9/14/2017

Breath on the rise

Breath On The Rise x Ashley Neese

This past weekend I had the incredible honor of leading a breath class and speaking on a panel, Breath: The Next Wellness Frontier at the Mind Body Green’s 4th annual Revitalize conference. Back in January I set an intention to speak and teach at a conference this year. A few months later I was invited to teach at Revitalize and then shortly after that asked to speak on a panel. Isn’t intention setting powerful?!

The conference began on Friday and my class was that afternoon. I didn’t know how many people would show up and there were enough mats set up for about 18 people. The class filled fast until the point where people were sharing mats and getting really cozy with each other. After only a couple of issues with my mic (due to me flipping my hair around) I began guiding people into their bodies through breath. We started by opening up the breath and energy channels in the body and then, inquiry by inquiry, took a journey together, exploring how it feels to breathe, where breath is restricted and how deeply our emotional and spiritual experience is connected to our breath. By the end of the session the grounded energy in the room was palpable, eyes were clear, hearts open, and I felt like I was standing in a larger truth of who I am and who I am expanding into.

Guiding people into their bodies using breath brings me great happiness. Experiencing the disconnection that people arrive with at the beginning of a class or session and how they move through the process of dropping into their felt sense and into connection is such a privilege. This might sound overly simplistic and I see how that can be the case, but we all know that the deepest teachings, while simple in language take time to uncover, embody and eventually master.

During the panel I spoke on with neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, PhD and athletic performance coach Brian Mackenzie we all came to the same conclusion, breath is the most effective tool for changing your state (physical, emotional, mental), it’s a shortcut to meditation and relaxation, the exhale is key, and breath is intimately linked to your emotional intelligence. Being on this panel was a very important step in my journey as a teacher as it brought the importance of breath work to the forefront of health and wellness and it gave me the fuel I need to keep learning, growing, and sharing my experiences and practices in a larger way.

I’ve been teaching breath techniques for over six years and studying them for over fifteen. While the techniques are important and can be recommended or prescribed as part of an over all wellness plan my intuition guides me to a much deeper place with all of this which comes through in my classes, private session work and retreats. Paying attention to our breath is one of the most radical acts of self inquiry you can participate in because it is a direct invitation into your body. Through your breath you can experience where you are holding, where the breath isn’t able to flow freely, and what you have been hanging onto or pushing down in your life. The pattern of your breath is correlates directly to your patterns of thoughts, relationships, self care, and emotions.

What I see largely in the breath work communities are teachers leading one single breath technique as if a one size fits all is the holy grail. I taught this way for a little while until I quickly discovered it wasn’t effective or sustainable long term. Repetitive breathing techniques are exercises and all exercises have a built in assumption that will result in something specific. Again, there is nothing wrong with this approach, especially for beginners but I see too many people in the breath community making unrealistic claims about what a specific technique can offer. Where I am today with my practice and what the conference reinforced for me is that I have my own way of teaching and working with clients that is very unique and doesn’t rely on perceived short cuts to healing because the truth is there are not short cuts and believe me I spent many years looking for them!

Breath is on the rise because science is catching up to what Taoists and Yogis have known for centuries, breath is spirit and the way to enlarge your spiritual life is through your breath. Another way to say that is what Dr. Huberman articlated so well on our panel, breath is the most effective way to change your state. The beauty of coming together with the brightest minds on the fringes of the scientific and wellness communities is to learn from each other. Recognizing that we are all saying similar things in different ways and that there is now evidence based science in Dr. Huberman’s lab that supports the work I’ve been doing with clients for years. Breath really is the next revolution in health and wellbeing and I for one am excited to continue championing this work and see how far and deep we can go together.

x

For those who want to learn a little more about breath at the conference check out these awesome articles by Lindsey Kellner, Senior Wellness Editor at Mind Body Green.

Is Breathing More Important Than What We Eat?

