Get High On Your Own SupplyRead Now
I can't tell you how stoked I am that conscious breathwork is getting more and more attention in the media, by scientists, health pioneers, opinion leaders and more. It's about time!
I'm a champion for breathwork because everyday I meet the courageous people that come to me because they recognise they are holding back their breath and in life. They want to do more than survive, they want to THRIVE.
Thrive in their relationships, their health, their work and their connection to life. If you think about it - Breath IS Life...
When our breath is restricted, so is our life because we know that how we breathe has a direct relationships to our thoughts and feelings. Don't believe me - try breathing really fast and see how your heart rate goes up, you start to feel ungrounded, a little anxious, thoughts begin to race and perhaps you even feel a bit light-headed. Now, these feelings and thoughts are going to continue to influence how we breathe - fast, shallow etc, creating a vicious circle.
Now, considering that many people rank stress as a big problem in their life - is it surprising that we see the pattern just described?
"So what?", you say. "I'm alive and breathing".
Indeed. You are surviving, but can you imagine there is so much more?
Transformational Breathwork isn't for everyone. If you are comfortable with riding a roller coaster of energy levels, emotions, health concerns, being at the mercy of people and circumstances external to you, etc - then keep doing what you are doing and breathing like you are breathing.
If, however, you want more energy, vitality, immunity, personal power, embodiment, to live on purpose, feel aligned and free of tension, anxiety, and depression - then let's breathe!
Perhaps you have joined my Breathe Into Being Workshop or had 1-1 sessions and have ceased to do your breathing practice. Don't feel bad- it happens. However, like any habit or 'muscle' that we don't use, we lose. That breath that was opening can contract again because life continues to happen and our dance with everything that arises in our daily life - health challenges, relationship ups and downs, feelings of loneliness, anger, sadness, disconnection with self and others, ... cause the breath to become restricted again.
The good news is that you haven't lost it - you have just forgotten... and you will remember. This is one reason I have created the Group Breathing Circles - so you can be supported at an affordable price to 'get back on the horse' and breathe! I'd love to see you again.
Starting in January I will be holding more Group Breathing Circles.
You are not an accident - you are here with purpose and if you are feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed by life, know there is an anchor that will ground you and I applaud your courage and commitment to your breath.
Autumn's InvitationRead Now
Heeding Autumn's invitation to pause and turn inward, the same call-to-breath comes periodically in life. If we don't take pause, we lose inspiration and we turn our backs on that which has 'expired' in our life.
This is particularly true for the seekers. I get it - I am one. I looovvve books, documentaries, poets, speakers and wisen teachers who are agents of personal growth and evolution. Eckhart. Thich Nhat Hanh. Rumi. HH Dalai Lama. David Whyte... and the list goes on.
Nevertheless, I have learned not to be seduced by everything that comes across my path. I do keep my mind open and apply knowledge and practices, however I also know that a great deal of energy stands to be lost when I'm tempted too far from the tried and true.
Don't get me wrong - it's incredibly seductive and with so many interesting things available at this time, I see more and more well-intended people spreading themselves thin like a tourist hotspotting their way to good health. Over the years, I have come to recognise that like all good things, we deeply benefit from taking the time to marinate ourselves in our practices in order to reap the fullest rewards.
With patience and commitment we enhance our awareness and can better assess if we need to do things differently... move in a new direction or switch some things up.
We humans are creatures of habit, although not all our habits are life-enhancing. Only you can answer this. Are you happy where you are (health, job, relationship...). If honestly YES, keep doing what you are doing. If NO, it's useful to remember that if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you've got.
Get a cup of tea and reflect on WHERE you are. WHERE you want to go. WHO do you want to be.
Maybe you don't know and that's OK. A first step may be to switch things up and say YES to doing a few things differently in order to learn more about yourself.
Whatever it is - stay open!
