Regulate your Mind and Body by Paying Attention to All Four Parts of Your Breath

Finding Your Power in the Pause with Breath Retention

Did you know there are four parts to the breath? Most conversations centered around breath are broken into two parts: inhalation and exhalation. The space between the inhales and exhales is equally as important. Without the pause that comes at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale you would be breathing much too fast. Hyperventilation is an example of how breathing looks when the pause is removed. 

As you breathe throughout your day this pause is minimal, almost unnoticeable. Every day you breathe in and out over 20,000 times while giving zero thought to the significance. A function of the respiratory system that happens automatically and is vital from your first breath to your last. 

Paying Attention to the Pause

The Navy Seals understand the power of the pause probably better than any other organization. They use it as part of their training because it is an optimizing breath practice that helps you stay calm while improving concentration. It’s no surprise this technique is used by a group of high-performance individuals who are known for being put in extremely tense situations. They understand the importance of all four parts of the breath and how it aids in lowering blood pressure. The Seals need to think clearly at all times and slow, stable breaths help them do just that. 

Breath retention practices help you focus your attention on the pause both at the top and bottom of your breath. By consciously extending the pause to create a breath hold you bring your attention inward. This concentrated activity focuses the mind intently on what’s happening in the body. 

Your breath is your life force, and when you practice breath retention you are cutting off that life force in a controlled manner. Training your autonomic nervous system to stay calm in high-stress situations. 

Regulate Your Mind & Body

This incredibly efficient tool not only teaches the nervous system to remain calm, but it also improves concentration as unnecessary mind chatter becomes less important when your breath is on the line. Your mind begins to devote all attention to the activity at hand. When you are practicing a 30-second or one-minute breath hold your mind has only one focus: a desire for breath. 

Plus you are training your body to be less reactive to strong needs and desires. Slowing the breath and practicing retention from a controlled space helps you to show up more intentionally. Reminding you how good it feels to be in control. And that nice inhalation of air after a retention hold is the best breath of the day. Energy pulses through the body sending a sense of relief to every cell. 

Your breath and your brain are interlinked. One will always follow the other. If you can calm your mind, your breath will follow and if you can calm your breath, the mind will follow. This, of course, works the other way too. If your mind is spinning out of control in rage, lust, or uncertainty, so will the breath. Forcing it to be short and shallow. Moving you into that hyperventilation state where no pause is accounted for. 

Practicing breath retentions help us recognize when we are out of balance and guide our mind and body back into regulation.

Box Breathing

Box breathing is my all-time favorite breath practice. It has been the single best practice for me to clear my mind, feel into my body, and find inspiration. It is as simple as it is effective. 

Conscious breathing does wonders for our health as the respiratory system is connected to all aspects of the body working properly. 

Dedicating time to not only notice your breath but also to pay attention to the pause is incredible healing. It has helped me to see my intrinsic connection to all things as I receive breath, hold breath, offer breath, and am breath. 

Simple 5-minute practice

  • Set a time for 5 minutes
  • Find a comfortable seat, crisscross or hips to heels on the floor, or if in a chair: move to the edge so your feet are firmly planted and your spine is straight.
  • Soften your gaze
  • Bring your attention to your breath.
    • Notice where your breath naturally wants to travel
    • Allow your body to move gently with the breath
    • Guide your breath through your lungs and into your abdomen
  • Exhale all the air out through pursed lips
  • Seal off the lips and inhale deeply through the nose filling up your belly, ribcage, and chest as you count to 4.
  • With your body full of air, hold as you mentally count to 4 again.
  • Exhale slowly and unrushed as you once again count to 4
  • At the bottom of the exhale close off the mouth and hold as you count to 4
  • Inhale and repeat the 4x4x4x4 cycle until the 5-minute alarm sounds.

The first few rounds might feel uneasy or lopsided. But if you stick with it the process begins to be something you can feel. You become calmer and relaxed.

If a 4-count feels easy, count to 5. If it feels tough, count to 3. There is no rule. The best way to begin working with breath retention is to start. Teach yourself how to control your breath. Notice where your breath is traveling. Get curious about what comes up both emotionally and sensationally. These are all clues that will help you better understand yourself and your connection to the world around you. 

5 Minutes a Day

Breathwork is a meditation, and in 5 minutes a day, you will set yourself on a path to health, insight, and growth. Breath retention becomes a fun and relaxing activity that you won’t want to miss. You will begin to notice that moment when your inhale becomes an exhale, and when your exhale becomes the wave of the next inhale. There is a powerful connection between your breath and the world around you. If you are looking to deepen your practice and want some guidance along the way, check out my 4-week self-led online course, Breath Mindset, and feel free to leave me a note here as well. 

3 Key Qualities You Must Be Willing to Master for Online Business Success

Crafting Your Story, Finding Your Customers, and Bringing Your Business Online

Do you ever feel totally paralyzed by the amount of work it takes to bring your business online? A sea of new customers who you would never have had access to 25 years ago are now all there, online. Now instead of someone finding your local business, you can find them anywhere, but that brings on new challenges. With so many choices you need to craft your story to find your ideal customers. This can feel overwhelming, daunting, and impossible to do. 

As someone in her (almost) mid-forties, I find myself struggling with finding my online voice. I see all the gurus telling me why I NEED to buy their products and how they guarantee it will help me…

  • Find my ideal customer
  • Grow my mailing list
  • Attract high-end clients
  • Make 6-figures in 6 months

This all sounds amazing! But when you boil it down, it’s just good marketing.

