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

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2017