Heal Through Your Breath

Episode Overview

Within all of us is a powerful tool of healing and we use it every day without thought. Do you know what it is? Our breath! In this episode, Sarah Brackmann is with us to share how to heal through your breath. 

She came to our Balance inner circle group in February and did a breath work session for the participants. Everybody walked away from it feeling significantly more relaxed and at peace. As a trauma-informed breathwork practitioner, Sarah teaches people to use their own breath to find their center. Breath work teaches the body to consciously breathe in order to shift and alter one’s physical, mental, and emotional state. 


Questions Answered

  • How does the breath alter your physical, emotional, and mental state?
  • How is breathwork like meditation?
  • Why would you consider going to a breathwork session?
  • What happens in a breathwork session?
  • How can you work with Sarah?
  • What to look for when finding someone to help you heal through your breath.

Action Items

  • Book a discovery call with Sarah and learn to heal through your breath.
  • Follow her on Instagram and join her email list at the link in her bio.
  • Find a trauma-informed breath work specialist in your area at Pause Breath Work

Key Moments in the Conversation

[12:41] The goal of breathwork is to tune back into your body. We spend so many hours of our day doing things for other people. This is an opportunity for you to come back to your center and reground yourself.


[13:09]  You always had whatever you needed inside of you, you just didn’t know how to tap into it.


[23:22] If you’re in a place in life where you need a little more energy or you’re stressed and looking for a healthy alternative that doesn’t take a lot of time within your day, breath work could be an option for you.


Join an upcoming Balance Program

Welcome to another episode of Well & Worthy Life. I’m so glad you guys are back with me today, and I have a special guest for you, Sarah Brockman. Sarah came to our Balance inner circle group in February and did a breathwork session with us everybody walked away feeling so relaxed and just at peace, and it was really amazing. So Sarah is a trauma-informed breathwork practitioner. Okay. That’s a big thing to say, but really what she does is she’s, she is teaching people to heal through their own breath work. And I love this. So Sarah, thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast.

Thank you so much for having me. So breath work. tell us, tell us a little bit about what a trauma-informed breath work practitioner does. Yes. So, breath work, you’re probably sitting here, you’re like, I breathe every day, right?

Mm-hmm. And it is something we do. unconsciously, right? That’s how we live. But what has been coming up more and more for people and back in the eastern part of the world, they’ve been utilizing breath work or pranayama for many years to help heal internally in many different aspects of their life.

And so it’s becoming more readily available on the western hemisphere now, but breath work itself really. teaching your body to consciously breathe so you can shift and alter your physical, mental, and emotional state. So looking at that in kind of a little bit more broader aspect. Mm-hmm. , there’s a lot of different levels to it.

So you can change your speed of your breath pattern. There’s different breath patterns and different ways you can breathe, whether that’s through the nose, through the mouth, maybe you. Breathe. So you breathe in a couple times through the mouth or nose. And from these different things, you start to shift and alter maybe your heart rate elevates, maybe you start to notice just more of a sense of calm and grounding and just through these different modalities and having somebody guide you through it, you can shift and actually see sustainable change and work through different patterns within your own body and create new.

I love that and we do hold. The, you know, now I’ve heard it called Big Ts and Little Ts. So big trauma and little trauma. And we do hold this in our bodies so much. You know, I, I had I know you’ve been yoga trained and I went through yoga training, although I’ve never taught yoga, but Not to a big group of people, I should say.

I have taught on a smaller scale, but and you know, one of the things that I learned in yoga was about the breath and how important it it is to even, I mean, I use it probably more than anything to calm myself down in. Whether I’m angry, scared, frustrated, whatever that might be. And I use this example a lot that I have shared.

I don’t know that I’ve shared it on this podcast, but I think it’s, it’s, I’m gonna share it today because I feel like it was very important and it, it opened my eyes into what breath can do. , and I think you’ve heard this story of Sarah cuz I think I told it to you and then I told it to the balance inner circle group.

But for those who have not heard this story, so I took care of my stepfather who had Lewy body dementia and there was a point that he had had to go to the psych ward. Because that’s what they do to dementia patients when they are they’re not behaving well, it’s. Just one of the worst things that they can do, but that’s what they do.

