Back to Basics with the Breath

It is the first thing we come into this world with, and it stays with us until our last day in this world. Yet how much thought or attention do we give to the breath and how we breathe?

Breath – a bridge between body and mind

There is much that we can learn about our breath to optimise our wellbeing. Much of which is so simple, but could be the difference between a fight or flight reaction to a highly stressful situation and a more thoughtful response to the same situation.

At our HIIT+CHILL+CHAT mini-retreat on Saturday 22 September, our wellbeing theme was the breath and how the breath connects the body and the mind, to help manage mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Tony Ulatowski, the founder of Conscious Breathworks™ was our guest speaker for the event. He shared his thoughts, practices and tips, to help you manage the stresses of life better day-to-day through a deeper appreciation of the breath.

The practice of conscious breath

We were lucky to to experience Tony’s Conscious Breathworks™ clinic. Here he tells us a little more about his story and how he became a specialist on the study of breath.

“It all started from my years of hairdressing and the study of Tai Chi Chuan. The experiences that I have gained from both of these teaching disciplines along with my enthusiasm and study of the breath, has now developed into Conscious Breathworks™.

“I have been studying this over many years along with emotional intelligence and psychology, to help me on my own personal journey, but also in my teaching. It was borne out my the desire to work with people. To support and encourage them to be the very best they can be mentally, psychologically, and through body awareness. By being aware of the breath and its role in connecting the mind and body, people can become more comfortable within themselves and within their own skin.”

And how do you keep mentally fit?

“My mental agility comes from stillness. By connecting with my breath I connect my mind and body, and this practice gives me the mental fitness that I need. I practice this all the time by incorporating it into my everyday living, consistently and consciously. I’m now at a stage when I can be in the queue at the supermarket practicing.”

How do you keep physically fit?

“We all have a different definition of fitness. For my physical wellbeing I practice Zhan Zhuang which is what they call the standing pose. The practice involves standing in particular static physical postures which can be quite strenuous on the body. There’s a great quote from Bruce Lee – whose father taught him Tai Chi – which sums up what happens in this practice. “The slower you move, the faster you become.” Stillness training helps me develop my strength – in mind and body.”

Any tips on wellbeing for our readers?

“Breathe. Breathing has had such a profound effect on me on many levels over many years. Breathing is paramount to our survival ahead of hydration and eating. Consciously being aware of my breathing helps me handle my day mentally and physically.

“The key is to build it into your day, consistently and consciously, so it becomes ingrained. The simplicity of the breath can sometimes be the hardest thing. The mind overcomplicates things, as it wants a challenge just as your body might need a physical challenge. To feed this mental need I might set myself a Tai Chi challenge to develop a deeper awareness of something.”

Future HIIT+CHILL+CHAT event dates have been published and can be found on our events pages. We will be discussing mental health in October, physical health in November and nutrition in January. To secure your place at one of these events click here.