I became a Breathwork Practitioner in 2012 and a year and a half ago I gave up my Government job to take the leap of faith and just do what I’m passionate about.
Whilst it was a little bit scary, my body was telling me that I needed to leave and do what I’m meant to be doing, which is my breathwork practice.
Why did you choose breathwork?
I always knew that I was supposed to be doing something but I wasn’t sure what modality it was. I just fell into it actually. I had some memories that I’d suppressed for 40 years that partially returned and then I was led to a come and try with Bronwyn Barter, my teacher. Her husband worked with my husband and he invited my husband and I along to the come and try breathwork session and I was the one asking all the questions.
Then I went to see Bronwyn to have a session with her, which helped me to recover the memories that I had suppressed for 40 years and it had such a profound effect on my life, that when she said that she was doing training and asked me if I’d like to do it, I didn’t hesitate. It was just like yes, this is it, I can do this.
What it’s done for me, I can give to others.
What is Breathwork Therapy?
I’ve learned two different types of breathwork therapies. The one that I was just talking about is the Conscious Connected Breathing which oxygenates your body and brings up stuff that you may have stored or that’s had an impact in your life and has got stuck in your body. The breath brings it to the surface so you can look at it, then feel it, then let it go.
Most of us in our life have been told to push the pain away and not feel it. Well we do the opposite with the breath and actually feel the pain. Sometimes you know what it’s about, and sometimes you don’t. You don’t have to know, it’s more about bringing up what your body’s ready to let go off and it gives you more clarity to move forward.
It was actually called Rebirthing Breathwork but people had preconceived ideas of what that was about. Basically, what happens is from your birth, patterns of behaviour follow you.
I use an analogy that we all have our garden where seeds have been planted from our ancestors, from our grandparents, from our parents, from the environment, like school, religion, friends, etc, and using breathwork, it gives you the opportunity to become true and authentic to you and work out which parts of this garden and the seeds you want to keep and which ones you want to let go of. That’s how I describe it.
Where are you based?
I offer personal one on one sessions from Seaview Downs in SA and regular events at the SA Wellness Centre in O’Halloran Hill.
I felt that a lot of women’s issues are men, no offense, men, but I felt that we needed a safe space for women to come and try breathwork. When you’re in a group, you don’t tend to go as deep but it still works.
I run the Women’s Breathing Circle every second Friday of the month and then I collaborate with a beautiful lady, Glennys and she does a sound bath every three months at the SA Wellness Centre.
I prefer to do the face to face because if you get teary, I like to get the tissues and hold that space, but I have done a few sessions online so if people are open to that, I can facilitate that as well.
I can run circles for both men and women.
Breath Awareness Programs
I would like to get into schools, and I could run it for the teachers but I’d really love to run it for families so that they can work together with it. An example of a few years back when I was driving the car with my daughter and someone ran in the front of me and I think I might have sworn, and she said, mom, remember breathe over the waterfall. It’s a great tool to share with the family and it can also not only help you to breathe when you’re feeling this emotional charge in your body, it also can defuse the situation. If mum and dad are disagreeing about something, and the child says, remember to breathe, it helps them to go off and think about what they’re doing and be aware of what’s happening in their body.
There’s a lot of dysfunction with families and misdiagnosis with children and behavioural frustration with other medical issues and I’d love to be able to teach these children how to breathe when they feel that in their body. It’s being aware of what happens to your body if someone’s yelling at you, or if you’re being bullied or whatever the situation is, and teaching them to be aware of what happens to them in their body, does their tummy hurt, does my chest hurt or my heart start pumping or can I not breathe or get a headache. So once they’re aware of what is happening in their body, and teaching them how to breathe to bring back calmness and clarity and also what happens is if you do this breath that I teach, every time this situation happens, the body then it actually gets less and less and less until it doesn’t affect you anymore.
And we should actually be nose breathers and that’s another subject as well.
Our nose is made for breathing. We have the hair follicles in our nose, we have the mucus in our nose that filters the germs. So normally you wouldn’t see me breathing out of my mouth. The only time my mouth is usually open is when I’m talking and eating but mouth closed and breathing in and out of my nose.