I’m not suggesting there is no value in these claims. I want all the information I can to help me bring my small business to a world audience. I’ve bought multiple programs and have gained value from all of them. These online businesses take all the information out there and tie it into a pretty little package for you to take home and have a step-by-step example of how to do whatever it is that they have done. 

Totally groovy.

No matter what the course is about I always get stuck on the same thing. It’s like my block. Then I get discouraged and I fall off course. This is what I’ve learned…

  1. It’s never as simple as they suggest
  2. It all takes hard work and commitment
  3. The results highlighted are not typical
  4. YOU MUST BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTHY OF THE REWARD!!!

In every course, workshop, or FREE webinar I’ve signed up for they all say the same thing…

You must believe that it’s possible for you.

Nothing will ever work for you if you don’t believe it’s possible for you. 

No matter what you are looking to achieve you must be willing to put in the work, have a clear goal, and see yourself living that life. 

Once you start down a path, obstacles are bound to come up. But Obstacles help you get clear about your own vision–obstacles that end up being your biggest resource. 

Starting or bringing your business online is the wave of the future, but before you jump in, here are 3 key qualities you must be willing to master to bring you to the forefront of your field.

  1. Know Your Why

What you do is probably not unique to you. What you do is probably something that hundreds of others are pursuing as well. As an online business owner, you must be able to articulate why you are doing business. 

Your why is what makes your business different from all the others. 

Simon Sinek wrote a book called “Start with Why” and he reminds us to chase the dream, not the competition. This is such a great reminder. When you got into this business you were set on an outcome, not focused on what everyone else was doing. And you are not them, you are you! And people want to buy and work with people like you. People who are relatable to them. This means you have to be able to simply and accurately express your why – why buying a product or service from you is valuable. 

The “why” is what made Toms shoes so successful. Not only was his mission clear, but others identified with it and it made them feel good about their purchase. There are hundreds of choices out there when it comes to slip-on shoes, but people buy Toms because it represents something more. 

  1. Clear Communication

Communication is key. When you are looking to communicate with your audience it is wise to come from your why. All successful relationships–business and otherwise–need clear communication. It’s so easy to chase the latest trend and get caught up in all the bells and whistles of online marketing. When you do this you are throwing darts while blindfolded. 

Who are you talking to? Be clear. 

When you talk to everyone you talk to no one. 

As an entrepreneur, you must get clear. This will make it easier for you to relay your vision to others, and help you stay focused when the internal and external critics chime in.

  1. Confidence

Self-confidence is so important when you are setting your vision on any big goal because it helps you find your footing during difficult times. Confidence comes from experience and from education. 

You must believe in what you are selling. You must believe you are the person to buy from. You must believe that you are making a difference. You must believe in the value of your work or nobody else will. 

Being an entrepreneur takes guts. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed. Confidence comes from feeling those feelings and taking the risk anyway. It comes from asking for feedback and adapting to changes when necessary. 

You will never succeed if you don’t believe it. No matter how many online courses or books or seminars you attend. You must believe in yourself. Everything else will follow. 

I’ve been running my online breath business for just over a year. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at without the resources I got from online gurus. I also know I wouldn’t be here without the local yoga and breathwork classes I teach. All my clients have helped form me into the small business owner I am today. 

I have had to adjust, walk away, reform, accept, and make choices based on my wealth of information. I am not where I want to be, and I have a lot of work to do, but I wouldn’t be here without perseverance and knowing that I am helping humanity connect to their greatest resource: their breath. 

I am no influencer, but I treat all my clients as though they are the most important client because they are. They are your teachers and will help you become the successful businessperson you have set out to become. 

Learn more about my business, Breath Mindset and reach out with your own thoughts. What do you think are the top key qualities for online business success?

Navigating Pandemic-Induced Grief

Moving Forward and Transforming the Pain

“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” – C. S. Lewis

In March of 2020 our relatively stable lives and economy were uprooted. The news became a constant stream of COVID-19 questions and concerns. With no solution or cure to be found we all went into lockdown. Little did we know at the time that it would take roughly two years before we were tip-toeing back into society. Collectively we experienced an incredible amount of trauma and it feels like no one is talking about it.

With limited opportunities for us to get out and experience our family, friends, and work life we had to face this new reality alone. We sat home alone in our grief as we realized things would never be the same again. The loss and pain that comes from a dramatic change in our day-to-day life can be overwhelming. 

Now that we are out living our lives once again it is time to start processing the huge emotional shift the last two years have caused. 

Lockdown

You remember the early days of the pandemic. Everyone was shocked but also enjoying some downtime at home. We were all baking bread and re-organizing our rooms and giving lots of unwanted items to Goodwill. But then, what we thought was going to be 3 weeks dragged on for another 2 years. We began hopping on Zoom calls with our friends and drinking wine in the middle of the day, and we started to realize how precious our fragile economy was.

People started to break up and our mental health plummeted. We were not okay. And as a result, we were realizing that we haven’t been happy in our lives or at our jobs, and we started grieving, at home, by ourselves, in a very unhealthy way. 

We were home, but we realized we had been burnt out, and we were used to living with a lack of focus and endless fatigue. 

We hadn’t had time to stop and breathe and because of that, we didn’t know how to stop and breathe.

Suddenly we were less engaged with friends and family online. We became tired of Zoom, and the Great Resignation began. 

As we headed into year 2, with no end date in sight, we became more divided as a nation. Polarized by politics and caught between doing what is right and taking care of our mental health. 

Two years isn’t long in the grand scheme of things, but it shifts how we communicate, do business, and how comfortable we are in a large room of people. 

The world opens up

Slowly we emerge on the other side. COVID still moves silently among us. It is more contagious but less deadly and it’s time to get our lives back on track. 

