Sitting in a giant dome at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, a group of meditators and wellness enthusiasts gathered for breathwork and meditation led by Ashley Neese, an LA-based breathwork teacher, meditation guide, and spiritual counselor. They're all here for revitalize, mindbodygreen's annual summit, because all the biggest names in wellness, Neese included, are here for groundbreaking panels, wellness talks, fitness and meditation classes, one-on-one treatments like Reiki and ear acupuncture, and so much more.
It's no surprise that her area of the dome was filled to capacity, as Neese is at the forefront of the next big thing in wellness: breathwork. Breathwork is exactly what it sounds like, manipulating the breath to consciously change breathing patterns to alter your state of being. Working with the breath might be one of the most underrated techniques in our self-care toolbox. It's the driving force behind yoga, kundalini, and peak performance for athletes, and Neese said accessing the diaphragm through breath invites us into the space between our subconscious and consciousness. Through breathwork, old patterns can be revealed and broken to make room for new habits, relationships, and abundance.
Here are the breathwork techniques that revitalized us:
After she led the group through some active movements like cat pose, cow pose, and a forward fold, Neese invited them to sit with one hand on the belly and the other extended in front. A few rounds of deep belly breath grounded the energy of the room. Neese told the group to tense the hand in front of them, making a fist, and then asked them to notice how the diaphragm responds. (You can even try this at home right now—it's wild!) The diaphragm contracts with physical tension, and Neese pointed out that this happens all day every day. It's our natural stress response.
To help soothe the nervous system, she first invited the group to extend the length of their exhales. As a culture we focus so much on the inhale, but if we extend our exhales, the next breath in will be effortlessly more rich and more replenishing. Then she moved on to the breath of threes and instructed her class to inhale normally and exhale half the air out, hold, exhale more and hold, and finally exhale the remaining air out and hold for a moment. The breath of three requires a letting go and hanging in the pause. According to Neese, the pause is where we'll find richness in the form of self-dialogue. Listen there, and you'll hear it.
Ready to join the revitalize fun? Be sure to tune in to mbg on Saturday, September 9, at 9 a.m. PDT/12 p.m. EDT, to watch our livestream, presented by INFINITI, and follow #mbgrevitalize on social!