Transformational Somatic Breathwork's Impact on Mental and Physical Health with Chris Brault and Pamela Wirth

Transformational Somatic Breathwork's Impact on Mental and Physical Health with Chris Brault and Pamela Wirth

Hi this is Pamela worth with the encourage your Wellness podcast and today I have Chris bral and Chris it is awesome to have you was fortunate enough to attend one of your classes and learned a lot and you know tell us a little bit about you um what breath work is you know I've been frequently told by by different yoga practitioners and things you over the years you know focus on your breath but what does this all really mean and how does it all kind of come together so thank you for for helping us here

Chris : yeah absolutely this is my pleasure thank you so much for having me on board I always love being part of these um but yeah so a little bit about my background is first off I grew up um in a small town in Massachusetts my whole life and grew up a very lovely childhood you know like any kind of like normal struggles that could you know come up for people which is just like social engagements with people focusing in school you know very traditional family like too it was very great and you know when I was you know it was right around in high school time that's where some of the the you know challenges started coming along with me you know that started to dive into a bit of the darker days for me um you know not understanding a values and you know just constantly seeking acceptance from others and you know it can lead down you know like a negative pathway in some of those ways but it's just kids being kids at that time frame right so coming out of high school I wasn't really sure at all who I was as a person what I wanted to do nothing at all so I really was just going the traditional route that you know was passed out in my family is to just hey go to school get a job you know get benefits and you know just just follow that pathway and I continued to do that for a period of time I got my degree in business and again I just had no idea what I wanted to do and as I was getting older it started growing on me that I'm like you know I have no idea so I felt like I was going on a pathway to really nowhere at that time frame but I was a very good I was very hardworking I kept a positive attitude you know that's where like got me far with a lot of like I always made like I always had a good means of making a living for myself but just had no real purpose behind it and then I always had this long I've always wanted to seek more Adventure in my life and I remember traveling out a couple times you know to the West Coast I lived in California for a little bit I visited out here in Tempe a few years back and I was like man I love the Red Rocks the mountains the energy around it it was beautiful and I moved out here in 2020 I was working currently in IT for a few years you know but then I just realized that I I just did not like this at all this was just more so a means for me to just make a living and make money and you know I thought that that was going to be enough but it wasn't and then I got into the Wellness industry where I worked at a shop called restore hyper Wellness everything from biohacking cryotherapy red light therapy all of the fun tools that they have nowadays that was part of it and I still love that but my real passion came when I came across everything changed for me when I came across breath work and that I've noticed now these past couple years has just been growing so much popularity and is because I know that people have been realizing how much of a powerful tool it is so what I did was I went on my own type of heeing Journey I would like to say a few years back which ended up going to a ceremony in California there was an individual there named watali who was guiding what we call transformational breath work session he calls it the Wali breath work and it really was the most bizarre thing that I ever did but it was amazing it was just being in a room with 50 people lying down setting Our intention behind why we were here what we wanted to get out of this what we were willing to let go and it was just a one hour of deep intensified breathing and then all I really knew and what to expect at that time was just these emotions started pouring out of me I started getting deeper insights as to who I was the things that were bothering me yeah it was really just amazing and I noticed all the different reactions around in the room was all over the place too and that was the moment where I was just in wow and then I just had to dive deeper into it

Pamela : all right so when you say dive deeper into it what does that mean and how is this breathing any different than like typical breathing you would do in a meditation or in a yoga class or whatever people might be kind of thinking here

Chris : sure so you know just in general breath work there's all different types of breath work out there it just depends on what it is that people are trying to establish here and really all in all it the breath is just a tool right it's just a tool that is going to help regulate our nervous system in general here so when I meant dive deeper I just felt like how did something as simple as breathing get us to the where we are now how did I come into this room feeling deep into the lows and everybody else feeling that way too and then coming out the other side one hour later just feeling completely joyous and uplifted and just clear like how did something like that happen how does it work and then that's where I wanted to dive into the transformational side now if you're looking into you know like in the yogi world like um those other practices there's you know different nervous system regulations that they can use by different techniques variations of inhales and exhales there's also different breathing patterns for those who are high performance in the physical fitness realm or high performers how can they keep going and then here is the transformational side where what this entails is it's a powerful tool set that is really helpful for Deepu exploration really diving into the psyche of our body and somatically releasing these emotions that get stuck inside of our bodies and really can you know put an effect on our judgment in the world

Pamela : so do you find that most people come to you knowing what transformational breathing is or do you find that a lot of people come to you and they're like I don't know what this is I don't even know that I have an intention what kind of intention should I have or what does that look like?

