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Breathing potential

Transformational Breathing is a gentle, simple technique that helps people to open up the full potential of their breathing system for better physical and emotional well-being. It teaches a pattern of conscious breathing that is natural, safe and healthy which has been demonstrated to have many benefits, including increased energy, better immune response and increased ability to deal with stress.

Developed by Dr Judith Kravitz , Transformational Breathing is taught as a powerful self help tool, by fully trained facilitators to give each person an understanding of how they can work with their own breath on an ongoing basis to create personal transformation. It can be used to great effect either on its own, or in combination with other types of healing / treatment.

Oxygen is an extremely important resource to our bodies.  All of our cells, and organs are dependent on high levels of oxygen to be able to function properly.  When the breathing becomes restricted, we limit the amount of this precious fuel we receive and the whole system is compromised.  This may show up in physical illness, a general lack of energy, or feeling emotionally drained or upset.  Restricted breathing can be caused by emotional upset: we hold our breath to prevent ourselves being overwhelmed by our feelings and when this becomes habitual we lose the ability to breathe deeply and connect to our spiritual well being.

Transformational Breath Facilitators observe the breath and see physically where the breath is being held and where any blockages may be.  They will then use simple techniques including adjusting the position of the body, gentle hands-on pressure, sound techniques and positive affirmations to help the breath to open up and flow more freely.  With regular, brief periods of practice as recommended by the facilitator, the breath will begin to flow more freely at all times and it is common for people to report better health, mental clarity and emotional freedom.

Transformational Breathing is simple to learn and suitable for people of all ages, from newborn to old age.  A few sessions will enable you to use this technique for yourself as a lifelong tool.

Transformational Breathing is practiced fully clothed although you may be advised to loosen any restrictive clothing such as tight belts.

Did you know that around 90% of the population has restricted breathing patterns, even though most people aren’t aware of this?


The gentle art of taking breath

Popular around the world, Transformational breathing has arrived in Scotland. Now, after it let convert Nicola Barry relive a horrific incident, she tells how it could save your life.

Anne-Marie BirchWhat is the first thing the baby does when it is born? It takes a huge gulp of air. Our first breath is automatic, but according to Anne Marie Birch, who teaches transformational breathing, it can also be traumatic.

Anne Marie, 44, from Edinburgh, says her job is to analyse the way her clients breathe, then change any bad patterns and open up their respiratory system.

“Most babies are born in hospital,” Anne-Marie explains. “Their umbilical cord is severed, cutting off the oxygen supply – an extremely stressful moment for a baby. Because of this, the infant is forced to take a breath, unexpectedly and in panic.

“So our first breath can be painful, creating a belief that breathing is always going to be painful – and this is why most of us resist doing it properly.”

Anne-Marie maintains that most of us suffer from chronic, improper breathing habits which are not immediately obvious.

“We take about seven million breaths a year,” she says, “and the long-term effects of our poor breathing are cumulative.”

As if to back her theory up, the NHS has just estimated it would save millions of pounds if people would only learn to breathe properly. That is because improper breathing reduces our quality-of-life and weakens our systems, resulting in serious health problems. How a person breathes affects their respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, muscular and psychological well-being.

“It can also affect sleep, memory and energy levels, and shallow breathing leads to high blood pressure. The human body is designed to discharge 70% of its toxins through breathing,” Anne-Marie explains.

“If the process is not operating at peak efficiency, these toxins will not be expelled.

“Healthy breathing should be one of the first things taught to a person with heart problems because by altering breathing to a slow diaphragm mode, their blood pressure will decrease naturally.”

Anne-Marie also reveals that a person’s breathing patterns provided a map to their personality.

“Breathing explains behaviour, conscious as well as subconscious.

“The fact that it was such an effort for you to breathe in could mean you find life hard and you don’t feel worthy.

“Someone who doesn’t breath into the abdomen may not be as comfortable in their body as strong diaphragmatic breathers.”

And so to my transformation breathing session. At first, I learn to breathe in and out without pausing after the inhale or exhale. It feels faster and different to normal breathing.

Anne-Marie says my breathing is jerky, not at all flowing. But during the session, I eventually managed to breathe from my abdomen. And then, after about half an hour, I experience a totally unexpected, but graphic memory of an accident in which I broke my neck, in Japan in June 1976. I had been doing a sub aqua roll dive, intending to somersault in the water and finish in a standing position.

The poolside warnings were all in Kunji, Japanese sign language, and I discover too late they had said the water was shallow. The water was also dirty. My skull crashed hard against the concrete at the bottom of the pool.

There was a lot of blood in my mouth again, slowly, to fill with water. I held my breath. The lack of feeling in my arms and legs made it impossible to swim to the surface. Convinced I was going to drown, I remember the magic word from sub aqua training: “Float.”

But here and now, in the breathing session with Anne-Marie, I start screaming in terror.

Anne-Marie immediately tells me how to “tone” which, essentially means making a lot of noise. It’s a way of expressing what you are going through.

The breathing she says, together with toning is what allows emotions or traumas-such as accidents-to be healed.

With Anne-Marie’s help I’m able to recall-exactly-my body unwinding from its clenched feet will position following the accident, floating to the surface and taking a few sweet gulps of air, before sinking once more back down.

Through the mere act of breathing, I re-enact what happened all those years ago when I turned, in seconds, from strong swimmer into someone who was whimpering, cowering and paralysed.

Two lifeguards carried me to an ambulance. I lay utterly still, unable to move or feel anything from the neck down.

With Anne-Marie, I even relive the six month paralysis which followed and left as suddenly as it arrived.

And by the end of my first session with Anne-Marie, I feel as if I have released a lot of unpleasantness-“stuff” I have been carrying around the years and years. The result is a deep sense of calm. “Conscious memories do not always occur; as happened with you,” Anne-Marie explains to me later. “Everyone, every session is different. But emotions often arise, without any accompanying memory of where they came from.”

Experience breathing therapists like Anne-Marie believe the pace of modern life can cause people’s breathing to shut down all become more shallow.

“The way we believe is a metaphor for how we live our lives,” she says. “Restricting the flow of breath impedes progress through life. Transformational breathing does not claim to cure any illnesses, nor is it a substitute for medical care.”

Transformational breathing was developed in the United States by Dr Judith Kravitz. It has been used effectively by people of all ages and endorsed by health experts with international reputations such as Dr Deepak Chopra and Dr Christiana Northrup-as well as several celebrities such as actress Goldie Hawn.

Anne-Marie, a feisty woman, who has more qualifications than most people have had hot dinners, lives in Edinburgh with her husband Graham and two children, Emma and Sam.

She believes transformational breathing is the best way to empower people. Watching this gifted teacher practice what she preaches is an eye-opener. Transformational breathing, she explains, is a way for oxygen to reach the part shallow breathing does not. “Think of how your breathing changes when you are afraid or upset. We try to avoid certain feelings in a very good way to do this is to restrict or hold your breath.

“The minute you start, literally, breathing through experiences and emotions, you integrate those thoughts and feelings. It is a very effective way of healing trauma and negativity in the subconscious of the mind.”

My second session is altogether, and a third leaves me feeling angry at certain aspects of myself.

However in a relatively brief space of time, Anne-Marie says my breathing is a lot less jerky, leaving me more energetic and a lot calmer – empowered, as my teacher might say.


– The Sunday Express