And so he had been in there a couple of weeks maybe, and I was trying to get him out and get him back to his memory care facility. And so we were discharged that day and we went down to my car and I was trying to help him get into my car and he didn’t understand how to get into my. Is such a sad when you watch somebody with dementia that they can forget how to get in a car.

But that’s towards the later stages that can happen, and especially I think with Lewy body, but. Anyway, finally I get him into my car. So I’m, by this time very frustrated and very like, I don’t even know, I mean, how do you even tell somebody how to get in a car? That’s just such a natural thing. So we get back to his memory care facility and he’s been in this psych ward, so they have not bathed him very well.

And so all I can think about is I’ve gotta get him back and get him bathed. And. You know, cleaned up. And so we get back, we drove back and I, I had somebody help me get him in. And then again, if you’ve ever been around dementia person, they do not like to be bathed. They, you know, that’s like one of their worst things.

And so I was, Told the attendant, the girl that was helping me, I’m like, y’all gotta get him a bath. He’s gotta be cleaned up. And so they started trying to do that and he got very agitated and I was frustrated and I was trying to help them and he was getting more agitated and more upset. So finally I told them to leave for a second, and by this point I was crying cuz I was so distraught and didn’t know what to do.

And I grabbed his hands. , you know, is I, I noticed that the more distraught I got, the more agitated he got. But I grabbed his hands and I said, we’re gonna breathe. And we started taking deep breaths and the, you know, not that he could, I think he could feel this energy from me. And when we started taking deep breaths, my body calmed down and he calmed down.

It was the first time that I was like, wow. Breath. So what, what do you think happened in that moment? Yeah, so when basically, like, let’s look at from, well, the broader perspective. So we as like the main thing, if we are calm, if we are nervous, if we are, you know, excited, right? Our heart rate changes and that breathing pattern tends to change.

Those are like one of the main physiological changes that occur in the body. It’s all from the same like stimulus, if that makes sense. Right. It’s just the energy or whatever is occurring to us that changes our, our breath pattern. Mm-hmm. , which then changes our heart rate and changes a lot of other things within the body.

And by taking some time to consciously slow down the body when you’re in a nervous state and just, you know, consciously breathing in and breathing out through the. Really elongating that breath coming back into your center of who you are as a person and tuning back into what is going on and what you are trying to accomplish.

I think that alone can shift the energy like you had talked about, but really it allows that heart rate to go down. Right? Think of a time when you were really nervous or really stressed and you just took like 30 seconds to yourself to just close the. . Tune back into the body and breathe, right? Mm-hmm.

just breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Nothing super extensive. Your heart rate goes down. Mm-hmm. , you’re less stressed. The clenching of the jaw releases, maybe the tongue falls from the roof of the mouth. There are a lot of different things that it can occur naturally, where we’re out of that flight and flight response and we come back to that parasympathetic or that resty and digesting, and that’s.

from a cortisol level, the place we wanna be at most of the day, obviously are things that, mm-hmm arise. But knowing how to come back to that, and in that moment, you know, you were in a very stressed state. and you took the time to come back to your center and come back to that resting, digesting, and he obviously picked up on it because you did it together in a unit, which is also really powerful.

Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I work with women who are in the beginning hormonal imbalance, like we call it perimenopause, . A lot of times people don’t even wanna even think they’re old enough or perimenopause or menopause, and we have anxiety and all of that, the different feelings even can, we can have depression and stuff like that.

And so this thought of being able to. Breathe our way through this, but it’s, it’s not just being able to breathe our way through it. I, I think that, I love what you’re doing is like that you’re healing, you’re able to walk us through this breath work and just like I said, we did this in balance inner circle and different people had different experiences and different feelings and all kinds of different things.

It was very interesting. When you are working with people in this, do you work mainly one-on-one? Do you like groups better? What do you find is the most effective? I think it kind of comes down to the individual and it’s no different than if you’re an individual that likes that group camaraderie and you’re like, Hey, you know, like, we’ll, we’ll relate back to exercise.