Chris : yeah it's a great question so most of the people that I have worked with they've never done this before now there's very few people that have heard about it there's very few people that have had their own type of healing modalities involved but when they do come to my sessions for the the most part people have not done this before and it's just setting the proper expectations as to why is it that we're here how is this going to work what to expect and what am I getting out of this really

Pamela : yeah do you find that most people set an intention of wanting to get rid of something or to gain something 

Chris : it's a combination of both really it's it's very particular to the individual but this is what I go over before every session too is that we all hold a certain level of capacity in our lives right and I feel that this is just one of those tools that in order for us to gain something we have to let go of something as well you know we have to there has to be an exchange of this energy involved there has to be an exchange of you know whatever this ideology is that we may be holding on to about ourselves now now whether that's something from the past something going on currently there's something that has to be let go of and accepted in order for us to gain new prosperity.

Pamela : who do you typically see in sessions like this who is it for is there a certain age group a certain type of person

Chrisso I've had a variety of all age groups but I've seen a more popular route more so around between 40 and 50 years old. yes I I've had everybody that is you know a parent of a family they run a business there's you know entrepreneurs innovators you know any anybody that is looking to dive deeper within themselves

Pamela : and then how often do you recommend doing something like this?

Chrisyeah so it depends on what the individual is trying to get to so if this is something that somebody is looking to experience and just get back into a center balance I would say you know i' I've had people come once a week I've done one-on-one coaching with people that do once a week I've had people come to Events maybe once a month I've had people that have had proper integration afterwards and they come every few months it really depends on what the individual is trying to get to and how deep are they trying to go

Pamela : And I believe your training's a little bit different than some people's if you want to talk about that a little bit

Chrissure as far as the training that I received or what I present into the class?

Pamela : both actually.

Chrisokay all right perfect well I I'll go ahead and explain where I got the training from how you know I got the knowledge behind with it so I went through a school that based out of Bali called breath Masters so this was a virtual training that I did here while I was living in Arizona a few years back and this was particularly about transformational breathing this was a whole program that based on the coaches being on live calls with you teaching and guiding everything that you needed to know as far as like just the basic mechanics of what breathing is how it physiolog how it physiologically affects the body and how the nervous system regulates itself and what are the different states of it like what is the sympathetic side of it what's the parasympathetic side of it and how do we use these different techniques to manipulate it how to curate a proper set and setting for these individuals to feel safe and to you know be fully expressive into doing this work and just how to professionally and safely holding these spaces you know.

Pamela : so you might want to touch on to the difference between sympathetic and parasympathetic

Chrisyeah absolutely so if you're looking at a scale with your nervous system right there are two sides of it there is just sympath there's a sympathetic nervous system side of it which is the fight ORF flight that's where you know your heart is beating at your chest things are just go go go very fast pace and that is where you know like the high stressors can come through and then if you look at the complete opposite side of that is the parasympathetic side of it that's the rest digest relax side of the nervous system right so you know I you know us human beings we can't just sit here and if we're we feel nervous or if we have a fast heartbeat we can't just sit here and be like hey slow down right just stop I don't like this but we can use the breath as a tool to manipulate that right so there are variations where if I am at a fast pace if I'm Feeling High rates of energy if I'm feeling anxious if my head's racing or my heart is racing I know how to you know you can slow that down by the use of your breath and that's another way that I like to use the breath it's more than just breath that we're talking about here it's really like I like the reference this like you're working on a a Hands-On project or you're building a house or whatever you're doing right and you're not just going to you know put a screw into a piece of wood or build everything up just by hand you have to have the proper tools right that's going to make life a lot more easier a lot more effective and time constraint and that's what the breath is for diving into our psyche and bringing us back to balance is that it's a tool to get us there for transformation for healing whatever the purpose and intention may be.

