She expected her new client to cry. Stephanie Jones says most of her clients burst into tears when the breathing techniques she teaches them "pull up and then release unhelpful thought patterns and stuck memories so that the spiritual body can be light, clear, and free."
Because this new client had breast cancer, "I really expected her to cry, since 75 percent of people cry anyway, and she had just been diagnosed. Instead, she was laughing and laughing because she felt such permission to feel joy."
A former second-grade teacher and Harper's Bazaar Australia contributor who "went to Yale and grew up in a very normal, nonspiritual family," Jones shifted gears after her sister underwent emergency open-heart surgery allegedly had a near-death experience at age thirty.
"I was desperate to help her recover, and I myself was traumatized," Jones said. "I discovered breathwork energy healing, kundalini yoga, and angel therapy to help both of us. She was the one who wanted us to become healers. I told her I couldn't do the breathwork training with her because I had a job — so the universe took away that job immediately," Jones said wryly.
After completing the training, she became a breathwork energy healer. As demonstrated during her Breathwork Energy Healing class at 7th Heaven Yoga and Wellness Center (2820 Seventh St., Berkeley) on Saturday, March 12, the process entails lying on the floor and "doing a simple yet powerful breathing technique to quiet the mind and get energy moving through the body." In the meantime, Jones explained, "I am burning sage, applying essential oils, and holding the safe space." Above this, mantras are chanted and music played: Bachan Kaur, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Train.
"It can be very different every time you do it," Jones said. "One time, you may cry and feel very cleared out in the heart chakra. You may be working on a different issue the next time. You may experience emotional releases, physical sensations, and temperature changes."
Sometimes even stranger things occur. One client had recently endured an appendectomy. "While she was doing the breathing, I felt compelled to run my hand a few inches above her body. And I felt a heavy, magnetic energy at the incision point. ... I took out the stuck energy with my hands, not something I'd been specifically trained to do. And she started to smell. And I knew that smell. It was what my sister smelled like for months after her surgeries. I can only speculate that it was toxins from anesthesia."
Jones is also a certified Angel Therapy practitioner, and says she beseeches angels to aid her clients and her work. "I personally am not religious at all but have had many angelic experiences in the last couple years," she said. "I often work with Archangel Michael, who clears and protects, and Archangel Raphael, who heals."
When the breast-cancer patient was doing her breathwork, "she felt a hand on her head the entire session and she thought it was mine. It wasn't. But I had invited in her guardian angels and Archangel Raphael." 1:45 p.m., $30-$35. BreathingWithAngels.com