Use code DAD23 for 20% off + Free shipping on $45+ Shop Now!
The Complete Guide to Conscious Breathing for Health and Happiness
Formats and Prices
- Trade Paperback $15.99 $20.99 CAD
- ebook $9.99 $11.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 5, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Also available from:
Breathing is something we all know how to do. And yet, the majority of us lose our natural ability to breathe fully: we are conditioned from an early age to control our feelings and emotions, and as a result our muscles tighten and our breathing patterns become restricted. The impact on our mental and physical well-being is huge.
Breath coach Rebecca Dennis shares the deep diaphragmatic breathing exercises that she uses with her clients to combat issues such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem–techniques that helped her heal from her own depression. With simple exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime, And Breathe shows you how to harness the power of your own breath through conscious breathing, which helps alleviate stress, fatigue, and negative emotions. The result? You’ll feel calm yet energized, focused yet relaxed.
Full of tips and real-life testimonials, the heart of And Breathe is the exercises, which show you how to:
- Conquer anxious thought patterns
- Relax and calm your mind
- Improve sleep
- Quell pre-meeting butterflies or email overload
- Increase physical energy
- Expand your creativity
By learning how to consciously connect to your breathe and encourage its natural rhythms, you can let go of any unwanted patterns of emotions, blockages, and tension holding you back. Just open the book…and breathe.
This book is about conscious breathing and suggests techniques that can be used. This is not medical advice and does not take the place of such advice. If you have any concerns about your health you must consult a medical practitioner for advice. If you have any medical conditions, you should consult a medical practitioner before you follow any techniques in this book.
Rebecca Dennis is the founder of www.breathingtree.co.uk and a qualified breath coach and workshop leader. She lived with depression for nearly 20 years before discovering Transformational Breath, which she has studied with founder Judith Kravitz in Mexico and Miami and other influential trainers in Italy and in the UK. Her clients come with many different issues including stress, anxiety, addiction, abuse, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome respiratory problems, trauma, sleeping patterns, focus, lack of energy, physical problems and low self-esteem. Conscious breathwork continues to show her it is the ultimate key to our well-being, health and inner peace.
Begin by paying attention to your breath.
Even as you read these next few words, be aware of the breath.
Notice that you are breathing and notice the rhythm of your breath.
Realize that it is easy to read and be aware of the breath at the same time.
Notice the rise and fall of your breath.
Pay attention to the inhale and the exhale.
Notice the feelings and sensations of the breath flowing in and out.
Pay close attention to the flow of your breath.
Take in each word.
Are you ready to begin? Let's do it!
A little history
The most important thing in life is to breathe–after all, we live to breathe and we breathe to live. We cannot exist without it. The first thing we do when we make our entrance into the world is breathe, and it is the last thing we do when we exit.
A little statistic for you: we inhale and exhale around 20,000 times a day, yet most of us pay little attention to how we breathe or how deeply it affects us. So, why should we notice how we breathe? It's a sad fact that in our increasingly demanding and complex world very few people are aware of the detrimental effects that improper breathing can have on our health and general well-being.
We teach our young to walk, communicate, bathe, eat and socialize, yet educating them about the healing power of their breath is not a priority. It's not even on the radar, but trust me, that is about to change. I want to encourage you to be aware of your breath and share the multitude of wonderful benefits that emerge from breathing consciously. How we breathe is indicative of how we feel about life.
Becoming the expert of your breath
One of the reasons I wanted to write this book was to release self-empowerment to you, and to help you understand its power. Breathing consciously allows us to access all the answers that are inside us. Learning to breathe properly and connecting with our emotions enables our life-force energy to flow and deal with the obstacles and daily challenges that we face.
In short, our breath is our medicine, a powerful tool that all too often we take for granted. I want to take you on this journey into a deeper understanding of our breath and what it can do for us by sharing my experiences, offering handy tips, delving into medical and scientific research, and documenting my clients' stories.
You may think you don't need to be told how to breathe. It's natural, right? We just do it without thinking, don't we? If you think that, this book is definitely for you, whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a student studying for your exams or a jet-setting CEO. I can't wait for you to experience the remarkable benefits of practicing healthy breathing.
I'm going to include some simple, easy-to-remember exercises that can be incorporated into your daily life with a minimum of fuss. You don't need an expensive one-to-one session in a state-of-the-art yoga studio; you can do most of these exercises anywhere–on the subway, at your desk, standing in the supermarket line, walking the dog, even in the bath!