Cuz I think it’s the easiest way to kinda look at it from that standpoint because you are in a weird way, exercising the body and mind , right? So some people prefer being in groups, right? They like being around other people. They like feeling the energy of everybody, right? When the group is all working together.

or for instance, like what we did with the balance in, in our circle, we had that group dynamic that was already in place and we allowed that to enhance the relationships you had. Mm-hmm. . So it’s a super powerful thing to do in a group. There are other individuals that maybe want to go in on a one-on-one session because they prefer to have kind of that more quicker change in the sense that they can do that, change one-on-one and then take some time to integrate past it and then come back when they need another.

So maybe they’re working through something and they’re like, you know, I’d rather have that one-on-one experience so I can really dive deeper into what I wanna get through or wanna work through. Mm-hmm. , there are also some individuals that prefer to do you know, a guided session, so maybe it’s pre-recorded and they.

Pop it on, they do it for themselves and then they’re good to go. So I think it really a comes down to what way do you prefer to do exercise or activities? Mm-hmm. . Because from there that would help identify which option would really be the best option for you and most successful in the long run. So would you say breath work is like energy work?

I think it is. . It’s not in the sense of like reiki, right? Like when you think energy work, I think Reiki is one of the more popular ones these days that you think of. I think there are is some overlap, right? Mm-hmm. , because if you’re doing an individual session in person, there are certain times, depending what’s going on, that you might need to feel more grounded and supported.

And in those senses you could, you know, maybe ground the ankles or feet or shoulders or just, you know, my hands over in terms of fi, providing warmth and kind of comfort. But I think looking at the overall aspect of it all, I think it comes down to I think it’s really using your own energy and kind of pulling it back out of you.

Because the goal of breathwork is really to tune back into your body, right? We spend so. hours of our day. So disassociated doing other stuff for other people. This is an opportunity for you to come back to your center and reground yourself or if an energy or you know, just, keep moving forward in some aspect.

Right. I think it’s a version of leadership and growth too, but I. coming back to your center is really realizing you always had whatever you needed probably inside of you, you just didn’t know how to tap into it. Oh, that, that right there. I think that’s what is so important that we truly, and I tell my clients this all the time, like, you really know what you need.

I mean, you really do know. It’s just how do you tap into that? And so I love. . Yeah, and I mean, I think as women, and I’m sure you see this a lot in your community, is, you know, like our, one of our greatest gifts is our intuition, but if you’re so disassociated with your own body, you can’t trust your own guts.

So you don’t know really what direction you should be taking or what you should be doing next. Mm-hmm. , because you’re doing so much for other people and you’re having this like out of body experience, almost just living. And so breath work is one of those tools that helps you come back to that. So that way when a decision needs to be made, you can do it from your like core and be like, you know what?

I’m confident this decision because this is really what I’m feeling. This is what really needs to actually happen. Mm-hmm. But it takes work, right? No, I mean, it’s not, you know, I think that’s the other problem with us today. We live in such a fast paced society. Yeah. It’s like not taking the time to slow down and be back in touch with our bodies and be back in touch with our core values and, and like you said, I mean, I think that we, we are just so busy.

And you know, I hear people say to me all the time, like, I’m always like, you know, that morning routine is so important. The way I start my day sets me up for success , or failure for the rest of the day. It really does and I take some time and I really, really tried to incorporate this silence in my morning and and breath.

and not necessarily doing all the things that you know, I would do with you, but, but just taking that silence and breathing and coming back to my court and, and sitting in negative emotions and positive emotions and instead of just rushing, rushing, rushing and looking for answers outside of. Exactly right.

You’re meditating. Mm-hmm. and Breath work uses the same platform in terms of the brainwaves. Mm-hmm. . So we are also sitting in that same like subconscious state and. . You know, meditation is a great another option, right? But if you have a hard time sitting, maybe you need to focus your attention on something and that’s where breath work could kind of come into play.

Cuz it’s kind of that hybrid of focusing your attention somewhere. But meditation is an a lot of people’s morning practices or something they’re trying to work through. Mm-hmm. . But it’s not for everybody. Just like breathworks, not for everybody. Like just some people might need a walking meditation, right?

