“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” — Mary Oliver
I’m continually blown away by the power of our breath, how something can be so simple and yet complex. How something we do automatically can be altered to help or hinder us. How the way you breathe can change the way you view your entire world, both outside and within us.
My road and journey to Breathwork is long, as most are. I was always a mouth breather, sleeping poorly throughout my youth. I was often tired and would fall asleep in class, in cars with ease. Yet it wasn’t bad enough to do something about it. In college, misdiagnosed ADHD came with prescriptions for Adderall, which only further disconnected e from being in my body and feeling what was really happening from within me. I laugh that my longest relationship was with Adderall, which lasted a decade. A decade of anything takes a while to unlearn and my way back to sitting with my feelings, perhaps for even the first time, was difficult. During this time I got my Masters in Speech Pathology, gained a job and was working successfully in the field. My father has also been on his own breathwork journey, yet he came from it from dental sleep medicine, searching to improve airways for improved sleep. As a dentist and lifelong learner as well, he had told me about myofunctional therapy. As I began to entertain this pursuit, learning more about this field, I came into a place where I could better analyze my own breathing patterns. I always breathed though my mouth. Had very poor nasal breathing, yet had no clue what “poor” or “good” nasal breathing was at the time. Lots of upper chest breathing. That was my normal, yet not functional in the least.
I got my Certification in Orofacial Myology (COM®), no small feat! I also repaired my nasal airway though correcting my deviated septum, removing my tonsils and reducing my turbinates. I later released my tongue, upper lip and buccal (cheek) ties released, all of which created a small airway as a result. I was slowly helping my body heal by fixing the structures needed to functional breathing. Yet I still had old behavioral breathing patterns. Enter functional breathwork.
Over the beginning of the pandemic, I began my yoga teacher training, not knowing what it would lead to but just knowing I needed to do this. I learned how pairing breath with movement to create intentional fluid motion was the underpinnings of yoga – the key here being the breath! I completed YTT and continued working in myofunctional and speech therapy, yet extra aware of the breath. I gained more knowledge and training on how to become a yoga breathing coach and more of the science from Patrick McCuen’s Oxygen Advantage Functional Breathing Certification. The breathing patterns were speaking louder to me as I realized we cannot keep putting bandaids on dysfunction and expecting success. The key lies in addressing the underlying behavioral issues, creating healthy function of the nose, the mouth and the diaphragm paired with intentional thought, breath and body movements. And here we are today, utilizing Functional Breathwork for myself, for others, for anyone struggling to take a full breath to live a full life. I’ve been blown away in the changes in my life and those I work with when we truly begin to breathe well.
Since I’ve started taking more conscious breaths and integrating breathwork into my life, I’ve come to know the following to be true — every breath is a reset; the breaths we take reflect the life we live; the tools I need to feel safe in my own skin are already within me; and I control my breath, my breath does not control me.
Breathe. Look inward. And listen. Your body knows when you’re on the right path. We just have to get still enough to hear it speak our truth.