Usually when I interview someone, it's all about them. So it was a little weird for me to go into one knowing I would be the subject.
The subject at hand was transformational breath, a breathing technique facilitated by local John Woods. He'll be giving a free session tonight as part of a wellness speaker series sponsored by Harmony Health and Massage in Breckenridge.
Simply put, transformational breath is "a self-healing breathing technique," Woods said. It helps open up the respiratory system, integrate old emotional patterns and allows the person to feel more connected and in balance.
The bottom line: "We're trying to get more air in the body," Woods said. "Because we believe that over time stress builds up."
As that stress grows, we get tightness in the stomach and in the diaphragm of the chest, Woods said, and we stop breathing properly. He estimates that most people are only getting one-third of the air they used to as a child.
"Oxygen is the greatest energy source that we have in our body, more than food, more than water," he said, and compared the body to a car's exhaust - if someone isn't exhaling properly, the body isn't detoxifying itself correctly.
Woods - a longtime financial advisor who also works with people to find abundance in all aspects of life - told me the process isn't just physical, but mental, emotional and spiritual for his clients. Some people laugh during their sessions, and some people cry. That's the ridding of stress, and other emotional patterns.
"Most people after doing this breathing technique just feel more peace," he said. "I've seen really powerful things happen to people in an hour."
Woods instructed me how to breathe for my session, two or three counts of air in, followed by a quick breath out. The pattern helps open up the diaphragm fully - and is focused on taking in positive energy - and the exhale relaxes it. My initial impression was that the practice would be relaxing - subjects lie on a blanket and pillow, and there's soothing music - but Woods told me there's actually a bit of work involved.
Woods was right. I didn't think it would be difficult to do something I do everyday - breathe - but it wasn't easy at first. I hadn't been breathing at my full capacity, he told me, and needed to work on getting more air into my stomach (women tend to not breathe fully into their stomachs, while the same is true for men and their chests, Woods said). And while I found the continued rhythm of breath a little trying at first, it became easier and more relaxing. My hands and feet actually went a little numb during the session, which Woods said is normal and due to the fact that energy and oxygen is traveling to extremities it didn't always reach before. By the end, my breath intake had improved.
Most people don't know what transformational breath is, and sometimes pass it off as new-agey and weird, but "it can be fairly deep work," Woods said. "It's fairly common to have some resistance to letting go of some past feelings and beliefs."
I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive going into it. But by the end, I felt very tranquil, almost like I'd just had a massage. Woods was right - it's hard work, but there's a rewarding peace at the end.