If you hear yourself saying. I don't "do" yoga - remember that yoga is much more than movement. Likewise, Ayurveda is also much more than a diet. Both ancient sciences are time-tested (estim. 5000 years) on how to live in balance, healthy and in union with everything. It's inspiring to me how these days people are genuinely waking up to the gold nuggets in these sciences. I hear and read books by therapists, athletes, doctors, public figures touting the wisdom and foundational principles of these sciences. It's not new, but we're coming full circle because we have lost touch with nature (our nature) and these sciences work!
I hope this little exercise helps you to find power in how little you can or need to do, so you can enjoy the beauty and abundance that naturally comes when we act from inspiration.
If you are yearning for things to be different - let's make a date to discuss - or join me for yoga, Part 2 of Ayurveda in Daily Life, my Breathe Into Being workshop. Don't simply believe me, let your results speak for themselves.
Breathing a New StoryRead Now
It is our work on this earth - to embody and celebrate the joy of living. Easy to say - not always easy to do- right?!
One of the many reasons, I love Transformational Breath® is that it animates that which is stuck and dense in us - the traumas, hurts, wounds, limiting self-beliefs- so that we can feel and connect with our joy.
This may sound a bit too feel good and new-agey for some, and this is why 4 days working with and attending Gregg Braden's Human By Design Master Workshop was both life and work affirming for me. He shared hours of peer-reviewed scientific research on why your breath is a powerful process for metabolising the neuropeptides that hold traumatic and challenging emotional experiences.
Neuropeptides are a chain of amino acids that is released directly into the blood where it activates receptors in the body or directly into our brain where it activates receptors in the brain. When a neuropeptide is released it binds to a receptor activating a series of events in a cell (the neuron) causing the neuron to become active. Because neurons that wire together, fire together, these neurons can activate a neural circuit triggering emotions, behaviours and potentially disease processes.
Gregg is a big fan of Transformational Breathwork, for its ability to mobilise the emotions that are stuck in the body and that keep us bound and reactive to triggering circumstances. Indeed, the body knows and houses everything and when stuck emotions are metabolised, we are able to step into a deep coherence with our heart's intelligence and awaken our highest potential. In essence, we become less reactive and more response to life.
For this reason, he dedicated one entire day to the powerful role of the breath and attendee's (230+ people) did 2 full one hour Transformational Breath sessions. You can just imagine the energy in the room. The room was full of people that are actively working on their personal evolution and growth, and so, to hear the feedback after their breath sessions was very touching. The people I personally supported were therapists, psychologists, doctors and body workers, to name a few.
Science has shown us that we interpret the world through neurons and that the heart's nervous system contains 40,000 sensory neurites arranged to create a complex neural network. With practice this second brain is able to grow and open us to the true reality of who we are. For who are we but the stories we rehearse, tell and believe about ourselves? You are, in fact, beautiful, intelligent, strong and wise.
How do we change our story and hence our life? It's not as hard as you think - but it like everything we wish to master, it is a process and does require commitment. The science and wisdom traditions show by bridging the connection between our brain and heart, breathing consciously, and rewriting our story from the wise and compassionate place of the heart, we are able to rewrite our story.
Stop DOing, and start BEingRead Now
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are human BEings, not human DOings.
In talking with my wellness and therapist friends, I have learned that we are all hearing the same things from clients and would-be clients: "I don't have time", "I'm too busy to..." . It's a pretty loud chorus at present and it has made me sit up and ask what can be done to shift this collective voice & support reclaiming responsibility for our health and well-being.
Being busy is addictive and a bit of a badge of honour in some circles. Most of us city dwellers are overstimulated, sleep deprived and facing so many choices that we are not here, now and living this moment with awareness. The levels of anxiety, depression, dissociation, isolation, suicide and disconnection from our body and wisdom is unprecedented.
While it may seem morbid to some, I have considered my last breath in this world a lot and I find the research that reveals the top regrets of the dying to be very telling. Those on the precipice off death do not encourage us to do more in order to have the esteem of others or latest or dream ‘X’. On the contrary, their heightened perspective on life encourages us to feel, express, love and play more.
