Breathing Techniques or Breathwork: It's All In A Name
I am not sure when the words "breathing techniques" shifted to be the word "breathwork". It's confusing, because the breathwork practice that I do and facilitate is very different from most yogic breathing techniques. Breathwork has definitely become a buzzword and the practice is getting very popular, so I wanted to talk a little bit about what to look for when signing up for a breathwork class or a circle. The breathwork that I refer to in posts, blogs and conversations was brought into practice by David Elliott. He and Erin Telford teach (along with six other people in the world) people to facilitate this style of breathwork and to be a breathwork healer.
I have been trained by Erin Telford to hold space for people, and I really honor the training, practices, and ethics of the work. The breath is all through the mouth, and at an active pace. Inhale into the belly, inhale into the heart, exhale out the mouth. Two inhales to one exhale. It's practiced mostly for about 30 - 35 minutes, but can also be 7 - 10 minutes. It isn't meant to be calming or relaxing; it's work. It can bring up emotions (some people refer to this as emotional release breathwork) and can cause major shifts in your life, in a relatively short period of time. I recently saw an Introduction to Breathwork event in my area, led by someone that I don’t know. I am not sure if she's offering the breathwork that I practice, or if it's simply an introduction to various forms of pranayama. I sent a message asking if it is the style of breathwork that is practiced and taught by David Elliott, and I am waiting to hear back. The answer to that question is how you know if the breathwork you are practicing is the one that I am constantly sharing about. Every single person who practices this style of breathwork will 100% of the time know who David Elliott is, and if they don't, I assure you that it's not his work. (In part, that event listing is what prompted me to write this.)
Here's a few more things that you may wish to know. Breathwork healers do not have to be yoga instructors, reiki masters, or have any involvement in the healing arts, other than facilitating breathwork. Many do, but it's not a requirement. Studying breathwork is it’s own unique and intense form of training. Being a breathwork healer is very focused, and we healers have a solid understanding of, reverence for, and connection to the work and of its power to shift energy. We are trained how to safely, effectively and ethically hold space for people while they do the work of following their breath. While there are many wonderful breathing techniques, this method of breathwork is the one that has changed my life in so many ways. Again, it doesn't have a name. It's just called breathwork. And it is AWESOME.
I encourage you to experience this form of breathwork with me. Check out one of the many circles I will be facilitating over the next few months — I will be traveling and teaching, not only locally, but as far north as Vermont, and as far south as South Carolina. If you have a space, healing center, yoga studio, and would like me to come do a circle or workshop, please reach out. And if you choose to work with someone else, and want the breathwork that I am referring to, be sure to ask about David Elliott. They will know him well, and will have trained under either David or Erin Telford (or both). And if they haven't, while it might be interesting, fulfilling and wonderful, it's not the breathwork that’s stolen my heart.