock your truest potential and rediscover the best version of yourself that you want to share with the world through this breathing exercise course!
What does the SRI Course entail? We provide easy-to-follow videos that guide you through the first 3 out of 12 SRI Stages along with us. You can perform these breathing exercises from anywhere, including the comfort of your own home, once you download the course videos! Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect from this Somato Respiratory Integration Course:
How Somato Respiratory Integration Relates to Network Spinal Analysis
For those of you who are not familiar with Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), it’s a gentle touch chiropractic technique involving light touches to the spine (no cracking involved). These touches help the nervous system and body unwind stored tension and trauma. Network Spinal Chiropractic helps the brain and body reconnect. You can come into your own and live the life you’re truly meant to live.
SRI goes hand in hand with Network Spinal. The SRI stages are often practiced alongside a Network Spinal entrainment. For example, your Network practitioner may support you and guide you in doing, say, a Stage 1 after you’ve had an entrainment. SRI stages can be very supportive and help integrate what happens during your entrainment.
SRI also relates to Network Spinal because they both work with the Seasons of Wellbeing, which are:
If you’re in the Season of Discover, your Network practitioner will work with that season while entraining you. Then, he or she might guide you through Stage 1, 2, or 3, since those Stages live in the Season of Discover.
Curious About Somato Respiratory Integration? Contact Us!
The 12 Stages of Healing: Somato Respiratory Integration
SRI Stage 1 – Suffering
When we’re in Stage 1, we really are suffering. This includes a deep awareness that something is wrong. Suffering can happen during a traumatic, chaotic event, or loss. (e.g. a breakup, death of a loved one). Usually, we’re in a lot of pain. This could be physical, mental, or emotional pain.
How do we know we’re in Stage 1? We feel powerless, like nothing works. We are helpless. The only thing that feels like it DOES work in this stage of healing is to acknowledge that we are suffering. Oftentimes, people realize that they’ve been blocking things out, or ignoring their own pain. Once we acknowledge and are able to experience this pain, we can move towards safety, connection, and ultimately more joy and peace.
SRI Stage 2 – Polarities and Different Rhythms
Stage 2 of Somato Respiratory Integration is about connecting with the different polarities and rhythms of our being. We recognize that we have different parts. Even though they might seem separate, they can all come together. Think from the perspective of duality – yin and yang.
People from powerlessness in Stage 1, to Stage 2 where we have power. This power is an external agent. We look for a cure. Stage 2 begins with the awareness of suffering we gained in Stage 1, and now we feel we need to go and do something about it. We look for outward things, like a specialist, doctor, guru – to help us with our crises or pain. It’s common to think that others or things will be our solution.
In Stage 2, we might feel very polar and charged about things! Like a tug of war. Extremely angry in one sense, and extremely sad in another. Have you ever felt like a huge part of yourself wants to do one thing, but then another part of you wants to do the complete opposite? A part of me wants to end the relationship, another part of me wants to stay.
As we move through Stage 2 and connect to its rhythm, we become aware of our different parts and polarities. At first, you see them as separate. Then once you do that, you can THEN acknowledge how there’s a relationship. The rules of good/bad or right/wrong become more blended. And we DISCOVER that we are somehow involved in the process, and that we are partially responsible for our distress. We realize that it’s not just one way or the other, and that we can embrace ALL parts of ourselves because they are ALL ours. We can be with the good, the bad, and the ugly because they make us who we are. This stage ends when each part and separate rhythm can coexist and express identity equally and simultaneously
SRI Stage 3 – Stuck in a Perspective
This is the last stage in the Season of Discover, which is about connecting to our pain and connecting to alienating aspects of ourselves. The goal of Stage 3 is to connect with stuckness! As challenging as it can be, we must accept the stuckness, tension, and ways of being frozen in life.
What is feeling stuck like? It could feel like you keep hitting a wall, and no matter what, you can’t get over that hump. This could be a mental or emotional block. It could also be in your relationship, your goals, your career, etc. Stage 3 can also be experienced through a physical block. ‘That neck pain that keeps coming back’. This stuckness can show up as anxiety or depression too. However it shows up, it’s a pattern. Nothing is changing. You feel stuck, and it’s not your first time here!