Mm-hmm. , they just need stillness. Listening to the sounds of nature. Mm-hmm. , like, I think it’s, it’s learning more about what you need and exploring those to figure out what’s gonna help make that difference for you. So, What would drive people to come and seek breath work with you? Would it be anxiety, would it be depression?

Would it be like something happen or they just fill off or what? What would drive somebody to finally like, I’ve gotta try breath work. Yeah. I think when you’re exploring different options, right? Mm-hmm. , I think it’s important to a, make sure you’re ready for it and you’re actually ready to take the ownership in terms.

pursuing it. Because I think like there are some people that will hear like, oh, I like they’re hearing this conversation and they’re gonna be like, that’s a hell yes. Like no if Sands or butts, like, I wanna do breath work. Mm-hmm. . And then there’s gonna be other people that are like, I should be doing breath work.

but the should people, right? , I love this. You know, we, we should be doing a lot of things right, but you’re not actually ready for it most of the time. Right. And so I don’t want, I prefer somebody not to explore the ro of breath work until you’re actually ready for it. Because, I mean, you could be laughing, you could be crying in a session.

It can bring up a lot of old things. Cer like dug deep within your body and thought you were over, right? Mm-hmm. , because you’re becoming so in tune back within your body that if you’re storing something, say like for me, I store stress a lot of times in my shoulders and after a breath work session, like I can feel my shoulders dropped down, my chest is expanded again.

And I think it’s important to make sure you’re ready for that because mm-hmm. , it’s no different than being like, oh, I like, I don’t wanna refer it to therapy cuz I still think there are two completely different entities. But you know, there are a lot of people like, oh, I should go to therapy. Mm-hmm

But is therapy effective unless you’re willing to plan the work? . That’s, I think that’s where the difference comes, is there are some people that this is an absolute hell yes. I’m sorry if we’re not supposed to swear that’s . It’s all it’s, you can do you And then there are some people that this is that like, you know, I should be doing it right.

Everyone else is doing it. I should be doing it. But if you are in that should group, I want you to think hard and say, you know, if work and other things come up past the session, am I willing to work through. Hmm. Because I think that’s the differentiating factor when it comes to this of like, unless you’re gonna do the integration work on the backend, this may not be the right opportunity for you right now.

I think it’s a great thing for everyone, but I think it’s all about a timing thing as well. Mm-hmm. I like that. And so, okay, so let’s just say I’m a heck yes. I’m ready. So how often would I need to do it to be affected? Yes. For sure. I would say if you’re gonna do a longer session, like a meditative session, and that could be anywhere from like 45 to 90 minutes, I would not do it more than once a week.

And that’s cuz you really need time to process Slow down. , quiet the nervous system in case there is anything that comes up. Right? Every session’s gonna be different. Mm-hmm. , you know, there are some sessions you’re gonna be crying. There are some sessions, you know, you’re just, it’s just, you took a really long nap, right?

Your body just needed to rest and so, . I think it’s important to understand that no matter what the outcome of the session is and what comes to you during it, do you have that integration time to let your body relax, right? It’s no different than doing a hard workout and you need time to recover. You are still working in the body.

You’re still working on those breathing patterns, which also increases. , how much oxygen your body can intake and stuff like that. Mm-hmm. and your body needs to relax. Right. We don’t wanna go. It’s no different than going full force into a workout and being sore and then wine quit. Mm-hmm. think of it more as a long-term journey than a short-term outcome.

Mm-hmm. For a quick fix. Yeah. So I love that. And so so really would you say 60 to 90 minutes once a week is the ideal timing? And would you do. Two, two part question. Would you do that time all breath work or would you process that with you after you’re done if you’re doing a private session? Yeah.

So if I’m doing a private session, I would say depending on what we’re trying to accomplish, right? If it’s and also to you wanna titrate into the process in terms of you need to build up that stamina too. Mm-hmm. . So if you’re brand new to breath work, you’ve never done breath work, I probably would not do more.