Now the fear of socializing begins. Now we must relearn how to leave the house. How to show up for events, and how to be responsible for ourselves and each other as we do so. 

For many, this has been equally as challenging. Many are questioning what this post-pandemic life will be like. Many are feeling anxious about the future and question whether or not we will need to shelter in place once more. 

There is a void, and we are all seeking new common ground in a world that has been utterly shaken. 

Working Through Pandemic-Induced Grief

Most of us shy away from feelings of grief. We understand the overwhelming effect grief has on the body and would prefer not to feel that pain. This is one of the reasons it’s so hard to connect with someone who just lost a loved one in death. We understand their suffering and we don’t want to acknowledge that hurt and unhealed wound inside of us, so we stay nothing, or we stay away. 

This makes grief one of the most challenging emotions to breathe through. Although we collectively understand that grief is inevitable, it is also one of the hardest to face. 

Grief is a form of love. Love that has been lost in some fashion. When we turn our thoughts toward love, transformation can begin and we heal and grow. It is when we decide to stuff it in and not deal with the hard emotions of grief that trouble arises. Overworking, substance abuse and isolation are common masking tools that might numb the pain but result in illness, depression, or more grief.

Collective Healing

It is time to come together and heal from this pandemic. I am thrilled to be joining forces with Pastor Kacey Hanh from St. Matthews Church in the Renton Highlands to bring you Breathing Through Grief: A three-part series dedicated to helping our community heal.

The first of the three is Oct. 2 and we will focus on this very topic. We will come together and breathe through the hard and uncomfortable. We will support each other through the grief and come out stronger together on the other side. 

This 90-minute workshop is open to all regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, or religious affiliations. Grief is a common thread and together we will always be stronger. 

This is a time to listen, share, breathe, and explore. Grief is love that we don’t move on from, but that we are open to moving forward with new eyes and appreciation. 

Learn more about all 3 workshops and register by clicking the link here. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable with a Glacier Dip at Mount Rainier

Experience the Transformative Power of a Cold Plunge with Lynar DeLuca

When was the last time you treated yourself to a day at Mount Rainier? The lustrous mountain that can be seen from almost all points of King County. We live so close, yet can go years without a visit. Join Lynar DeLuca of The Breath Academy, and myself, for a day of exploring the Naches Loop Trail with an added Glacier dip down at Dewey Lake. A day that won’t soon be forgotten. 

There is a reason that this is one of the most popular trails on Mount Rainer: 

  • The stunning views
  • The light elevation gain
  • Wildflowers galore
  • Easily accessible

Every time I find myself here I am captured by the beauty of Tahoma. A stunning reminder of this place we call home and a humbling reminder of how small we really are. 

When you join us on Sunday, August 14th, you too will experience this stunning hike, as well as the added bonus of a trip down to Dewey Lake.

Dewey Lake

This is the most challenging part of the trail and almost doubles the length of the hike from 3.2 to 6 miles in total. The added elevation gain keeps most explorers from traveling down. 

Not us! 

This is the fun part, not to mention the cooling-off part. 

Because we will be starting early, to beat the crowds and enjoy the peaceful morning, we will miss the midday heat. That being said, the trail does have some stretches of full sunshine. Proper sun protection should be considered as well as sturdy hiking shoes for the descent, and climb from the Lake. The summer sun also brings one other element…

Mosquitos!

Lynar and I decided to do a trial run of the event this past week and found to our chagrin that the lake hosted an abundance of tiny (and not so tiny) bloodsuckers. This did not stop us from enjoying our time at the lake, but it did put a damper on our breathwork. Because of this we strongly recommend a mosquito hood for protection as well as lightweight long sleeves and long pant attire. 

Time To Take The Plunge!

Once at the lake the fun begins! Well, I mean besides the army of mosquitos. The hot August sun has warmed this lake, but the melting snow keeps it at a refreshingly cool temp.

Here in this scenic retreat, you will be guided through some circular breathwork. Preparing your mind and body for the refreshing, cold glacier waters.

The breathwork will help to calm your nerves as your adrenaline begins to rise. After which you will have an opportunity to get your suits on, (yes, there will be a private changing space), and take a horse stance with us in the shallow end. As your feet take in the cold your mind will settle into focus. 

Now you are ready to take the plunge. 

Lynar is a 200-hr Certified Yoga Teacher and Breath Coach who has a passion for cold exposure and sharing its incredible benefits with other people. She has been practicing cold dips since moving to Washington almost 15 years ago and has been practicing breathwork for 5 years. Various breath practices have helped her relieve stress and anxiety, while cold exposure has helped her push past the limits of what the mind thinks is possible. 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! And your opportunity to get comfortable being uncomfortable. During your 2 minutes submerged in the lake, Lynar and I will be with you the whole time. Breathing, humming, focusing, and guiding you through. Allowing you the time and space to find your inner stillness and come out stronger on the other side. 

After everyone has had an opportunity to feel the power of the cold, we will dry off, get dressed and head back up to the main trail to be rewarded by panoramic views of the mountain. Together we will enjoy some snacks and good conversation before finishing off the loop and heading home. 

Breathe in Nature

If you are looking for something fun to do this August and want to stretch yourself in a powerful way then this is the adventure for you!

This is the 5th installment of the Breathe in Nature series and one that all the members have been looking forward to. There are only a few spots remaining and we would love for you to join us. 

Read more about Breathe in Nature here and join us before it’s too late.