How to BE more and Do Less:
Do nothing for 10 minutes every day. This is an entry point into meditation. The mind will relentlessly pull you from the peace of presence because it is well practiced, but be patient. It, like a wild horse, can become steadier. Set the intention, trust yourself and commit daily. In this video I offer you a tip on how to move forward with this practice.
Not-Doing List. We are so good at writing "To Do" lists that contribute to a feeling of overwhelm (even though the final checkmark is ohhh so satisfying), that I thought it would be interesting to write a "Not Doing" list. Tune in after your 10 minutes of doing nothing and write all the things you do not wish to do and see how it feels.
Take it a step further and set an alarm, for example, at 14:13 to just stop in the middle of your day and ask, "what do I need right now?" What is my intuition telling me? This will help you to tune into what your body is trying to communicate, and identify what feelings of safety and flow are present, as well as what is niggling at you and you are avoiding.
Enjoy the clarity, focus and calm that comes when you really listen to yourself. What is your heart asking for? How could you nourish yourself more?
We live in a culture where our goals, our identity, our worth are often tied into what our culture values and other's expectations of us. We may understand this intellectually, that I am not my academic achievements, my athletic prowess, my looks, high paid job, ... but within us lives a child who wants to be seen, witnessed and valued, and who sometimes, without even knowing it, gives their power away to others.
I know this for myself - in my teens I dreamed of going to art school, however without even speaking about it I adopted the way of my parents who both had post-graduate university degrees. In my early 30's I started to revisioned things, doing more art which grew into a greeting card and design company that was represented in over 3000 stores including art galleries and museums in Canada and the USA.
I also continued to work in psychology and studying yoga, until 2007 when I sold my design company, moved to Japan and focused exclusively on yoga, lifestyle writing and growing my energy medicine practices. The rest is history.
How to Not Care What Others Think
We ought to care deeply about ourselves and others, but not about what they think of us. Why? Because we are often wrong and even if we are right - is it worth giving our authority to them?
Caring what others think about us bites hard because deep in our subconscious we hold deeply ingrained beliefs that dictate how we interpret our experiences and the world. Adding to that, humans have a negative bias which has helped us to survive, but hasn't necessarily made us happier. And so, until we examine and revision our limiting self-beliefs, our worldview remains biased and untrue.
Ask yourself honestly and let your soul speak:
My dedication to breathwork is not only based on my own journey to reconcile and release old and unserving beliefs, but also that which I have witnessed in my clients. What makes it so beautiful in this age of striving and doing, is that by opening our breath we deconstruct and unlearn all that has amassed and constricted our deepest aliveness, so that we can be at home in our bodies and with ourselves.
To make authentic shifts and become the authority of our own life we need two things: INTENTION (shared in August's newsletter) and ACTION. That is, we need to be clear and committed to what we want and we must take action on it, otherwise we are just hopeful and dreaming.
Breathing is the most readily available resource you have for creating and sustaining your energy, presence and personal authority. It changes our biology, resting the default network that keeps us in our mind and estranged from really feeling. Nevertheless, no matter what you choose to practice, the strength and degree of our growth and evolution lies in our daily routine.
In Transformational Breath we encourage a daily breathing practice to open to joy. In kundalini yoga we use 40 day Sadhana's to change a habit and install a new one. In Ayurveda the wisdom of daily routines is at the foundation of creating balance and authentic health.
My advice is start somewhere and commit to it. Whether it is yoga once a week, eating an apple a day, daily conscious breathing, walking in nature twice a week. You don't need an App or Instagram ♥ for this - listen to what's working for YOU and commit to it.
Live your unique expression and know that not one of the 7 billion people on this earth are like you. Don't conform - be YOU.
Breathing with IntentionRead Now
Intention setting is a powerful tool that is often overlooked. My relationship to intention setting has be nourished and become second nature through my breathwork.