Sounds annoying and frustrating, right? Oftentimes, people try to figure out WHY they are stuck and overanalyze the situation. This can bring more pain and suffering through judgment that we apply to ourselves. It reminds us all too well of Stages 1 and 2. In our culture, we tend to avoid it and get out, rather than connecting with the lesson of stuckness. Accept and be in the stuckness without judgment.
Through that acknowledgment of our stuck self, we realize we are the common denominator and catalyst for change. Once we acknowledge – and even celebrate it – we can move into the season of Transform (starting with stage 4).
SRI Stage 4 – Reclaiming our Power
Stage 4 is called reclaiming our power, and about exactly that – reclaiming who you are. Unlike in Stage 1, when we feel powerless, in Stage 4, we have much more energy. We can harness that energy as fuel to actually make a change.
In Stage 4, we’ve had enough. We realize that we’ve lost our power or restricted ourselves in some way. Now, we are ready to reclaim that which we have lost, whether it be our health, our relationships, or our authenticity. With that comes a sense of strength and authority. You realize that you deserve so much more than what you’ve been giving yourself. From there, comes a greater sense of self and responsibility. People performing this SRI exercise can feel determined, empowered, courageous, and focused. You realize that you are MORE than your circumstance or your symptom.
SRI Stage 5 – Merging with the Illusion
During Stage 5, we are in the season of Transform, which is about taking action and making that change we’ve been wanting to make. In this SRI stage, we revisit our alienated self. We are merging with the fears, pains, and concerns BEHIND the suffering. It’s not that we need to re-experience the suffering itself. Instead, we merge and become more INTEGRATED with all parts of ourselves, including our pain and fear.
Our viewpoint is more holistic and inclusive, as opposed to separate parts, like in stage 2. It’s healing with a sense of WHOLENESS. We are the observer, and we’re able to connect more with what’s behind the suffering.
An example is like going back to an old neighborhood you used to live in as a child. You have all these memories, yet you know you don’t need to live there anymore and be the victim. Since you now have a greater sense of self, you can just be the observer of the past, without being identified with it. You merge beyond it!
Stage 5 is an EMPOWERING experience, and there is excitement with a sense of fear. When we say fear, we mean good fear – similar to that nervous or excited feeling you get when are about to fly down a roller coaster. In this Somato Respiratory Integration Stage, we connect with our “shadow self” and “light self”. There is a merge between our true self, our dark side, and also our light. We aren’t fighting the illusion or trying to defeat the darkness.
SRI Stage 6 – Preparation for Resolution
Stage 6 of Somato Respiratory Integration is the first time you really feel this momentum towards making that change you’ve been wanting to make. That momentum INCREASES because we’re preparing for a discharge or a resolution of those alienated or traumatized parts of ourselves.
We’re AWARE that these alienated or dissonant aspects of ourselves are about to be relinquished. It’s like the feeling of being nauseous, right before we throw up. Or that feeling right before you make that huge change in your relationship. You KNOW it’s coming. With that, you feel this tension building up.
What does Stage 6 look like? In the beginning, we CHOOSE to make those lifestyle changes we’ve been wanting to make. For example, starting a plant-based diet or a new exercise program. Also, during this time, serendipity seems to show up more. Things seem to just happen “by chance.” Maybe you decide you want to run a marathon, and then your family member just happens to get you a new pair of running shoes for your birthday. It’s not that this didn’t happen before, it’s just now we have done enough healing to actually recognize and act upon it.
Then, as we move through Stage 6 of SRI, a buildup of tension and uncomfortable feelings start to come up because we are getting ready to discharge the rhythm or pattern that hasn’t been working for us. In our bodies, it’s like when you rub your belly when you have a stomachache. There’s this swirling and churning of energy. The difference is, this feeling of tension is somehow acceptable to us for once.
Then, towards the completion of Stage 6, one of two things happens.
- The urge to discharge builds up. All channels of life open up until it is about to happen and nothing can stop it. And you have confidence in that.
- Tension builds enough to then just melt into a feeling of calm.