Going Against the Flow with Viloma Pranayama

Change Your Mental Patterns by Changing Your Breath Patterns

Pranayama is the yogi way of saying breath control. It comes from the root words prana, meaning life force or energy source, and yama, meaning to control. Put the two together and you get life energy control. It is also well established that your breath is the bridge between your inner and outer world. As we continue to link this further we begin to understand that if breath is your life energy that you can control and it moves between your internal world and your external world, then essentially you have the power to expand your prana to make purposeful changes in your life. 

Breathwork has become very popular these days, which is super cool, but it’s more than just learning how to manipulate the breath in different ways. 

Pranayama Breathwork is about enhancing your health, changing your energy levels, and finding balance in your mind. 

Viloma pranayama

Viloma means to go against the natural flow. This is a basic breathing technique designed to help you expand the breath cavity. It is done by interrupting the natural flow of breath consciously to cultivate control and awareness of being. 

Deliberate pauses are inserted into each round of breath. Not only does this technique help you to take deeper fuller breath, it also helps bring your mind into focus. Whenever you hold your breath, even for a second, your mind becomes hyper aware and all other thoughts take a back seat. These deliberate pauses put micro amounts of stress on the body to prepare you for more dynamic pranayama techniques. Many of which entail longer periods of breath retention and holds. 

This practice sets a solid foundation for your breathing practice. 

Any time you consciously manipulate your natural breathing pattern you need to be aware of potential side effects. Those who have hypertension or heart disease for instance, shouldn’t hold their pause in a Viloma practice for more than a second or two. If you have epilepsy, are pregnant, or have any health concern that demands attention, you should check with your health care provider before doing any breath holds longer than two to three seconds. 

As we go through the practice below, know that for our purposes here we will not be asking you to practice holds longer than 3 seconds. 

How to Practise Viloma Pranayama

Viloma Pranayama has three versions or stages. Each one builds upon the last. What makes Viloma unique is that the three versions can be done in one session as you build through the stages, or it can be practiced as three separate techniques. 

The three versions are…

  1. Viloma 1- Breath is interrupted on the inhalation
  2. Viloma 2 – Breath is interrupted on the exhalation
  3. Viloma 3 – The breath is interrupted on both the inhalation and the exhalation

Three-Part-Breathing is a helpful and simple technique to understand and have some practice in before attempting Viloma pranayama. The basics of 3-part-breathing is simply inhaling through your nose into your belly, out through your ribcage, and up into your chest. Then exhaling out the chest, through the ribcage, and emptying through the belly. Like an elevator, 

Inhale – Belly, Ribcage, Chest

Exhale – Chest, Ribcage, Belly

You can watch my youtube video here

Viloma 1

In the first stage, the breath is interrupted during the inhalation followed by a long smooth continuous exhalation. This is where I like to incorporate 3-part-breathing because it helps identify markers for the pause, or interruption. Basically, you will breathe into the belly, pause, breathe through the ribcage, pause, and up into the chest, pause, and then exhale slowly. 

Stage 1 builds tension during the inhalation while allowing you to get a full deep breath. After this tension has been built both your mind and body enjoy a nice release on the exhalation. 

As you practice Viloma 1 you will increase your lung capacity while training your body to let go of tension. Everyday micro decisions build small amounts of tension, and in life there are times when it is helpful to pause and recognize what’s happening in the body. This technique helps you let go of that tension before you hit a boiling point. It is a mental rehearsal in letting go. 

Let’s try it.

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and bring your focus to the tip of your nose. 
  • Begin noticing the natural flow of breath moving in and out through your nose. 
  • After a couple rounds start consciously dividing your breath into 3 parts.
    • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, and chest.
    • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • Once comfortable with this division we begin by inhaling for 3 seconds into the belly about one-third of your capacity and pausing for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling for 3 seconds as you consciously widen through your ribcage bringing yourself to two-thirds of your breath capacity, then pause again for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now fill up completely as we expand out into our chest with full lungs for 3 seconds and pause one last time, 1-2 seconds more.
  • Then release on one smooth exhale — slow and steady for 9 seconds. 
  • Do 5 – 10 rounds.

While it is important to fill up to your full lung capacity, it is equally important to not add undue stress by creating strain in your shoulders, back, or throat. As you notice your body through this practice see that you are not feeling tight in your head and that your body is relaxed. 

Viloma 2

The second stage of Viloma is done in the same way but the interruption comes on the exhalation. Beginning with a nice steady inhale and letting air in 3 parts on the exhale. 

As you move into this stage take time to notice how you feel changing the point of tension from the inhalation to the exhalation. During this stage you get to enjoy the sensations of a nice full deep breath in. It is in the exhale that you mentally experience the response to releasing tension in a controlled manner. Here again it relates to life. Noting the importance of cautiously and slowly letting go of tension. Sometimes under stress we tend to react without thinking, and Viloma 2 reminds us to slowly release tension in a mindful manner. 

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath. 
  • Notice any tension still remaining in the body after Viloma 1, and continue to release it with every exhale.
  • Return to 3-part breathing
  • Inhaling into your belly, ribcage, chest.
  • Exhaling from your chest, ribcage, and belly.
  • After a couple nourishing rounds take one long steady inhalation for a full 9 seconds, allowing your lungs to fill completely.
  • Now exhale out of your chest for 3 seconds, allowing about a third of your breath to go. As your chest drops, keep conscious that your ribcage is still lifted and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Exhale another third of air from your ribcage for 3 seconds and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Now let the final third of air go completely as your navel naturally hugs back towards your spine and naturally hold until the body feels called to the next long smooth inhalation.
  • Repeat 5-10 rounds.

Be cautious that you are making this an unhurried process. Keep the rest of your body loose while maintaining stillness. With practice, Viloma 2 will increase breath capacity while managing mental tension, allowing you to be more responsive instead of reactive.