Because intention is different from a wish or affirmation, I wish to elaborate more on it here.
A wish can arise from a longing, a desire that feels a little out of reach, something we feel we are not able to actually make happen, but render it to grace, to universe's good will. Like a seed offered to the wind to go on it’s flight, to hopefully land on soil that is nourishing to root and grow into a reality. We can send off many wishes each year, some may come to flourish, some may travel the winds for some time and some may never find a place to grow.
Affirmations are short statements designed to retrain your mind/ thought process/actions into behaving differently so that you may better and easily manifest a certain outcome.
An intention, on the other hand, is an active deed of creation. It is very specific and it´s power consists of clarity and direction. In order to set an intention, one must already know that it will be achieved, one must commit to making it happen.
Many intentions evolve around inviting more abundance, self-care and success into our lives. So in order to set a powerful intention in these fields, we must enable ourselves to feel more self love, more self appreciation and to trust our abilities.
We may find that being generous with ourselves is not so easy and when we think of personal success, we may all of a sudden be filled with doubt and worry. We sense a deep underlying fear that we are actually not good enough, not worthy, have not worked hard enough, are not smart enough, are too insignificant, etc.
This is where Transformational Breath® is very effective because init addresses both the conscious mind and deep subconscious. It is from the subconscious that we interpret most of experiences within and without (90-99%), and therefore the place we can shift old and entrenched limiting beliefs and integrate traumas that deny the truth of who we are. It only reveals what we are ready to work with.
I find it useful to see intentions as actions that you and universe are co-conspiring into creation. Conscious breathing with intention first thing in the morning can set the energy for the day and reinforce every cell in the body with it's expansive truth (eg. I am supported, I am enough, I am loved).
In forming an intention, allow yourself to trust your intuition, your gut feeling and commit to it, without hesitation and keep it safe from doubt. Give yourself permission to not second-guess yourself, to rely on a feeling, your feeling.
Maybe as we move through the second half of the year, your intention will be simple, it can sum up to acknowledging yourself and your power, to honouring your truth, a commitment to not stand in your own way.
Next Breathe Into Being Workshop Sept 11 @ 19:00-21:30.
Our body is infinitely intelligent, and like an archive, it holds all that we have experienced in our life. It is always seeking to come back into balance and has the innate capacity to heal itself.
There is no doubt that our mind is a powerful instrument, however our reliance on it to solve what is misaligned in our life is overestimated.
Since we were infants, our mind has done a great job to create mechanisms to keep us safe and protected; however, as adults these entrenched mechanisms cease to serve us well. Rather, they work to keep us separated on many levels. Although we like to think of ourselves as masters of our own mind- few of us are. Therefore, our attempts to navigate the world and reconcile our experiences with our past traumas, dramas and core wounding is oftentimes beyond us. I tend to see it like our mind got us to where we are now and it is not the most objective assistant to get us out! Finally it's my personal experience, as well as something I have witnessed with hundreds of clients, that body-based therapies are essential to get inside and beyond the mind.
How do we do that?
Energy medicine exists in traditions all over the world, and arguably, is one of the oldest forms of healing. While a single definition of energy medicine is difficult to pin down, I see energy medicine as a way to channel the power of the energy fields from the Earth, the Universe, and from one’s own internal life force to balance and heal all aspects of mind, body, and spirit.
This energy is limitless - and we each have the opportunity to access it, cultivate it, and utilise it. Furthermore, everyone can benefit from the practices that work with the subtle energy body, Spirit and Soul, in order to restore flow, vital energy and wholeness.
I have long been drawn to subtle energy practices and after many years of yoga practice I completed my Reiki training and was initiated as a Reiki Master in the holy city of Varanasi, India in 2011. Building on my practice of Reiki and therapeutic breathwork, I have spent the past few years studying Journey Work with shamanic teachers who are psychologists and psychotherapists (going full circle!).