A 30 to 45 minute session and part of that is breath work. Part of that is talking. Mm-hmm. Because you need a process. Right? Right. Different things are gonna come up. And so going back to your question, if you’ve done breath work, you’re pretty comfortable with it. I would say a 60 to 90 minute session would be okay, but I would always give time on the front end and always give time on the back end to talk journal work through different things.

if you don’t take that integration time, it’s almost like, I don’t wanna say wasted time, but you’re gonna be very confused in the process because as things come up, you don’t know what that means. You don’t know what to do with that information. And so having somebody guide you during that type of situation is gonna be super, I.

Yeah. So how do people work with you? Do they work with you one-on-one? Do they work with you in group sessions? How do people work with you? Yeah, I do a couple different ways. So I do one-on-one sessions. Mm-hmm. , right now I’m doing 30 and 60 minute, and I am Okay extending it to have more of a longer discussion.

Mm-hmm. , I try and keep the longer sessions to 45 and under, just depending on what the individual really needs. Mm-hmm. , so I do individual session. If you’re in person, so I live in Atlanta. I do individual sessions, one-on-one at their house or do group sessions. Mm-hmm. I do zoom sessions as well and in the process of starting some corporate wellness type sessions as well, cuz I think just kind of that meditation aspect is huge.

Uhhuh. . Mm-hmm. where a lot of corpor. , that’s kind of their missing piece to their wellness puzzle. Mm-hmm. . And so incorporating that is gonna be extremely important down the road. Oh, I love that. I love that. So if somebody said, okay, they’re in Birmingham, maybe or somewhere else in the world because we have listeners all over the world, which makes me so happy if they’re like, okay, I do wanna do this.

So they would just reach out to you through. through Instagram. So Instagram’s okay. The easiest way. There’s a link tree on there. And so that way they can just book a discovery call session and we can make sure it’s the right fit for you. Mm-hmm. . And so my Instagram is Sarah, s a r a h, Brackman, that’s Brackman with two Ns at the end.

And that’s probably the easiest way. And then from there you can get on my email list and you can kind of stay up to date with everything else I. I love that so much. So okay. Anything else that I missed about that you feel like that’s really important about breath work? I think it really just, if you’re in a place in life where maybe you need just a little bit more energy, maybe you know you’re stressed and you’re looking for healthy alternative.

That may not take a ton of time within your day. Breath work could be that option for you. And so I just encourage you, if that was a hell yes for you or maybe I should be doing it, but you’re willing to put in the work, this might be a great opportunity for you to explore and just make sure you find somebody that is trauma-informed in case anything should come up from our past.

You just wanna make sure they’re not re-triggering you and they’re guiding you appropriately through that. Oh, that’s, I think that’s really important. Right. So how would they find somebody if they decide, they just to know where, is there like a website they would go to to look for trauma informed breath?

Yeah, so the organization I got certified through was pause, breath, work. And so there’s a couple hundred of us out there right now, and it’s only growing in terms that are trauma-informed breath work facilitators. Mm-hmm. . And so I would just make sure that. , you know, if it’s not pause or if it’s another organization, that they are actually skilled and have practiced different ways to help you get out of different situations and feel safe and grabbed it in that process.

Hmm. I think that’s so important to feel safe and grounded because I think that, and you and I do think just what you said, to make sure that, you know, if you do choose somebody different than Sarah, please talk to Sarah first. But that you make sure that they have been certified. Because I can imagine that if somebody is not trained properly, then you could end up in a a lot worse place.

Yeah. And you know, you just wanna feel supported. Yeah. At the end of the day. Yeah. Yeah. Well, Sarah, thank you so much for sharing with us and I thank you again for coming to speak to my Balance Inner Circle group and doing the breathwork session. Everybody felt so amazing, like I said afterwards, and I loved that we were in a safe group afterwards and we could share.

I think that that part I always say I love the group sessions because You know, I think you can learn so much from everybody else, right? And know that you’re not alone. I think so many times we feel like I’m the only one that’s experiencing this and you’re not. Right. Yeah. So thank you again for coming and talking to us.

Y’all make sure you check out the show notes. We’ll have all of the information in the show notes about how to reach out to Sarah and I’m just so excited that we had this conversation. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you so much for having me.

About the Host

I too, struggled in my late 40s when I hit peri-menopause! I was experiencing all those not-so-fun physical changes in my body, as well as mental and emotional fatigue. What worked for me before was not working anymore. 

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