Pamela : And you combine sound with it too correct?

Chrisyes I do yep

Pamela : so what kind of sound do you find works with the nervous system better or worse?

Chris yeah that's a great question so I like to use you know it's a combination of music that you know some of it is is something that I generally do like but anything that is vibrational and it sets the tone in an energy in the Rhythm with the breathing throughout the journey so you know when it comes to warming up in the journey as well and you know that's just more of a warm-up round really so just anything that is just priming the body, getting people into the setting of it the zone of it and yeah and then as it's escalating you know I like to guide it as far as you know sometimes I slow it down sometimes the music can get emotional so it can be things that are you know can feel more sad you know in case like people do have hidden traumas and blocked up emotions that maybe they are holding grief and sadness behind it and when you're breathing and you get into the state and I'll get into what what I mean by that in a moment but it's just setting the energy in the room it's just properly moving it right and music is very powerful tool to make that smooth transition

Pamela : And when you say when you're in the state what does that mean?

Chris : So how this breathing physiologically mentally and emotionally Works how this is is when you are in a transformational session here what is happening is that well actually let me back it up a moment just basic mechanics of breathing here in general just inhale and exhale what that is doing is is when somebody is breathing fast and short like what is happening is that our bodies have about anywhere from 70 to 880,000 miles of blood vessels in the body which is such an astronomical number and what is happening is how you breathe effects those so fast and shorter breathing is going to constrict those in our body and that can cause us to have you know like nervous breakdowns for people I mean think about you know when people are stressed out or they're angry or they're emotional they're fastpac and they just have no intention or what's going on with their breathing and they're naturally subconsciously just breathing heavy into their chest then their body's just constricting but what this is doing in the setting of transformational breathing is you're breathing for a long period of time quick and deep so you're constricting the blood vessels throughout the body which then is going to restrict the blood flow to the prefrontal cortex the central governor of the brain and the idea behind that is that we want to quiet down the monkey mind the ego mind in our heads so that way we can actually get into a state what's called Theta brain wave state and Theta brain wave is like when you essentially get into a state of flow so your mind becomes more more like a sponge it's more open to auto suggestions and words and beliefs just like when you look at a child like a child all through their younger days is just in feta they're just absorbing so much right so that's what this setting is about is to get this out of the way because our minds as much as it can be a very valuable tool if used properly it can be you know it can be very disruptive in our lives it can get in the way so using this as a tool tool is getting that out of the way

Pamela : I think that's interesting and then is there and and you find it generally takes a good 10 or 15 minutes to get out of your head so to speak right and just be

Chrisyes yeah so 15 to 20 minutes of that deep breathing and of course if you're doing the deep breathing that's that's roughly what it takes so that first 15 minutes is probably going to be the most challenging because the one the main function that our minds like to do is it seeks safety it's it's it's designed to protect you right so when there's something that's unfamiliar or uncomfortable or unknown it's going to challenge you it's G to work its tricks it's G to you know tell you what the heck is going on don't do this stop stop stop but then you know the key is just the TR trust yourself know that you're in a safe space know that this work is safe your body can take it and then once you get past that and you trust your breath it will take you where you need to go to and then you set you start to get in a flow

Pamela : so how do you find most people feel when it's over do they feel tired do they feel relieved do they feel happy is it a mix?

Chrisyeah for the most part I see a lot of people they feel very clear they feel a lot of Joy but it does it does differ to the individual because it it Dives in to whatever the body is feeling itself so if somebody has just gone through an exhausting day I worked a 10-hour day I worked out I'm exhausted but like my mind keeps going and I go do this breathing and then you do the work then afterwards you may just fall asleep right so it's you know

Pamela : is that okay do you find that people per perhaps should do this in certain circumstances versus others or is it just you're just doing what the body needs for you?

Chrisyeah I think it's fantastic you know one of the things that I mentioned is that there's no real bad outcome of what comes out it's it's it's to not set any expectations as what's going to come out of it right you're you're getting exactly what you need and I feel that when people if you set an expectation on something and you don't necessarily get that direct outcome that you wanted which comes from here the mind then that can cause disappointment and disruption right you're not actually allowing to what the body needs if the body is just exhausted and needs rest that's what you're going to get all right?