Although each system is unique in approach, they are not exclusive or separate from each other. In the words of one of my favourite scientists, Albert Einstein, "Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter... Everything is energy and that's all there is to it".
Within us, our thoughts are energy, our feelings (e*motion = energy in motion), our words, our physical sensations, our body animation and senses... everything is energy. As long as our energy is flowing in an even, harmonious and vital way we feel well and at ease, however as soon as it becomes deplete or stagnant we see the onset of ill-health or dis-ease.
Understanding Energy Medicine from the Perspective of Reiki
Just as blood flows through our body, our vital life force flows through channels commonly known as meridians and the 7 major energy centres that run along the spine.
Like any channel, meridians are also susceptible to blockages and poor flow. This occurs when we are not nourishing our body well, have unbalanced emotions and negative thoughts that result in disharmony, dis-ease, physical deficiencies, and emotional & mental unbalance.
Reiki was developed in Japan in the mid 1800s and is derived from Japanese and means “universal life energy” (Rei = spirit, Ki = energy) and is a powerful, harmonising and natural energy healing method for stress reduction, balancing, relaxation & enhancing the body's natural ability to heal. Reiki increases the vibratory level of energy in and around the physical body and offers a natural, holistic & relaxing treatment. It can performed in-person or through distance healing, and is an amazing tool for supporting the healing of others and oneself.
Reiki is known to be helpful for a wide range of concerns, such as anxiety, depression, stress, digestive issues, fatigue, pain of all kinds, healing from surgery, injury, or illness, and more. I think it’s wonderful during times of transition, when things feel “stuck” and the path forward is unclear, or during periods of emotional or physical stress and trauma, when one’s energy feels depleted. Because it is non-invasive, safe, and very gentle, Reiki is a great complementary therapy to other forms of medicine, and is appropriate for people of all ages and states of health.
To learn more about the benefits of Reiki, or to learn how to do Reiki on yourself click here
Understanding Energy Medicine from the Perspective of Journey Work
Shamanic Journey Work is also energy medicine, however unlike the hands on healing of Reiki, it uses a drumming meditation to shift our brainwaves into a more meditative and dream-like state (theta waves). We do journey work for our own personal exploration: for information about ourselves, to open up to messages from our subconscious, our dreams, our compassionate guides, our ancestors or the land.
If you wish to learn more, I am offering a workshop: Introduction to Journey Work on June 7th, 2019.
To learn more about Journey Work and to register for the workshop, click here
Understanding Energy Medicine from the Perspective of Breathwork
Simply put, breath = life force. Our breathing habits directly affect the way we thinking and perceive life. It is scientifically understood that when we hold or limit our breath - negative feelings and thoughts arise.
Over our lifetime, we experience a multitude of situations and events that profoundly influence the way we breath leaving us disconnected from the ease, flow and fullness of our own breath.
Therefore, when you learn to breathe better, you become more present and available to breathe in the fullness of life.
To learn more about Breathwork, click here
Using the time-tested healing systems, my sessions that have the power to bring deep relaxation, harmonisation, insight, integration and transformation.
I welcome you to reach out for a free non-binding call to discuss what may benefit you at this time.
Getting the Life You DesireRead Now
What blocks us from having the life we truly desire?
You want to get your health back on track after struggling with regular colds, digestive issues, stress, depression, allergies...
You may not be 'sick' but you know you ought to feel better than you do.
And you know what you are supposed to do (or at least know what you are not supposed to do), however you keep falling back in the groove of old behaviours.
Back to eating comfort foods, lots of sugar, relying on stimulants like alcohol and coffee, staying up late, not exercising - all the things that you know cumulatively make you feel worse.
You know you feel better when you are eating nutritious whole foods, doing more movement, engaging in stress-reducing practices. But you just can't seem to make those habits stick.
Does that sound like you?
The reality is that adopting and sustaining new habits is difficult. It can take a good amount of time for a habit to stick. Complicating this further is that depending on the habit it can not take much to undo the good habit.
