Learning to Breathe

If I was to describe myself I’d include words such as ‘life-long learner’, ‘curious’ and ‘focused on helping people’. This year has also been a year where I’ve decided that it’s the ‘year of no excuses’. Things that have held me back are not allowed to be in the way anymore. (But that’s a subject for another post!) Something that dovetails with these terms is my interest in exploring new modalities and bringing only the most effective modalities to my clients.

The last few months, on the advice of mentors and through my own curiosity, I’ve been learning about and exploring breathwork. I’ve had sports-induced asthma my whole life and most of my family are asthmatics. Another common thread in myself and my family is managing anxiety. As a former performer and competitor, having good cardio and being in control of my nerves has been an ongoing process that hasn’t quite been fully resolved.

What do all these things have in common? Breathwork. So, as a life-long learner, I dove in head first and have been trying out some modalities. I’ve read pretty much every book I can get my hands on at the library and ones that I bought or borrowed. What have I been reading? A wide swath of approaches from the physiology of breathing (lots of physics and data figures), the anatomical components of breathing (how muscles and bones work together to breath), the psychological and spiritual benefits of breathing well, and the vast number of techniques to accomplish all manner of benefits brought about through breathing well.

My own interests in improving lung function for sport, reducing asthma symptoms and managing anxiety have directed me to the Buteyko method (www.buteykobreathing.org). I took an online course in Buteyko techniques for asthma and directed my own family members to try out the program. I’ve had good success with Buteyko method for both controlling my asthma symptoms while exercising and reducing my anxiety. After the first day of practicing I had a calming feeling wash over me that I’d never felt before. And I’m proud to say that I can smash one of my ‘excuses’ that I’m not meant to be a runner. I am using Buteyko method while starting off a gentle beginner running program and using the fantastic advice of fellow AiM (Anatomy in Motion) practitioner and running coach Helen Hall (see her amazing book Even With Your Shoes On www.helen-hall.co.uk/product/even-with-your-shoes-on/ for more).

Next up is continuing to read, try out different modalities and learn how to assess and diagnose breathing in my clients to help them restore their breathing. It’s an exciting time. So much of our breathing has to do with our posture and moving the right joints at the right time; the same principles we use in AiM. I believe as a practitioner in being a specialist in one thing and being as good at that as I can. Adding in breathwork to my roster is not a departure from my speciality. I’ve made the pleasant discovery that good breathing is just like good moving; it all dovetails with what I already specialize in.

So keep your eyes open in the near future for breathwork to be added to my practice.