“In the breath, the soul finds an opportunity to speak” – Donna Faulds, ‘Breath’.
I was introduced to Transformational Breath® in 2013, following a long battle with depression and anxiety which over the years led to the gradual deterioration of my mobility, alongside additional physical challenges resulting from contracting polio at ten months old.
During the early `60s, polio was pandemic across the whole world including in XXXX, where I was born. The most effective way of dealing with the spread of polio was to vaccinate children, but my parents weren’t able to take me for vaccination. My father was struggling financially and my mother, who was only 18 years old, didn’t understand the importance of taking me to the mobile vaccination clinic. One night, I was rushed to hospital with a high temperature and was diagnosed as having contracted polio in my right leg.
From then on, throughout my childhood, I underwent regular physiotherapy and daily muscle-strengthening exercises. I also endured two operations on both legs (to stop one from growing and to lengthen the other). I was so hopeful that after the operation I would be able to walk without a limp. Unfortunately, it took me a year to walk again, with a limp and experiencing constant pain in my right ankle (which was eventually operated on to strengthen it).
Over the years my list of health complications seemed forever expanding and included gradual muscle loss, scoliosis of the back, severe join problems, restless legs, fatigue and sleeping and breathing difficulties which all became part of my daily life. Eventually I was diagnosed as suffering from post-polio symptoms and my quality of my life became limited. The accumulation of all the gradual physical changes affected every part of my life.
Sadly, I became too exhausted to continue to work as a psychologist. So, I decide to some take away from work and direct my focus to improving my physical and mental health and wellbeing. My new daily routine included gentle yoga and meditation and I started to become curious and explore other healing activities.
However, even with my new life balance I continues to struggle with my breathing – it was shallow and constricted. My search for a class to help improve my breathing began and I came across an article on Transformational Breath®. I was instantly fascinated to discover that you could achive physical, mental, emotional and spiritual integration through a certain way of breathing, without the need to talk about any issues.
I had previously found talking therapy incredibly useful for promoting understanding and processing of painful emotions relating to my many distressing life events, but I was now looking for a new approach. In a moment of clarity, I made the realisation that the pain associated with my lifelong experience of living with polio was pushed into my body’s cellular memory and this was affecting my ability to breathe freely.
This manifested as a tendency to hold my breath to avoid physical pain. Over time this habit had developed into my ability to disconnecting from my body and was perpetuating a poor breathing pattern.
During the Transformational Breath® levels (I,II,III) over three weekends, I experienced physical, emotional and spiritual transformation. Apart from gaining a self-help tool to use daily, on a physical level, I started breathing with my diaphragm rather than with the chest muscles. This gave me more energy to engage fully in daily activities and also hugely improved my mood, sleep pattern and appetite.
On a deeper level I started to become more connected with my body. When I started feeling more pain, rather than turning away from the pain and creating more tension in my body, I learnt to focus into the pain. This new strategy of staying with the pain until it disappeared helped me reach a new level of relaxation.
On an emotional level, I had an opportunity to process many physical and emotional traumas in relation to my experience with polio and its resulting impact on my whole life. Apart from deepening my understanding of my emotional distress, I also had an opportunity to release traumatic childhood memories, thoughts and experiences – stored in the unconscious – with the help of this new way of breathing. A long inhale and short exhale with no pauses between. It is a self-empowering tool that all of us have access to.
Transformational Breath® breath is THE self-empowering tool to help us process the traumatic experiences stored in our body. Since experiencing a deeper connection with my body, processing and integrating some painful memories, my mind has stopped ruminating on critical thoughts about myself, my life and my future. As a result, I have started to become more present in my daily experience and have an increased sense of self-compassion and self-love.
My disability is my gift, giving me an incredible rich life and purpose. It encouraged me to embark on the journey to discover who really I am behind physical disability. On this journey, becoming a yoga teacher, psychologist and transformational breath(r) senior trainer gave me wonderful healing tools to share with other who wanted to access their own medicine to heal themselves and have the courage to become their authentic self.