These short, simple exercises are derived from everything I have learned from my teachings with some truly inspirational instructors. Once you get a routine going and a regular practice, these exercises will help you sleep, calm your nerves and leave you feeling inspired, energized and focused. Sounds like a miracle, right? Well, certainly in my eyes, it is!
When I first told friends I was teaching breathwork they would look confused, or would laugh at the thought of making a living from showing people how to breathe. If I had a dollar for every time I heard 'But we all breathe naturally, so why do we need to be taught how to do it?' I'd be writing this from my beach house in Mexico (sadly I'm not). It sounds almost too simple, but hear me when I tell you that the majority of teenagers and adults have lost their natural ability to breathe fully. As a result of this, we slowly begin to shut down parts of ourselves. We are conditioned from an early age to control our feelings. Think about how we hold our breath when unwanted emotions bubble to the surface: our muscle tissues contract and our breath becomes restricted as we hold on to old conditioning patterns of behavior. Our body has a biological recording of our past with each breath.
It's called 'transformational' for a reason
The results I see from teaching breathwork are always so powerful they blow me away. I have no idea what is going to happen in a session. Each one is unique. I feel very blessed to have witnessed amazing transformations in the lives of the people I teach.
For example, one CEO came to me because he'd started experiencing frightening panic attacks and could no longer attend board meetings or give presentations. Through our breathwork he came to understand what he was subconsciously holding on to, and the panic attacks ceased.
Another client had been trying to get pregnant for 10 years. After a few breath sessions, she got pregnant with her first child. I also teach a young lady whose anxiety was so extreme that she couldn't leave the house. Connecting to her breath has helped her to manage the condition and she has regained control of her life.
A boxer who was holding on to anger that stemmed from his unhappy childhood learned to let go during his fifth session with me, and now channels his energy in a positive way into his career. A woman in an unhappy marriage was about to leave her husband until breathing sessions helped her realize it was her past that was preventing her from being happy in her marriage.
A war veteran finally let go of the hurt and trauma she had been holding on to from her time in Afghanistan, while an insomniac client who would go for weeks on end without sleep conquered that demon. All these life-changing stories (we'll hear more about them later) are a result of breathwork. This therapy is unique because there are parts of ourselves we can't necessarily access through talk therapy, but the breath can get us there, if we allow it to.
When I first came across breathwork, I couldn't understand why everyone wasn't doing it. In my opinion, it is the most powerful, accessible and transformative tool we have.
Breathwork not only changed my life, it saved my life
I have lived with depression for over 20 years, 15 of which were spent on prescribed medication. I self-medicated too, and reached a point in my 30s where I knew I needed help but didn't know how to get it.
The black dog of depression jumped on my back when I was in my teens. Back in the 1980s, depression was somewhat taboo, and people chose not to discuss it as there was a real stigma attached. I used to watch people going about their everyday life and wonder if they felt as bad as I did. Did everyone feel distanced from the flow of life and have this awkward disconnection from their body, or was it just me?
At my lowest point, I felt that life was no longer worth living. I limped on with chronic emotional depression and a real sense of complete physical depletion. My energy levels were so low that often I would barely move my limbs. On these days, I was just existing, watching the clock and wishing the day away. I had no sense of living in a healthy, vital way. I would regularly have dark suicidal thoughts and spent hours planning different ways to exit the world.
Unable to share these irrational thoughts (like many depressed people, I didn't want to burden others), I would hide away, avoiding contact, feeling numb, disconnected and in despair at not being able to shift my mood. There is so much shame around depression, so it often goes unseen. If you are depressed, it's not obvious to other people that you are unwell–you don't have a plaster cast or a bandage.
Two months before I discovered Transformational Breath®, I attempted to take my own life, ingesting a combination of alcohol and pills. Fortunately for me, that night there were some Earth angels–my best friends Jamie and Louisa–who called at the right time. My sister Sarah took me to the hospital in an ambulance.
I went home the following day, and that week I found a therapist who specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy.
The support from my sister, my mom and my closest friends is what got me through. I only told a handful of people what had happened, because I was ashamed. Taking your own life is one of the most selfish acts you can commit, but I know what it's like to be in that moment, feeling it would be better for everyone if you were no longer there.
It's not easy living with or being friends with a person with depression. I've been overwhelmed by shame and self-hatred for so many years. It is draining for those around you, and I am for ever grateful to the wonderful souls who did not give up on me and kept me going when I felt I had nothing left to give. I am here because they loved me.
