Lisa Clark is pH Clinic’s Energetic Counsellor and Reiki Master. Lisa’s mission is to help others live a balanced and happy life. A Canadian born, natural athlete, Lisa retired from a National Synchronised Swimming career and fell in love with Yoga and Energy Medicine. Here Lisa shares her personal story of the path that led her to appreciate the healing power of better breathing.
A State of Unrest & Anxiety
Despite being a professional in the health and wellness industry, it took me more than 18 of my 20 plus years of sports training, yoga teaching and wellness coaching to recognise how unsettled my nervous system was. Regardless of the regular positive body/mind practices I had implemented, I was aware of anxiety levels far greater than I’d ever experienced before.
There came a period of a few months where the feelings of panic arose daily. I woke up with a sense of fear, this was followed by sadness and depression and I fell into bed entirely depleted. It’s a wonder during that time that I managed to stay so positive and carry on with life’s responsibilities. My happy demeanour and people pleasing tendencies helped me create a very effective mask. I imagine few people around me ever knew what I was dealing with.
I could easily attribute this state of unrest to particularly less than ideal circumstances occurring in my personal relationships and career, however, I had hoped that all of those years of work and personal development could have saved me in this moment of desperate need.
Admittedly, I was wrong!
When I started to teach Yin Yoga classes on a regular basis, I was soon to notice a subtle shaking in my hands, a tension in my belly and jaw, a constant and unconscious holding around certain joints and body parts. I couldn’t believe I had never noticed it before. Even my meditation practice hadn’t revealed this epic state of disease stirring beneath my skin.
During this period of what I assume safe to call, awakening, I also noticed that despite my years as a seasoned Synchronised Swimmer and Yoga Teacher, I was often holding my breath. Why was I doing that? What a useless waste of perfectly free energy.
I noticed how I was breathing on a more regular basis. I observed the shaking in my hands and the very subtle feeling of calm on the outside masking a disruption beneath the surface. I knew I had to do something, I knew I couldn’t sustain this state of unconscious stress for very long before it manifested into something more dangerous for my body and mental health.
Equipped with adequate knowledge of anatomy and physiology, I had a strong sense this disruption was my nervous system talking to me. It wasn’t happy, it was asking to rest and it was giving me louder signals by the day. Prior to doing any research I woke up one morning and decided to heal myself.
The Nervous System
I began reading about the nervous system and the impact it has on every cell in our body and every cognitive process. I proved what I already sensed that when the nervous system exists in a sympathetic state (fight/flight or freeze) we are unconsciously pumping ourselves with high doses of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones used to access exemplary strength if necessary).
Our heart rate will increase, blood flows to vital organs and away from the other body parts that still require nourishment. The oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in our cells fall out of balance preparing our respiratory system to hit overdrive in case we need to run away as fast as possible. These are just a few of the not so ideal body effects that happen when our Sympathetic system is in the driver’s seat.
The Parasympathetic nervous system on the other hand, is the one we want to be very familiar with. Rest and Digest – what a perfect tagline. Pretty much everything that is the opposite of what I stated above occurs when our nervous system is calm and in a resting state.
Well, what is the easiest way to remedy the sympathetic system and guide it safely back home? Breath.
Breath Is Everything
Breath is everything. Many people aren’t aware of the dynamics of their diaphragm not to mention the fact that they most likely aren’t using it efficiently on a regular basis.
As I studied the body and practiced, it didn’t take me very long at all to witness the fantastic benefits effective diaphragmatic breathing can have on my energy levels, tension and recovery time. This factor falls behind the number one benefit – a calm mental state.
Although I will always be a humble student to the mystery of my body and life, I am highly committed to progress with my breath practice daily.
Once I became aware of my breathing deficiency, it seems ridiculous that I ever made it this far? Since learning some very simple and fast techniques, the horrible and sometimes debilitating anxiety that I experienced not very long ago has disappeared. (One technique is simply taking three very long, even and slow breaths into my lower belly area).
Awareness is paramount, practice is necessary, a new habit will follow.
Change Your Breathing With Me
I am passionate about sharing proper breathing techniques with my community. It would be a pleasure to support you. Come see me for a personal consultation. I’ll get you relaxed and breathing effectively in no time. Exhale. Lisa
If you’d like to learn more consider joining Lisa for an Energetic Consultation at pH Clinic. Lisa donates a percentage of proceeds from every session to the Africa Yoga Project. Book online or call pH Clinic on 0420 644 852.
An Energetic Consultation strengthens the connection between your body, mind and emotions. Intuitive Coaching applies counselling techniques and breath coaching to explore beliefs and behaviours, enhancing personal growth while calming your nervous system.