Pamela : so mentally obviously it's very clear what this can do for you do you find this helps with physical ailments or anything like that as well

Chrisyeah and I'll speak of that personally for me because you know it's funny coming from a breath work coach because I grew up with asthma my whole life right so I I was I was the kid that had to use the nebulizer like every day you know just because if I was like running or playing sports I'd be wheezing and you know but that's all I had growing up with doctors was you know just use a nebulizer take these pill steroids have an emergency healer if you need it you know this is just the way it's going to be but I found that there's a lot more than just you know the breathing on what it does to the mental side but yeah physiologically it helps as well too and it's building up the CO2 you know you're you're building up a a CO2 tolerance within your body but somatically as well is throughout this process our bodies and I share this before every session as well to get an understanding of how the body is connected to this is that your body stores all of these memories throughout your whole entire life so it stores you know the the memories of you know like our our pains our traumas all these you know blocked up emotions that people could be pent up from these these moments in our life that could have been very disruptive you know it doesn't matter how far back it goes our body is a record keeper of all of that and they can be stored in different parts of the body and that puts an effect on our nervous system the nervous system is our whole entire network there and one of the things as well too is this is a little scientific here as well but there's the vest nerve the longest nerve within the body that's connected to our nervous system that's like the nervous system central highway right right there and if you take an individual that has that has a lot of pent up blocked up emotions and Trauma in their life whatever may be built up in them that can cause a lot of disruption to the network right there and the Vegas nerve is is like this response is held responsibly to it can shut on and off any organ in the body so for example we've probably you you probably know people who may be doing all the right things like you know they get enough rest they work out they eat organic but they get sick all the time right so there's a lot of these somatically in our body that can cause a lot of illnesses so when you do this work you are essentially acknowledging and expressing and clearing that out of the body and the body then becomes back to balance it becomes back into harmony it functions the way it needs the function right and I remember that for myself as well I remember I just had my nervous system was jacked up my entire life I was such a skittish kid and my breathing was just all in my upper chest fastpac I was nervous I was anxious I was sweating all the time but then when I realized that that was causing a lot of disruption to my asthma and my breathing and you know other other functions of the body as well that I was struggling with I realized that when I released a lot of this backed-up trauma in my life then it felt like I had a new pair of lungs all of a sudden I was like I can breathe amazing right now

Pamela : so you don't use the inhaler anymore ?

Chrisoh no no more no no thank goodness for this work so

Pamela : do you like to combine breath work with any other modality or do you find it you know as successful in certain people that also do certain things or you know just any I'm just wondering about that too

Chrisyeah I mean for me personally I keep it unique to the healing transformative part of it for for me personally that's what I like to use right because you can you can find a breath coach if you're like an Olympic runner or Sports competitor and you want to learn how to properly use your breathing as a tool to get your higher performance up and not get gassed out right or you have your breathing that's  you know that's going to give you more energy that's going to relax you you know and then of course there's this unique modality of it which is the healing side of it the transformation side of it so for me that's just its own unique modality towards it

Pamela : super is there anything else that you want to make sure we touch on that we've not touched on yet

ChrisI don't believe so I believe that explains it all but I would say that anybody who may be curious as far as like who is who would breath work be I would just say that it's for anyone that's seeking a powerful tool to enhance their overall well-being and cultivate a deeper connection with themselves you know so whether people are navigating through stress they want to explore personal growth and you know or just learn to manage their emotions or simply looking to optimize their mental and physical Health breath work is a very powerful way to do that and it is available to us

Pamela : super now do you only see people in person do you also do remote?

ChrisI do both okay yep so I do the in-person sessions I do them quite often via Zoom so I try to make it as available as possible

Pamela : and how do people find out more about you?

Chris So you can find me through social media which is creators breath and there's also my website as well which is that is that is my business so I just put everything up on there as far as events or anyone that wants to get in contact with me yeah whether it's a public event or if they want to work on that's all available

Pamela : awesome well thank you Chris I really appreciate having you on today.

Chrisyeah absolutely it was my pleasure thank you.


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