They loved me with their silence and their kind, non-judgmental words. They loved me with their willingness to be as uncomfortable as I was and sit there with me, or just let me know that they were there for me. Grateful doesn't begin to cover it.
From rock bottom to recovery
After many years working in the crazy world of entertainment and media (where I indulged in a hedonistic 'work hard, play harder' lifestyle), I knew I needed to get out and do something else. I had some incredible experiences making music videos and albums, going to festivals, meeting my idols and touring with musicians.
I also experienced some of the lowest moments of my life during that period. I was a mistress of disguise, a quirky, funny, sociable and outgoing girl with the dream job, at least from the outside looking in. However, the cracks soon began to show.
The medication wasn't really working anymore, and I was finding it increasingly hard to focus and function. I was living in a shared house in London with two friends. I was burned out and fragile and the depression and anxiety were starting to pull me under.
One day I walked into a courtyard and found a place that immediately felt magical and comforting, almost womb-like. It was the Special Yoga Foundation in northwest London, run by an inspiring lady called Jo Manuel, where children with special needs practice yoga and classes are accessible to everyone. It offers families from all walks of life this wonderful therapy that helps children with movement and breath. I immediately fell in love with the place.
Watching a teacher take an unsettled child for a lesson and then seeing the child emerge relaxed, calm and smiling put things into perspective for me. It reminded me of being back in India, where I had lived for six months, where the pace was gentle and shanti. It was just what I needed. I began working part-time on reception, and was soon offered a job running their fundraising and events program.
It was here that I encountered a major influence in my life: my yoga instructor Francis D'Angelo. He used humor in his class to help us let go of any judgment about how good we were, and shared little pearls of wisdom using words that sang to my soul.
One day, in one of the first classes I attended with Francis, I just could not switch off. I was constantly looking at the clock, thinking about all the jobs I should have been doing. I made a feeble excuse and left the class. Francis came running out after me, stopped me from leaving, and told me: 'If anyone needs to be doing this right now, it's you. Come back inside.'
He was right. Putting myself through this practice of self-discovery and healing meant I had to sit with myself, and that was often incredibly uncomfortable. I was constantly trying to run away from myself, but Francis was putting a stop to that. I went back in and I never left another yoga class early.
My introduction to Transformational Breath
The first time I walked into a breath workshop, I did not know what to expect. The explanation of the work was so clear, and when I started my journey, it was the most dynamic and mind-blowing experience.
I'll try and describe that first amazing session to you (although words can't really do it justice). I could feel every cell in my body releasing and letting go. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I was in a complete state of flux. I was crying and sweating and my whole body was reverberating and vibrating. It was INTENSE! I had no control and totally surrendered to the maelstrom of emotions and physical reactions. It was like being caught in a whirlpool and to struggle was useless.
Afterward, I felt lighter and, for the first time in a very long time, I was full of hope. I also noticed I could make decisions more clearly and felt really positive. I wanted more. I realized I had been introduced to something very special and I wasn't going to let it disappear from my life. I needed this.
I want to stress that none of this happened overnight. I used the breath technique I had been taught every day and worked closely with my doctor. Sometimes I'd have dark episodes and wonder if I should go back on medication, but I never did. I began to love myself for the first time and started looking after the body I had been punishing for so long.
I found myself meeting some of the most inspiring people I've ever had the good fortune to come across. I can't help wondering whether I embraced these people because of the state of mind I was now in.
I began to feel whole, complete and physically present. My mind was clear and my emotions were more balanced. After years of suffering anxiety, panic attacks and chronic depression, I was getting to grips with the healing power of my own inner breath.
They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger–it's true. For the first time, I was able to see 'my story' from a completely different perspective. It made me grateful for the dark times, the hard lessons learned, and the gifts from life and my teachers. My experiences have furnished me with an understanding and empathy for others, and my daily reward is observing similar transformations with my clients by using breathwork.
I also realized for the first time that I and I alone was responsible for my happiness. The only person with the power to let go of the past and stop holding myself back was me. The answer was right under my nose, and I'm proud to tell you I chose life.
I've always been fascinated by the human body and how it works. I completed a 2-year course in massage and anatomy and set up a small practice as a body-worker. Teaching Transformational Breath myself was my next challenge. I'd explored courses in yoga, energy work and Reiki, but the drive to learn this was like nothing I had experienced before.
What I love about this work is that it is self-healing. As my dear friend Russell says: 'It's a conscious choice by an individual to partake in the practice. No one can breathe for you, which explains why a breathwork practitioner can only ever facilitate an individual–the ultimate choice always remains with the breather.'