Viloma 3

By the third stage you should be feeling a deep connection and control over the flow of your breath. Your breathing should resonate deep into your belly and your body should feel relaxed. Once this is true for you, you will be ready to move into stage 3. Viloma 3 is revitalizing! You will interrupt the breath on both the inhalation and the exhalation, maintaining control over the entire breath cycle. Filling up in 3 parts with a pause, and exhaling in 3 parts with a pause.

Let’s try it.

  • Come back to your natural breath.
  • Do a couple rounds of long steady inhales and exhales.
  • Begin the third stage on an inhale, deep into the belly for 3 seconds, and pause for another 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue inhaling up into your ribcage for 3 seconds, and pausing once more for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of your breath will move into your chest for 3 seconds bringing you to a full breath. You will hold here at the top for 1-2 seconds.
  • Begin to exhale out from your chest for 3 seconds and about a third of the way through your breath. Hold here, keeping your sternum up for 1-2 seconds.
  • Continue exhaling out the ribcage for another third of your breath and hold once again for 1-2 seconds.
  • The last third of breath leaves your body in the final 3 seconds of the round. This time followed by a longer hold. Unforced but pleasantly empty of air until your body naturally inhales into the next wave of breath.
  • Continue for 5-10 rounds.

Another way to look at Viloma 3 is like a ladder where your breath is moving up and down like steps. It could also be helpful to take a natural inhale and exhale between each round.

With each round the breath capacity develops and with practice the pause and hold times can become longer. This slows the breath and the mind, helping you to open up to the subtlety of your body and navigate through thoughts in your head with more clarity and focus. 

Putting it all together

Now you should have a pretty good understanding of the three stages of Viloma pranayama. Check out my YouTube Channel for more information.

Immerse Yourself in a Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse Gong Bath

Treat Your Senses to a Full Spectrum of Sensation

If you love the great outdoors, then you don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to get under a full moon during a lunar eclipse to experience a soothing gong bath. 

There’s no comparison to the healing elements of Mother Nature. Few things are as relaxing as sitting under a canopy of trees, feeling grounded to the earth, closing your eyes, taking a couple of slow deep breaths, listening to the water streaming by, and allowing all your senses to open to the healing powers of nature.

With all your senses heightened and relaxed, you open up space to connect deeply with the world around you. 

This event is designed to be a totally immersive experience. Jill Mattern will be our guide and she’s prepared every detail. Allowing you time to unwind and engage in this stress-relieving gong bath. 

This is an event for those looking to find a deeper sense of mindfulness through a variety of sensory experiences focusing on deepening your connection to the ever-present now. 

Let Nature Be Your Guide

Connecting with nature is as simple as getting outside, but Jill is aiming to guide you deeper on this journey so you can fully experience all the benefits.

The grounding sensations of nature have a profound effect to tune you into your own wisdom. 

On Sunday, May 15th, Jill will work with the elements by engaging all your senses

  • Hear the sounds of nature working in perfect harmony
  • See the ancient wisdom flowing naturally as one
  • Smell the essential tree oils, and healing river essence
  • Taste the natural freshness that surrounds you
  • Feel the perfect unkempt soil beneath you

Jill’s guidance will have you soaking in all the flavors of the forest so you can become one with the joy and calm inside you.

It is in this stillness that the restorative sounds of nature begin to mix with the elusive gong. Bathing you in the mix of deep resounding vibration, running water, rustling leaves, and opening you up to the wonder of it all. Reminding you that you are indeed a part of a larger whole.

An Inviting Invitation

This awakening experience has the potential to inspire new ways of being and connecting to others. Helping you to see the world beyond your current experience and expand how you think about your place and purpose here.

Universally nature is seen as a way to enhance our health, but there are other benefits as well. Add the healing sounds of the gong and you have entered a new form of meditation. 

Sound is an ancient form of healing that can aid in…

  • Relaxation
  • Emotional Release
  • Thought Processing
  • Sleep 

Sound healing allows your brain to move into slower wave states. In these more theta states your brain has space to process in a way that promotes a more parasympathetic nervous system response. Better known as “rest & digest”.

Opening Your Subconscious Mind

Bathing in nature paired with healing vibrations can stimulate an altered state of consciousness. Creating a trance-like state can be extremely healing when you are fully absorbed. 

This may feel a little woo-woo at first, but once you give yourself over to the power of it all you will feel the harmonics of the gong move through every inch of your being and like a wave of release stress slowly disappear. Leaving you calm, balanced, and mentally clear.

After about 45 minutes of gong therapy under the full moon, Jill will guide you back to body consciousness. This is a rebirth into the sights and sounds surrounding you. The journey will end as everyone makes their way to the warming fire. In silence, we will arrive together, and just like people have done throughout time, we will share in our experience collectively while enjoying hot tea. 

Your Innate Knowing of What is Needed to Uplift and Clear You

This can be a moving and powerful experience. Shining our souls from the inside is a fantastic way to detox the negative energy stuck in our minds and body. Each individual is likely to have a personal experience ranging from deeply emotional to extremely energized. 

About your Guide

When Jill Mattern moved to Washington State from the Midwest for a service year with AmeriCorps. It was during this time that she sought the question: what does it mean to be free and to live a life of purpose and joy? 

With this question in mind, she started a journey. 

  • She sought mentorship by Indigenous Women while studying and taking part in Native American rituals, including a Vision Quest
  • She studied and worked with Civil Rights activists, earned a certification in Kingian Nonviolence
  • She developed and facilitated mindfulness practices for elementary-aged students, becoming a certified Kid’s Yoga Teacher
  • She worked at the university level focusing on social justice, and in elementary schools serving diverse populations.