Does this mean you throw up your arms and shout, "What's the point then?"
HELL NO! but it's time to get serious about all the baggage that holds you back.
Over the years that I have been teaching and working with people to become genuinely embodied and aligned with their highest potential: body, I have been taught a lot about this journey. By far, the most important observation I have witnessed is that this struggle is within the mind. The person needs a lot of mental fortitude to make the change.
We humans have a default orientation that is negative. It's evolutionary and served us when we needed to survive a tough environment. To assume there is a crocodile in the water and be ready to flee or fight, helped us to survive. Those that didn't have it were dinner. But this default, has become detrimental to our bodies (read: stress hormones) and the way we live and claim sovereignty in our own lives.
One of the biggest obstacles to manifesting our dreams is fear and self sabotage. Our mind is a powerful vehicle and manifests what we are feeding it. All of our thoughts, beliefs, words and emotions are the antenna that we put out into the world.
We tend to think that our mind is operating from a conscious focal awareness, however the reality is that 90-99% of what you think originates from the subconscious. Beneath the layers of critical-thought functions of the conscious mind lies a powerful awareness (subconscious) that has archived everything you have ever thought, felt and experienced in your life to date. This excellent secretary has taken stock of it all and if you are anything like me (and the 7.7 billion others), life hasn't always been a bliss-filled ride.
I see the subconscious as the lens that we see life through without really knowing we are even wearing glasses. We can reshape our reality by changing what we place in our mind, however in my experience this only gets us so far. For example, daily Gratitude practices are very positive and powerful in fostering contentment and gratefulness,, however, if the wounds of being bullied haven't been healed and embodied we are only placing a band-aid on it.
"How do we go beyond what we consciously 'know' and clear the archives of the subconscious", you ask.
Like many who are called to do this kind of work, I too, am a Wounded Healer. Deeply motivated to understand and heal the pain and suffering of my own life experiences, I have for more than 30 years tried to understand our deepest needs and longings, as well as the incredible legacy of practices that have been passed on in service to our evolution and healing.
As a psychologist and someone who sought safety in the world, I trusted that my mind was the vehicle to healing and deeper awakening. For me, this was a comfortable and familiar place to work from - examination and understanding of my behaviours and thoughts would liberate me from suffering.
What I have learned over the years, both working with myself and hundreds of people is that it is the mind that get us into this mess and it's not capable of fully getting us out.
You may remember that the archives of the subconscious hold everything we have experienced, felt, thought. And because there is no separation, the body knows and holds the energy of everything. It can not be fooled. Over our lifetime, the body comes to hold all that is unresolved and therefore we must also include the body in our healing journey.
My personal journey has seen me explore many things in an effort to become fully embodied... dance, meditation, breath, tantra, yoga, plant medicines, trance dance, shamanic journey work, fasting, prayer, mantra, bodywork...
I have and will continue to peel back the layers using the most accessible and effective tools I have come across in order to live with deep joy, harmony and love.
This is important. You are not broken. What you seek is within you - in fact, it is waiting for you. So despite not always being 'easy', it need not be a dry, serious and burdened journey. Reclaim the joy and innocence of a child - Move, Breathe, Laugh, Share because in the end it is ALL about LOVE.
And isn't that what we ALL truly want?
I want you to shine. Reach out if you would like a free and non-binding talk about how we can work together.
076 389 3264 or email@example.com
Nature- Our Greatest TeacherRead Now
No matter your tradition, practice or interpretation, we are all affected by the simple yet significant shift in the sun's light. The spring and fall equinoxes along with the summer and winter solstices, mark the change in the cycle of light on our earth.
The spring equinox represents our movement through the darkness towards light. In the winter the earth holds the awakening energy of life (the seed), and in the spring, this life-force arises from its dark incubation into the light. The natural cycles of night and day, growth and rest, creation and destruction, balance the internal and external journeys of our lives. Think of the power and implications of these subtle shifts in nature and then take a moment to reflect on what that may mean for all of us who are also a part of nature .
