What do you know about breathing? We all know we have to breathe to survive. Delivering oxygen to the organs is essential to keep us alive. Most the time we’re doing it, we don’t even notice we’re doing it, it’s just a natural occurrence that our body does for us. When you’re nervous or stressed, you may notice a shortening of the breath and when you’re relaxed, you’re more likely to be breathing deeply.
But how much attention should we be paying to the breath? If our body does it naturally, why do we need to pay any attention at all? We generally only use around 20% of our lungs’ capacity, meaning we’re missing out on a huge amount of life-giving oxygen and this is often the reason why we feel tired or lacking in energy. On a day-to-day basis, we’re not delivering enough oxygen to the vital organs, which affects not only your state at the time but also your overall health and wellbeing. Due to high levels of stress and low levels of activity in our current lifestyles, we’re not breathing in a way that’s conducive to good mental and physical health. Enter transformational breath therapy…
Transformational breath is a technique of breathing that helps repair your physical, emotional and spiritual self. If you think you don’t need fixing, do the workshop and I guarantee you’ll come out with a different mindset. It may sound a little new-age, but the way I see it, we need it now more than ever. Physically, it helps clear toxins and boost the immune system, mentally it helps clear unresolved issues and overcome stress and spiritually it’s a way to connect to your inner-being and enter a deep meditative state. There’s a huge amount of science to back up, especially the physical benefits, but the proof is in the pudding; you have to try it.
The Big Breath Company runs regular workshops and retreats where you can experience transformational breathing. So one sunny afternoon in May my boyfriend and I found ourselves lying on yoga mats at opposite ends of a community hall ready to journey into the unknown. The results were surprising…
Sarah and Elif who ran the workshops were brilliant. The session started with an introduction to transformational breathing, where they also answered any questions we had. They then performed a demonstration with two of the attendees and taught us the technique we would be using to carry out the exercise. Transformational breath is an open-mouthed breathing, where the inhale is extended and flows straight into a shorter exhale; there is no gap in-between the breaths. They taught us to breathe deeply into our diaphragm and lower belly rather than the chest. Once we’d all practiced the technique it was time to get into the main section of the workshop; the breathing itself.
We laid down on yoga mats with cushions and blankets and got comfortable for the session. A beautiful soundtrack ran in the background whilst we followed the instructions and got deep into our breath. There were five facilitators in the group meaning there was a lot of one-on-one attention and assistance with the technique. During the session, they guide you with words but also apply gentle pressure on various points in the body, aiding the breath and helping the body in its healing process. It took me into a deep meditative state and honestly, I couldn’t have told you how long I was lying there for; it could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours. It was like lying in a vacuum where time was completely distorted. The concentration is solely on the breath, inhaling and exhaling like they taught us.
When the session ended the atmosphere in the room was calm and peaceful; it was like something had lifted. There was a lot of emotion that surfaced in the room during the session and on the back of it emotional freedom and a complete state of relaxation was what emerged. I hadn’t felt that relaxed, maybe ever. The joy on the faces of our hosts was also touching, when they could see the impact and effect this technique had on their pupils.
I would love to do this workshop on a regular basis and would recommend it to anyone. It may take an open-mind to get there in the first place but I can’t imagine anyone emerging from that session, unaffected. It’s difficult to covey the power of transformational breath through words on a page, but if you give Sarah and Elif two and a half hours of your life, they’ll in turn give you a gift that may change your mindset forever.