But it wasn’t until the summer of 2017 during a solo 100-mile hike that she realized the answer to her question was inside all along…

True sovereignty comes from within, and we all have the internal resources to tap into our own joy and potential. 

Jill’s yoga practice was instrumental in this realization. Finding her own inner peace, she began studying this ancient technology eventually becoming a certified yoga teacher and outdoor mindfulness guide. She is thrilled to be able to share the practice with others. 

Her workshops weave together ancient yogic traditions with modern science to give students a holistic understanding of the mind and body connection. Being in nature, immersed in sound, postures, and breath, students will strengthen their nervous system allowing them to feel more vibrant, alive, and ultimately, free.

What Jill has to say about this event

You’re invited to experience the healing vibrations of sound and nature. Blending the power of nature to renew and restore, and the gong, an ancient ceremonial instrument used to heal the body and mind, you’ll enjoy a powerful sonic and sensory experience.

We will meet during the full moon total lunar eclipse, just before sunset. An eclipse is known as a Full Moon on steroids and happens when the moon is opposing the sun, and the earth’s shadow is cast upon the moon. During a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the Earth falls across the face of the moon bringing unconscious feelings to the surface. Lunar eclipses are culminations of emotional cycles that have run their course, and they encourage us to let go of emotions and attachments that are no longer serving us.

Endings are necessary in order to make way for the new and a lunar eclipse is like the final purge or cleaning of an emotional cycle, if something needs to come to an end, an eclipse can help you set the intention of completion in concrete.

After a year of Trauma, we have a lot stored in our system.  Let’s use this auspicious day to release what is no longer serving us by using nature, breath, the moon’s energy, and sound.  There are numerous scientific benefits to spending time in nature including increased feelings of well-being and lower stress and anxiety. This healing is enhanced through the use of a 4ft foot gong. Laying in nature, under a full moon, the deep tonal frequencies of the gong ease the mind and physical body into a state of total relaxation. The gong tones allow for inner exploration and self-guided healing and can help reset the nervous system to its optimal function. 

The session begins by setting an intention, gentle stretching, followed by breathwork, a guided meditation eventually leading into a gong bath meditation.

The full moon energy is used for releasing old habits, patterns, behaviors, and energies. To support your healing intentions or release and renewals, participants will be gifted a curated set of gemstones to supercharge the evening’s intention. 

Looking for more information. Check it out here. It is the second of 6 in a series called Breathe in Nature. 

Happening Sunday, May 15th.

5pm meet-up

6pm start time

9pm wrap up

Undisclosed location along the Snoqualmie River

What Does Embodiment Mean, and Why Is It Essential to Our Happiness?

Breathe Deep to Let Your True Essence Shine

As you grow in your mindfulness practice you probably hear the word embodiment thrown around. But what does it mean? And why is it essential to our happiness?

For as much of a body-obsessed culture that we live in, we actually spend very little time in our bodies. We have cut ourselves off at the neck, using only our thoughts and bouts of pain or pleasure to feel into our bodies. We let our minds take the wheel and drown ourselves in images and data of what the outside world has determined we should look and feel. We have left the joy of feeling our bodies at the door. 

For many women, this cut-off begins around puberty or earlier as we have been trained to see the images of women that represent something we are not. This kind of body dysmorphia leaves us depressed and we hide our bodies for fear of rejection. We learn about pleasure from movies and TV so we can “perform” for the boys. 

We have trauma and abuse from our society all with an underlined virtue in the importance of being sexy for our lives to matter. 

Camille Rainville wrote a moving poem, “Be a Lady They Said” in 2017 that two years later became one of the most heart-wrenchingly profound pieces of art I’ve ever watched about what it means to be a woman. 

Unfortunately, men are falling into this trauma more and more as pressure to look a certain way increases while our lifestyles become more relaxed. We are busy, and sitting, and traveling in automobiles to get everywhere we go. We have our food and everything else delivered so we can stay home and dump more and more data into our minds about the world around us and our place in it. 

This modern lifestyle is super convenient. It’s convenient for all the companies out there who use their time and energy to invest you in them. To help you feel alone, like an outsider, and in need of what they offer. Whether it be a pill, or simply your attention, the goal is to keep you in your head and in mercy to them. 

Breathe into your Body

One of the easiest ways to start feeling your body is through breathwork. You’ve heard it a million times: Just Breathe. And our bodies are craving it, but our mind is in control and doesn’t see the point.

So let’s do it together now.

  • Take a nice deep inhale through your nose
  • Exhale with a sigh
  • Do it again.
  • Now close your eyes and inhale one more time, and feel the breath rise and fall as you inhale and exhale. 

Feels good right?

  • Continue to breathe consciously like this. 
  • Feel the air move into your belly on the inhale and notice the subtlety of movement as you exhale.
  • Continue with this feeling. 
  • Follow your breath 
  • With each exhale find yourself relaxing through your shoulders, your jaw, your belly. 
  • Perhaps even placing one or both hands over your heart and just being present in this moment.

If you are taking time to do this, even as you read, you are probably noticing a feeling of ease come over you. You may notice your mind has slowed and there is a sense of joy and connection within your body. 

This is how the embodiment experience begins. It begins with slowing down and becoming aware.

Awareness

The first time I did a breathwork session my entire face was tingling and my hands morphed up into claws. I was numb and completely vulnerable. Once the hour-long session ended I realized I had streams of water flowing from my eyes and I was feeling such a powerful release of energy and emotion that I didn’t understand what the hell had just happened. 

The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to feel more. 