Neither one is more valid than the other. These two paths just acknowledge that there doesn’t have to be a forceful discharge, and it is still prepared enough if it actually does. The consciousness of Stage 6 is that we feel this stir-up of chi. There is more focused attention and we feel this churning of energy that’s ready to be released. We feel ready to make a change, and will do whatever it takes. This is driven by our determination and excitement, believing with confidence that something big is about to happen.
SRI Stage 7 – Resolution
SRI Stage 7 implies that integration and peace have occurred between the alienated part of ourselves and the rest of us (alienated aspects mean our sense of self and those parts of us that aren’t really who we are). Resolution is the state of consciousness that produces feelings of calmness, accomplishment, and a sense of freedom and peace.
How do you know you’re in Stage 7? You are ready to finally resolve (the energy pattern) whatever it is that’s been distracting you from who you really are. We may feel like there is pent-up energy in our being, a scream or tension waiting to burst forth. You are fully committed to doing this. You realize this energy has been distracting you from life and has been connected to stories about who you are or who you are SUPPOSED to be. You accept that these stories were designed to protect you from pain. You fully accept the stories and with acceptance comes resolution.
Somato Respiratory Integration Stage 7 begins with moving into the discharge process. Discharge means eliminating a charge. This literally means discharging something, such as vomiting, coughing, and crying. The RESULT of this discharge is RESOLUTION. When discharge occurs in stage 7, however, the “wholeness” in our being is able to eliminate something we no longer need. It is a welcome event that we expect, and have prepared ourselves for. We are also more of the OBSERVER to the process of discharge in stage 7, rather than a victim of it like in the earlier stages.
SRI Stage 8 – Emptiness in Connectedness
In SRI Stage 8, we feel empty. It’s the first state of BEINGNESS. For the first time, we’re not talking about “doing,” we’re talking about “being.” We are not having to accomplish or achieve something, and our identities aren’t defined by those things. Suddenly, the pause between is what matters. For the first time, thoughts are no longer the way you experience or interpret the world. You start experiencing reality from beyond the mind, beyond the time-space material world.
At the beginning of Stage 8, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit lonely and vulnerable. We were just carrying this stuff with us from Stage 7, and it’s just been released. Emptiness is a place where possibilities and opportunities for growth present themselves.
This is the point where we tend to make MAJOR life changes that kind of just happen. We don’t so much think about logic or reason. You might leave your job and literally have no idea what’s next. It may seem foolish, but you just KNOW you have to. The only certainty you have is faith that you’re guided. You’re guided by this calling and it might seem stupid or outrageous, but you know it’s so right.
We feel this deep gratitude for the supportive universe. The rhythmic connection, and this profound stillness and peace within the emptiness, are potent. In Stage 8 of Somato Respiratory Integration, we experience a sense that there is more to the events and rhythms of our lives than can be perceived by the senses.
SRI Stage 9 – Light Behind the Form
During Stage 9 of SRI, we become aware that there is more to us than our physical bodies. We begin to perceive that there is a life force, or an ENERGY, that flows through us. This energy can manifest as warmth, vitality, vibration, color, or perhaps most commonly, light. People experience this perception of light within themselves and others. It’s the light of wisdom, compassion, healing, and understanding.
As we begin to feel this energy field, we get REALLY excited, in an almost naive, playful, and joyful way. It’s similar to a rush of energy you experience when you are in love or attracted to someone. Or the rush that athletes get after an intense workout.
With this rush of energy flow, as Donny Epstein puts it, this is one of the greatest destabilizing forces of nature, and being fully in this rhythm can be considered a mystical experience This is the unbound energy. It’s transmitted through higher dimensions.
Towards the end of SRI Stage 9, we feel joy, gratitude, love, and amazement for this energy that flows through us. It CONNECTS everyone and everything. We deeply feel that we are all connected. Through love, we experience the basic energy of the universe.
SRI Stage 10 – Ascent
Stage 10 is called Ascent. This could be considered the most “sought after” stage that mystics, gurus, rabbis, and other religious leaders most often speak about. Ascent is all about ONEness. We are no longer separate from the source from which we would ask for help. We ARE that source. We no longer just FEEL things like energy, love, or consciousness – we actually BECOME energy, love, and consciousness.