Nature exquisitely teaches us that darkness balances light. By accepting this balance we neutralize our fear of the dark, and discover its profound gifts. For it is only through our struggles and grief that we find humility; through trauma we discover grace and healing; and through our depression and anxiety we unearth our illusions and reunite with our innocence, strength and awe.
The balance we seek is within ourselves, in the deep love and gratitude we shine on our wounds and imperfections. Day and night are in balance now and from this equality - new life emerges. Now it is time to bring the dark into the light and the light into the dark. The integration of these opposites holds wondrous potential for us as individuals and as co creators on an interdependent planet.
You may ask what this has to do with my work - breathwork, yoga/ayurveda, energy medicine, psychology? Truthfully, it has everything to with it. My works in both subtle and not so subtle ways, aim to awaken you to Nature within you. By opening the channels of your breath, moving your body, harmonising the flow of life force within, inviting self-care and the body's innate capacity to self-heal - you are awakening to the ecology of your entire being.
And just as an acorn knows it is destined to be an oak tree, your spirit also knows the reality of who you are beyond the self-imposed limitations of the ego and wounded self. Our mind is a wonderful tool, but it is not the driver of this body-vehicle. By honouring the rhythms of nature, we rouse the wisdom of our heart and spirit to guide us and this is where miracles happen.
This month offers a potent day that is wonderful to connect to Nature, March 20th - the Spring Equinox and first day of Spring.
March 20th- Spring Equinox
On this day the northern hemisphere begins its tilt towards the Sun; then, come the spring equinox the big, bright star will bisect the equator and shine down on the North and South poles in the same amount.
Ways to honour Spring Equinox:
Unless you've had serious breathing issues like asthma, pneumonia, severe allergies etc, most people don't give their breathing habits a second thought. Without getting too technical, I would like to share why chest breathing needs to be addressed if you want to obtain abundant energy, vitality, clarity and joy from each breath.
Chest breathing is characterised by an outward, upward movement of the chest wall. Many people get into the habit of breathing only with their chests. In fact, 90% of us are chest breathers with the biggest contributors owing to restrictive clothing, poor posture, stress, and conditions that weaken the muscles involved in breathing.
Chest breathing requires the body to work much harder because the rib cage is being lifted and secondary breathing muscles are engaged in order to accomplish the same blood gas mixing than with diaphragmatic breathing. This means more tension in the shoulders, neck, chest and upper back; as well as greater oxygen requirements resulting in more frequent breaths.
Chest breathing is natural and useful during vigorous exercise but it is quite inappropriate for ordinary, everyday activity.
When we breathe primarily in the chest we stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, or the fight or flight response that occurs when we are aroused by external or internal challenges or danger. As a result, chest breathing is associated with other symptoms of arousal like tension and anxiety. Since there is a reciprocal relationship between breathing and the mind, chest breathing, if continued during rest periods, will lead to tension and anxiety, thus creating a vicious circle.
In addition to this, research shows that chest breathers have a higher risk of heart disease, among other serious health conditions
Chest breathers are seldom aware of their breath pattern and commonly breathe in a shallow, jerky and unsteady manner, resulting in unsteadiness of the mind and emotions. Without realising the root cause lies in their breath pattern, chest breather's often resign to living with their symptoms or seek medications and interventions.
We are often unaware of our breath pattern unless our breathing becomes extremely difficult or radically discordant. Without retraining ourselves to breathe using a deep, even, and steady diaphragmatic breath pattern efforts to relax the body, nerves and mind will be ineffective.
If you would like to have a breath analysis and learn to build a healthy relationship with your breath, I am offering my popular workshop, Breathe Into Being on Saturday Feb 23rd from 10:00-12:30. I am also available for 1-1 Discover Your Breath and/or Transformational Breath® sessions.
Danielle Satya Parla
Here I share more about what I love: breath, yoga, ayurveda, psychology, energy medicine & Mother Earth.