How do you know if you are breathing effectively? How easy is it to actually consciously improve our breathing? Can the way we breathe really affect our mood and energy?
We spoke to Sarah Jons, the co-Founder of The Big Breath Company about a technique she teaches called Transformational Breathing which appears to go a long way toward answering those questions.
One of the top headlines on the Big Breath Company website reads ‘Reclaim your Breath’. Have we really lost it, and why?
If we observe babies and toddlers, we will notice that they breathe in a connected, flowing way, deep from their bellies. Through our lifetime, our breath patterns alter and this is a major way that stress accumulates in the body over many, many, years and for most of us the stress just sits there waiting to be released.
50% of adults breathe using only their upper chest. On a physical level, in Transformational Breathing we teach how to use the full respiratory system, from the diaphragm up. We essentially re-introduce you to your diaphragm. Through this, you are going to put more oxygen into your body whilst massaging your internal organs, this sort of breath-work offers profound benefits for physical and mental wellness.
Is reclaiming our breath going to be a lengthy process?
Just one session can make a real difference! Once you have gained awareness and felt the benefits you will want to consciously work with your breath, and there’s lots of practice opportunity.
We take over 50 millions breaths during our lifetime and this translates to 18,000-30,000 breaths each day. The quality of those breaths is so important!
Remember there are many systems within the body which you cannot control, however you can consciously control your breath.
What are the main issues that bring people to you?
Stress is the number one issue we work with. A transformational breath session really is potentially transformational, offering great opportunity for psychological and emotional release, as well as some genetic and environmental benefits.
Our ‘Reclaim your Breath’ workshops attract more and more people who are going through a particularly stressful time in their lives. People come to the workshop, release tension and are able to cope much better. We also attract people learning to adjust after leaving the corporate world, one of our current facilitators is one of those! She had a high-powered corporate job — until she burnt out. Now she’s taking the Transformational Breathing back to some of those companies she used to work with.
How is Transformative Breathing different from other meditative breathing practices?
Transformational Breathing is like a yogic breath but the focus is on letting go. It can function like a speed-train in to those deep meditative states, and it will enhance whatever work you are already doing.
Breath is like a glue that bring everything together… if we go back down to basics, to connecting with yourself.
This is why we want to make our breath-work technique accessible! Some 40 years ago, doing yoga was strange, but it is widely acknowledged in its health benefits. I think with the breathing we are at the beginning of a similar journey!
The Big Breath Company offers workshops as well as one to one session, and you also work with corporations as well as schools by invitation, is that correct?
We deliver workshops in London – as we know London is stressed! We also travel by invitation. We’ve worked with yoga studios, also with corporations – it makes a wonderful team building day to get people to breath consciously together! We’ve also worked with schools – mostly breathing with teachers. Anybody can benefit from breathing better, if we could teach this to children as a life-long tool that’d be wonderful! One to one sessions can be beneficial when worked alongside talking therapies.
For those new to this technique, what sort of effects can one expect?
Once you’ve opened up your breath, the emotional issues may bubble up to the surface. Emotion is essentially energy in motion. Often when people are going through a stressful time in their lives, once they start their emotions flowing, they experience a release during the workshop. Importantly, we’re not getting rid of anything, we’re integrating and dissolving those tensions and emotions. How can we cope with stressful experiences? We can learn to integrate them into our bodies.
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