In Stage 10, concepts and references to things like language, space, and time, don’t really exist. How is that? Because we really are just ONE. When in Stage 10, it’s not uncommon for things to feel a bit chaotic like we’re swirling with the universe. This chaos is guided by a divine essence.
How do we know we are in Stage 10? You have a sense that you are not just a physical being having a spiritual experience. You ARE spirit. People oftentimes feel joy, awe, gratitude, exhilaration, and oneness. You are from something beyond the soul.
SRI Stage 11 – Descent
Stage 11 of Somato Respiratory Integration begins with blessings of connection to all of creation. Since we know we are all one and there is no “other,” we begin a state of massive empowerment and service to others. In gratitude and joy, we inspire others to remember their gifts and who they really are.
During Stage 11, we descend back to the physical to bring our gifts to the world with more energy, a new perspective, and a greater understanding. We are going into regular daily situations with a new light, depth, and wisdom. A basic lesson of this stage is to remain in gratitude and in awe of the miracle of life while we literally perform these daily activities – whether it be cooking, taking out the garbage, working, or being in a relationship! We uplift the situation around us.
People oftentimes find that they spontaneously forgive others. If someone no longer loves us, we are no longer deeply hurt because we know we are loved. We radiate love without conditions (which is how it was given to us in Stage 10. Competition and jealousy don’t exist. We no longer give others our energy because it’s no longer an issue of ours or theirs. People are all channels of universal energy, and energy simply exists.
SRI Stage 12 – Community
Throughout this time, we have been going through the 12 Stages of Healing, and these stages could also be called the 12 stages of wholeness. Wholeness suggests that all parts belong and participate together, INCLUDING our wounds. By BEARING our wounds, we also share our gifts and continue this ongoing cycle of healing. When we cycle back to earlier stages, it’s allowing us to heal those alienated aspects of our being even more! It’s also about celebrating the diversity in the oneness. At the end of a Broadway show, you now see the villain and hero holding hands and bowing, the celebration of oneness.
A community is ONENESS and everything is part of it.
SRI Stage 12 recognizes that divergent energies are necessary for a successful community. When we challenge our patterns and perspectives, we can move PAST our wounds. From there, a community is able to achieve a higher level of organization and evolution.
We are each other’s medicine. This can be applied to our inner community and world community. It’s this idea that our body-mind produces everything we need in order to prosper in life. In our outer community, we are each other’s medicine when we are in relation in the workplace, in partnership, and with our children. We bring our gifts to each other.
The awareness that there is one energy or intelligence that connects and maintains the entire universe. The energy that makes up the sun and the moon is the same energy that creates our body-mind. In Community, Stage 12, we find ways to really EXPRESS and FOCUS this energy, for greater unity and planetary healing.
Somato Respiratory Integration in San Diego
Are you curious about exploring Somato Respiratory Integration in San Diego? Give us a call today to learn more about SRI. At Twin Waves Wellness Center, we provide Somato Respiratory Integration to San Diego. Our goal is to offer a safe space for all to heal. Adding consistent breathing exercises to your routine can be life-changing. Unlock the greatest version of yourself through holistic Somato Respiratory Integration in San Diego County, CA.
Somato Respiratory Integration Workbook: How to Learn More
To get the actual Somato Respiratory Integration workbook, you must reach out to your local Network Spinal Chiropractor to get it. If you are interested in Donny Epstein’s 12 Stages of Healing, click here to order a copy of the book.
Final SRI Thoughts
The key to moving through the 12 Stages is to master the lesson of each stage by getting into the RHYTHM of each stage, rather than trying to get OUT of it. You can’t get out until you first go in. Don’t think or rush your way through it…. recognizes that our experience is valid, even if we don’t understand it at the moment. If you cant be in the Stage you want, love the stage you’re in!
The lesson of each SRI Stage builds on each other. Like going up a spiral staircase, you need firm footing on the lower steps before you can go any higher. You cannot heal what you haven’t connected with. With Somato Respiratory Integration, we are allowing ourselves to be in whatever it is that we are in.