At the time I didn’t understand what was happening or what embodiment meant, but I started to see the power breath was bringing into my body. Every time I consciously started to breathe, and let the breath guide me into my body, I felt more open and expansive. I started to reconnect to dormant information within my body and gradually I have been able to release that stagnant energy out of my body using my breath. 

We store emotion, hurt, trauma, and feelings of shame in the body. We bury it within us and then cut off access to feeling it because it feels too painful. We lose that connection and rationalize it through our thoughts. 

When we talk about embodiment it’s not really a question of what you’re thinking, but where you’re thinking. 

Inner Intuition

With so much information being thrown around daily it’s hard to keep up and decipher truth from deception. The media is doing a great job of telling us what we need or don’t need, what’s important or unimportant, whom we should hate and whom we should adore. All we need is that seed to be planted for an idea to take on a life of its own. 

Breathwork helps us travel inward. It helps us take pause in the questions of the day so we can tap into our inner intuition and start deciding for ourselves what feels right in our bodies. 

Once our body is engaged we begin to feel into situations in our lives instead of analyzing them. We begin to grow up feeling more confident and in control of our body and thus our emotions. 

Embodying our perfectly imperfect bodies helps us to stand confidently when life feels hard and our insecurities are revealed. 

Taking ownership of your body is a huge step. Taking ownership means you are ready to breathe into the pain and air out old emotions and trauma. It means you are going to deal with uncomfortable emotions, people, and situations in the moment. It means becoming whole. Dancing in the rain, feeling the cold breeze hit your back, moving your body in new and challenging ways, and allowing yourself to illuminate from the inside out. 

Embodiment asks you to breathe into the spaces you’ve covered up early in your development and allow room to shift and move through that discomfort. Mindfulness is a daily practice and body awareness asks us to join this daily practice to listen, to observe, to notice. Your breath is your anchor. It’s the portal from the outer world to your inner experience. Whole-body living is connecting your breath to your mind in a way that opens you. In a way that helps you feel alive, rested, and in control of your life and your experience. 

The outside world will always find ways to showcase what is wrong with you and what you need to be doing. Embodiment is feeling into which of those messages are right for you and which you can throw by the wayside.

As you walk this path that is your life you will be continuously challenged and questioned about your choices. How you decide to show up and live is all about how you embody those choices. Anchor into your breath, feel stillness from deep within and walk confidently towards your true potential. 

***If you are interested in going deeper on a journey into connecting with your breath, check out my online course, Breath Mindset, and begin your embodiment journey today. 

Take Massive Action to Live a Life You Love Living

Only with true authenticity can your abundance flow

We all have that friend whose life looks like a total dream. They have the family, the house, the amazing job and from the outside, you’d say they have it all. But after spending an afternoon with them you realize that they feel empty or aimless in their journey. They have checked off all the boxes but something is missing and it’s leaving them wanting more. 

Maybe this is a friend, or perhaps it’s you. 

A dear friend of mine has lived a rich and full life despite being to hell and back. He’s maintained a truly healthy outlook and the wisdom he holds can seriously change the trajectory of many young men’s lives. He’s passionate and he has an incredible story about overcoming personal demons and breaking old patterns. Whenever we get together he tells me he wants to write a book, but he’s never put pen to paper. 

The reason?

He’s worried about what his family will think. He’s worried about the backlash from people he loves for being open and honest about his journey. He has within him the power to help and mentor thousands and he knows it, but he’s too afraid of being seen. 

Sound like someone you know? 

So many of us struggle with similar challenges. Passionate people who are afraid of their own truth. People live lives that look good on paper while their true identity lies dormant inside. 

I know people who have far more money, influence, resources, and experience than myself who say they wish they could do what I do. Well, maybe not be a breath coach, but live life on their own terms. And they absolutely can! But instead they…

  • Stay stuck at a job for the money or benefits even though they have plenty to get by while building their dream career. 
  • Buy a huge home in the suburbs then drive 2 hours to and from work every day and never get to enjoy it.
  • Commit to an unhealthy relationship because they’ve been with the person so long it’s easier than separating.

We’ve all struggled with letting our true nature shine through in order to “keep the peace. But here’s my question to you…

Do you honestly believe that true abundance flows to someone who is not living in line with who they truly are?

You must be willing to share and embrace the uncomfortableness of who and what you are in order to truly shine and for abundance to flow. 

You can live your whole life doing everything right and by the book, but if it doesn’t align with who you are on the inside then you will feel empty.

You will walk through your everyday life feeling like something is missing and this will leave you bitter with regret. 

But there is a way to turn it all around. 

Start taking massive action. You can’t think yourself out of a mindset or limiting belief, you must act. Move! Get that energy flowing. Let it be messy, let it be uncomfortable, let it be full of raw emotion and mystery, just start taking action. Don’t get stuck in the “one day” mentality. 

  • Start writing one page of that book
  • Buy the school bus and start converting it. (seriously I want a skoolie)
  • Make a budget for a year off work to pursue your dreams
  • Start sewing that jacket
  • Create space for yoga in your home
  • Invest in that workshop

The fastest way to push out the stagnant air is to push yourself into action! Your future life is waiting for you on the other side. And that new life comes with true abundance. 

Stop living the dreams of your parents. Stop striving for goals you aren’t invested in. Start doing things that align you with your dream life. Get that momentum going.

And here is where my online course, Breath Mindset can help. 

  • Carving out time each day to create space in your head to see clearly. 
  • Helping you to put your gifts into action towards a life worthy of you. 
  • A program that helps hold you accountable for your goals and sees you through to the finish line. 
  • The power of breathwork aligned with a healthy mindset can transform your life into an abundant one. 