The Breathwork Practice That Everyone At Revitalize Is Raving About

 

Photo x Lani Trock

9/13/2017

Gratitude List 44

Authentic conversations with friends.
Seeing through all that is misaligned.
Oceans of change.
Fierce inner knowing.
Removing the obstacles.
Calling in a higher frequency.
Recognizing there is literally nothing standing in my way.
Feeling that truth in my core.
Radical presence.
Attunement.
Refinement.
The kind of mastery that needs solitude to reveal itself.
The quiet work.
Patterns of organization.
Next level regulation.
Sensing the magnitude of what I am here to experience and the stories that it is nearly time to tell.
Stepping into the next initiation with a little fear in my belly and excitement in my heart.
Oracles.
Feathers.
Amber.
Messenger birds.
Editing.
Editing.
More editing.
The awakening.
The humbling
The softening.

9/6/2017

Standing at a crossroads

Our forests are burning. Our administration is failing us. Southeastern Texas is underwater. And the list goes on.

We are all standing at a crossroads right now. We are being asked individually and collectively to rise in ways that call into question our beliefs, values, and the agreements we have made with ourselves and each other to uphold them.

The places to hide our shadows are dwindling and the most effective way to rise above the collective unconsciousness is through our own hearts. This means showing up, taking responsibility for what’s ours and being willing to speak up for ourselves and our communities with real vulnerability.

We are all standing at a crossroads right now. We are being asked to leave behind the younger aspects of ourselves that only interfere with where are heading today. We are being asked to slow down, cultivate solitude and rest so that we may serve our highest good with clarity, compassion and courage.

We are in the middle of upgrading outdated programming. While it might feel more comfortable initially to slip into antiquated ways of operating in the world, over time that chips away at the strong foundation we have worked tirelessly to create. We start to become stagnant and we have difficulty accessing creative solutions.

We are in the middle of a massive integration. The only way through is by connecting to our bodies, remembering that we have everything we need to move into this more advanced phase of our lives.

We are all standing at a crossroads right now. It is time to choose which path to take. The path that is easy and familiar or the one that is unknown, unstable and often inconvenient. If it feels challenging and shaky that’s because it is. We are in the process of birthing a new way of being and while it has elements of our biographies, it is mostly unwritten territory that we will write individually and collectively as we open our eyes to this new world.

The universe is constantly in a state of expansion which is our true nature as well. This is why it feels so uncomfortable to be in the crossroads and not moving forward. Choose alignment. Choose expansion. Choose risk. Choose yourself.

And we must choose wisely. We must follow the deeper call. We know this call by the power it has to activate our system, the hint of apprehension we feel in our bellies and the way we are received by the people who surround us.

Devoted your time to living by example, in ways that are unpopular, inherently messy, and on the fringes of society. This is where you will find your treasure. This is where you will, at long last, answer the deepest call.

All my heart.

x

9/1/2017

Gratitude List 43

The vibrancy of NYC.
Meeting my brothers fiancé.
Expanding our family.
Feeling regulated.
Excitement about the wedding tomorrow.
Seeing how much my family shows up.
Taking the time to write this list.
Self care on the road.
Not over packing (a miracle).
Late night ramen shop adventures.
Willingness to continue slowing down and modulating my energy.
Saying no with a little more ease.
Redefining boundaries.
Grace.
Intention.
A passion for spending more time with the felt sense.
Attunement versus empathy.
Mastering somatic skills.
Feeling how radical it is to live embodied.
Steering clear of what does not resonate.
Creating more space for curiosity.
Chai from a copper pot.
Friends who slay at leveling up.
A community that I can’t get enough of.
A love that I am honored to participate in.
The daily choice to rise even when it feels challenging.
Rising.
Allowing.
Laughing.
Integrating.

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8/27/2017

Gratitude List 42

More subtle levels of trusting myself.
Regulation.
Inner resources.
Willingness to jump in and try something new.
Playfulness.
Curiosity.
Desire to learn how other people move through this world, where they are stuck and how I can best support them.
Speaking up for myself.
Saying when something didn’t feel good.
Not saying I’m sorry.
Not overriding impulses.
Saying the actual thing instead of secret speaking.
Real, in the moment truth telling.
Our epic nervous systems.
Building a stronger container for myself.
Recognizing the old story coming in and deciding to listen to my body instead of taking a trip down a familiar path.
Allowing space to create a new pattern.
Feeling more and more okay with slowness.
Unlearning.
Remembering that my intuition is always 100% accurate and has been my entire life.
Listening.
Encouraging.
Guiding.
And forever being a student of what it means to live with integrity.

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2017