Generally, I recommend 3 to 5 sessions with a breath-worker: you have all the tools you need to empower yourself in your own self-practice.
There are many teachers in this field, and the key is to find the right one for you. There are sure to be breathing teachers in your area who hold group sessions or one-to-one lessons. Please see references on here.
From Mexico… with love
I saved enough to book a ticket to Mexico to train with Judith Kravitz, co-founder of the Transformational Breath Foundation. I was three months pregnant, and that week was yet another life-changing experience for me.
Judith was (and is) dynamic, funny, a mother of eight; she taught with such humility, and her energy knew no bounds. She has incredible knowledge based on four decades of developing her conscious breathwork, and wants to share this with the world.
Watching her reading the breath patterns of individuals at first sight and working with them for just a few minutes was enough to see she was passionate and completely instinctive when it came to reading people.
This work is powerful, physical and cathartic, and as I watched her working, I noticed that everyone felt safe and nurtured in her hands. She was not going to qualify anyone until she felt the same about us. Unusually for me, I trusted her from the first moment I met her.
The sessions were very intense as I was releasing old habits and trauma through my breath, but I knew I was in a safe place and that this process was going to be great for me.
Every day of this magical week was a revelation, with layers and layers of my psyche being integrated and released with the help of amazing teachers from all over the world. To cap it all, we could see whales teaching their young how to breach in the sea from our training room.
It felt like new beginnings for the 40 other people in the course, who were by my side from all walks of life, breathing together and learning this transformative technique as one.
Does anyone actually enjoy public speaking?
I'm sure I'm not alone in detesting the idea of putting myself in front of an audience. In the past, I'd have panic attacks and would resort to a few drinks for Dutch courage, or simply make an excuse and hide.
Letting go of negative patterns of behavior and learning to be comfortable with who I am and with being seen was a new journey for me. Once you start digging, you don't really stop. It is warrior work and naturally, it can be uncomfortable seeing all the parts of ourselves that we don't necessarily like, upfront and in glorious technicolor.
Learning to love and accept every facet of ourselves, good or bad, is the ultimate goal, so we can feel comfortable in our own skin and truly understand the essence of who we are.
This powerful breathing technique gave me my life back. I was able to reconnect to my feelings and discover what my body and mind needed to feel happy and at peace with the world once again.
The benefits of breathwork
Mental and emotional
Creates space for clarity and a relaxed mind
Helps you feel more centered, calm and balanced
Reduces stress and anxiety
Relieves depression and negative thought patterns
Helps alleviate addictions and eating disorders
Helps sleep patterns
Helps you feel more positive and energized
Helps you let go of emotional baggage
Helps you release unhealthy patterns, belief systems, past hurts
Helps you let go of repressed and suppressed emotions
Clears past traumas and experiences
Improves metabolism and helps digestive problems such as IBS and constipation
Relieves muscle tension
Improves well-being for many conditions and ailments, such as respiratory issues, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches, sleeplessness, low energy–the list is endless!
Expands our inner awareness
Creates feelings of peace
Deepens connection with self and inner wisdom
Deepens creative and sensual energies
Deepens yoga and meditation practice
So why this book?
I am not a master of science, metaphysics or psychotherapy. I'm not a guru. I was just a regular 30-something woman who often found herself in a dark place and did not know how to function or fit in. When I reached the point of hopelessness, I was given the gift of remembering to connect to my breath.
It's important to know that this work is not about learning new tricks; it's about accessing what is buried in our subconscious so we can better understand ourselves. Remembering how to listen to the innate intelligence of our bodies is crucial.
I have met some incredible healers and teachers who have shared their wisdom and knowledge and helped me to understand and evolve my practice. I have met some courageous people who have trusted me with their stories. Seeing the change in these brave beings from breathwork is such a gift.
This book is for all the little voices inside us that have not been heard because they have been silenced or told they are not good enough. It is also for the souls who feel that something is missing but cannot quite determine what it is. Above all, it is about our journey toward reconnecting with our souls through breathwork and learning to trust ourselves, to allow the light back in and to embrace rather than fear our shadow sides.
How to use this book
"Dennis, a British 'transformational breath' facilitator, offers a variety of breathing exercises that promise to fight stress, provide energy, aid digestion, or help you sleep. And you can practice them anywhere - even in rush hour traffic."
- On Sale
- Sep 5, 2017
- Page Count
- 208 pages
- Da Capo Lifelong Books