Our next guest in our "Heal Series" is a good friend of The Crystal Boutique and an International Breathwork Guide who resides in Bali, Indonesia. Her name is Sara Silverstein, and we were lucky enough to interview her about the basics of what "breathwork" actually is, who it can help in their healing journey and how to get started...
Here's a little about Sara and her breathwork approach so you know who you're learning from...
Sara Silverstein is an International Breathwork Guide that fled the hectic corporate world in New York City to expand her horizons to find a more fulfilling life in the wellness world. Her approach is scientific based with spirituality sprinkled on top so her take on the healing community is a breath of fresh air for those who aren't hippie-woo-woo.
So Sara....what actually IS breathwork?
Breathwork is an active form of meditation that is designed to regulate your nervous system. By utilizing your lung capacity properly, you have the ability to destress and feel more centered so you can tackle everything that life throws you.
How can people incorporate breathwork into their daily lives as a part of their personal journey and beyond?
There are many ways that you can use Breathwork in your day-to-day life. A full Breathwork Journey requires 1 hour of your day but many don't have that to spare so you can start by setting a silent alarm in your phone to remind you to do 20 full belly breaths a day. While you do those breaths, sit up nice and tall, bring your eyes to a close if that feels good for you and then place your hands on your stomach so you can feel it expand and collapse with every inhale. Taking five minutes out of your day to breathe properly can begin to rewire your brain so you are less in your fight or flight stress response and more settled into your rest zone where you can make clear decisions. Start here and take note of how you feel after this deep breathing.
Is breathwork something only super hippy or spiritual people do?
Hell no! I do not identify as a hippie or a highly spiritual person. I am an ex-New Yorker who has fallen in love with this breathing method because my decade in NYC caused me to constantly live in a state of low level panic. I suffered from anxiety attacks regularly, I was overworked and beyond stressed at my job, my commute was garbage and my home life was struggling. Someone suggested Breathwork to me when I was in the height of burnout and after some resistance - I gave in. I am so grateful I did because it shifted my entire life.
We are all born with the ability to breathe properly but as we go on throughout our lives we begin to breathe with our high chest thus stressing our entire body out. We don't give ourselves the ability to relax because we aren't cognizant of how poor breathing negatively impacts us immediately. I did one Breathwork session and felt the immense benefits from it immediately. From that moment on, I knew I needed to understand that I was in control of my body and it set me out on a scientific path to understand how to regulate my nervous system.
So Breathwork is for everyone who desires to live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Can you do breathwork on your own or does it have to be in a group setting?
I like to utilize both. I try to do a daily Breathwork exercise (even if it is just belly breathing) so I can find a sense of inner peace. But when I want to shift more emotions - let's face it the past 18 months have not been easy on any of us - I will do a full Breathwork Journey with a trusted Guide. In those sessions you can dive a lot deeper into what is going on with you, what you are holding on to, what needs to shift and giving yourself a full hour to be present with yourself is a true form of self love.
What are the benefits of breathwork - aka is breathwork good for anxiety? Is breathwork good for stress?
My top five favourite benefits of Breathwork are -
Immediately reduces stress
Regulates and eliminates anxiety
Improves interpersonal relationships
Increases self confidence and self esteem
Eliminates debilitating feelings like anger, sadness or frustration
Breathwork is the secret tool to combating any discomfort or disease in your body.
How did you start your journey with breathwork and how has it helped in your healing journey?
Breathwork was first suggested to me back in 2016 when I was in the height of my career but I was beyond stressed out. I had goals to hit by 30 and I did it. I had the job, the apartment, the partner, the budding social life - from the outside I was doing great. But on the inside, I was crumbling with anxiety, depression and inner demons like untreated alcoholism and an eating disorder. When Breathwork was suggested to me I thought - we all breathe, why would I waste money on something that I do naturally?
Turns out, I didn't know everything and I was humbled enough to try something I had no idea about. My first session was a group Breathwork experience. The room was filled with people who were very spiritual and I was immediately nervous. I felt I didn't belong. But I paid $55 to lay on the floor and breathe so you know I was committing to the session. The first 10 minutes I was judging the situation completely. The sounds coming from that room were alarming and embarrassing. I eventually heard the woman next to me sobbing and I wanted to go to help her but I knew that she was okay. Then I became jealous of her release and decided to try to breath technique out. 4 minutes into breathing and my body became electric. I started having visuals of important people in my life. I was alive in a way that I didn't ever think was possible.
I left that experience feeling that I had uncovered more in 1 hour than I did in 3 years of therapy. I felt lighter and more connected to myself. I had a renewed sense of self and a fire to cease living how I had been to find what true happiness could be.
After that session I committed to breathing once a week and doing 1:1 sessions with my teacher. I slowly uncovered hidden traumas and learned how breathing incorrectly was not benefitting my life. So I made some big life changes and began to see what my truth was.
Breathwork has given me the fuel to start on my healing journey. It gave me a firm foundation to stand upon and has given me the clarity to see that whatever I desire in this world is possible.
Is breathwork scary? What if you're bad at holding your breath?
Breathwork can be scary! It is a new thing that you have no personal experience with. But if you think about it, at one point - everything was new. I was afraid of Indian food for a decade - one day I tried a curry and I realized that I had been missing out! Fear debilitates us but we have the choice to decide if we want to walk through that fear or remain in the unknown paralyzed by our thoughts. I always tell clients, give one session a shot. If it isn't for you - I will happily refund your old breathing patterns and you can continue going on about your life without me. But - if you give yourself an opportunity to try something new, you may just surprise yourself.
Breath holds are an optional part of a Breathwork Journey with me. I always tell clients that you are in control of your experience. You get to see where you want to grow. If it is in a breath hold - great. If it is in using your voice so you can learn to express yourself - even better. Ride the wave. You will always be shown exactly what you need to grow.
Any final words for us?!
Breathwork is for everyone. Every class is for a beginner. Don't let your fear keep you separate from thriving.
To book a session with Sara, click here