Although people are joining our online community all the time, the beginning of the month is ideal because every Monday I show up and demo the weekly breathing with a group of members all dedicated to helping each other succeed. 

You have something inside you that is longing to get out, you just need tools to help you stand in your power and speak your truth. Breath Mindset is a simple, not easy, way to help you break free from the traps of scarcity in your mind and guide you forward into abundance beyond comparison in your life. 

So what do you say? Are you ready for real change? Then join me, and I’ll see you on the inside. 

Master Your Breath, Master Your Life

How Changing Your Breathing Patterns Could Alter Your Experience

Every breath that you take is sending signals from your brain to your body about how you feel. You take over 20 thousand breaths per day and each of those inhales is an opportunity to invite in a different state of being. Each one of those exhales is a gift in releasing and letting go. The trouble is we are mindlessly breathing and our breath patterns are controlling our life.

If you are walking around depressed your breathing patterns are going to look and feel very different than someone who is moving with joy. By learning to breathe properly you can begin to show up in your life differently. 

For instance, it’s hard to maintain a state of depression when you are walking around with a straight spine, shoulders back, and chin up because your breath will feel full and intentional. Your breathing becomes full because your posture is more open, allowing air to travel through your body. Whereas if you walk around with your shoulders slumped forward, head down, and back rounded, it’s going to be harder for air to travel fully into the diaphragm. The poor posture has you breathing short and shallow into your chest, which is a secondary breathing function. Of course you feel depressed. 

Our breath is an integral part of who we are and how we show up in this life, yet we have never been taught how to use it properly. Let me ask you this…When was the last time you noticed your breath? Most people will respond with a time they felt out of breath due to running or crying or some circumstance that forced them to pay attention. 

Breath is essential!

Developing a mindful breath practice is at the heart of any yoga practice. Guiding you to gain greater insight into your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Mastering your breath is essential for any one of these components to meet its full potential.

Each time you inhale your lungs carry fresh oxygen to your blood which works as a bus delivering that oxygen to your cells. This happens every single time you inhale! And it’s an involuntary act so it’s happening whether you’re thinking about it or not. Super cool.

Most people, most of the time are not breathing to their full capacity. 

Each breath has the power to nurture your body. Most people have tight and tired lungs and an underdeveloped diaphragm. Why? Because we have never been taught about how to use our breath to completely transform our lives. 

When you learn to master your breath and develop strong lungs and a fit diaphragm more oxygen is moving to your cells. The more deeply you breathe the more oxygen you take in and the more oxygen you take in the more you are enriching your bloodstream that carries this vital nutrition to your cells and your organs. 

Optimize your mental state

When your body is feeling properly fueled you show up in a better mental state. You feel more centered and focused. Our breath affects our minds and our minds affect our breath. They’re like two peas in a pod. 

Negative thought patterns bring about anxiety, depression, and overwhelm. These thoughts affect our posture and breathing patterns. Positive thought patterns bring about confidence, determination, and joy and these thoughts affect how we show up and breathe in a very different way. 

The trick to becoming a master of your breath is being able to use breath control at any moment to change your energy and thoughts around certain situations. 

Change your breath, change your brainwaves. Chance your brainwaves, change your energy. Change your energy, change your life.

Life is always going to throw you unexpected curveballs. You will always have those challenging relationships and situations that make you feel uncomfortable. You can’t stop that from happening, but you can change how you relate to those situations when they do come up. You can let those times send your mind into a battle of ego or sorrow affecting your thoughts, your breath, and your ability to handle the situation. Or you can guide yourself into the present moment by taking a slow deep breath.

The moment you start to do this you will feel more focused, grounded, and centered in your experience. You begin to observe things around you much more clearly and take a pause to sense what is your next best move instead of reacting. This helps you be in charge of your life. 

Tony Robbins has a saying, “Life is happening for you, not to you.” We all have heard that you get what you focus on and the same is true with breath. The quality of your life can be determined by the quality of your breath.

Mindfulness

Mastering your breath is about mastering your mind. It is at the heart of mindfulness practices. Mindfulness has become so critical today because the world seems to continue to move at a faster and faster pace. We have learned to wear our exhaustion as a badge of honor. We feel the need to be busy at every second of the day and we aren’t functioning at a prime level. 

When we breathe short shallow breaths we are depriving our body of the nutrients it needs to function fully. Mindfulness is about slowing down our minds, our breaths, and our experience to live more fully in the moment. This helps bring more joy into our experience because we are present to recognize the little things and it begins with our breathing. 

Let’s try it right now. 

  • Move to the edge of your seat and let your spine run long and straight
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor hip-width distance apart
  • Tuck your chin slightly
  • Let your hands come to rest on your thighs
  • Count in your mind as you inhale 1-2-3-4-5
  • Pause for a moment
  • Exhale as you count in your mind 5-4-3-2-1
  • Repeat 5-10 rounds

See how it immediately changes your mental state. Clearing your mind and bringing you into the moment. You can also play with saying other things as you inhale and exhale. 

This is me inhaling, this is me exhaling. Whatever works.

To master your breath you need to have a regular practice of focused breathwork. This trains your mind to notice when you begin to fall into negative thought patterns. It helps you to be aware of how you are holding your body and is a sure-fire way to beat stress, depression, and anxiety once you make a regular habit of it. 

We have learned to give away our control and wallow in our own misery. We know this is unhealthy, but there is a way out and that way is through your breath. Right now you carry inside you the answer to mastering your life. With a little effort (10-15 minutes each day to start) you can begin the take back your life. 

Master your breath, master your life. 

If you want more information about how you can start making profound change and master your breath join me over at Breath Mindset and begin your journey today.