I worked in quite a stressful job and used to teach the staff this practice and every week we either did meditation or I taught them this breathing.
It’s about closing the mouth and breathing circular in and out of your nose, then as you get to the top, imagine that you’re breathing, wherever you’re feeling that emotion in your body, that you’re releasing it up and out over a waterfall.
Really relax your belly, and imagine that you’re blowing up a balloon in your belly and then it expands out and up into your lungs. The more you do this, the more you’ll notice how much more you can breathe in and how much everything else expands. We often only empty part of our breath so fully empty the breath. My teacher, Christine Savage, from Soul Connection in Victoria, taught me this technique and other bits and pieces with it.
There’s no pause with your breath in and out of the nose.
I use the nose breathing with meditation. I know a lot of people breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth but I always use the nose breathing because it calms the mind. Nose breathing is more about the mind and giving clarity.
My sister, who’s a teacher, would often ring me before an interview and ask to remind her how to do the nose breathing as it would give her clarity and calm.
When I first started, I set my alarm on my phone for every hour and would do 20 breaths but I breathe that way all the time. We were actually born to be nose breathers, but somehow we changed. So practice, practice, practice, practice so that you do it all the time.
Always try to let the out breath to be longer so you’re actually emptying your breath and not leaving the stale breath in your lungs.
Just keeping it nice and slow. We don’t want you hyperventilating because that’s when the dizziness can happen. Just keep it nice and slow, just your rhythm of your breath.
I love children to be involved because the younger they are, they can have tools to help them to deal with the frustrations in their life.
When I was at the Enlighten Adelaide Festival last year, this little boy that was in the session, who was 10 years old, I was asked him questions like, how do you feel when you feel anxious because his mother was saying different things about his behavior. So I was asking him how he felt in his body.
He described to me, he gets a sore tummy and his heart pumps etc. So I went through the breathing technique, teaching him how to breathe. About an hour later, when I was back at my stall, the mother came up to me and she says, Oh, my husband’s just come here and he’s asking what I’ve done to our son. I taught him how to breathe, and he was just a lot calmer. So it can instantly have an effect on you.
It’s not something that takes lots of time to practice before you can get any relief from it. You can get relief instantly. Your breath is with you all the time. You can’t leave home without it. The other good thing is that people don’t have to know what you’re doing. So you can be in a conflicting or confrontational situation and you can start doing this breathing and keeping yourself calm, and also giving yourself some clarity to be able to respond rather than reacting.
About the session
The first session can be up to three hours because we basically start from patterns of behaviour that follow you your whole life, and even your birth can have an impact on how you live today. I’ve got an identical twin and we were about six weeks premature and they didn’t know I was there, it was two hours later they pulled me out by the feet. So our morning looks a bit like I wake up, I get my coffee, I’ll come back to bed and I give her a call and she’s either racing around the house doing the dishes, cleaning or she’s already at work and sometimes I have to say, I’ll talk to you later because you’re wearing me out.
You can sometimes get an explanation through your breath for patterns of behavior that you have had in your life and you have realizations about why things happened. I had a lady who came for a breathing session with me and realize that something that she had been blaming her mother her whole life for, she realized it actually wasn’t her mother, it was her grandmother. So she was racing out to go and say sorry to her mother because she thought it was her mother all this time. It’s amazing how we can also interpret or change what actually happened in our own minds.
It also takes courage to step out of something and to face things that have happened to you but just know that if, when you have the courage to do it, it takes you to the other end, the peace it brings is worth it.
When you asked me how I got into it, I came back from Kangaroo Island and I said to my husband, I need peace and tranquility. I had no idea why I said it but I uttered the words, and then this just fell into my lap. Now I have this peace and tranquility that I didn’t even know what it felt like and it’s just such a beautiful thing to be able to give to people, to see them come in with such pain and leave with so much more weight lifted off them. I think I should do before and after photos sometimes.
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