If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve heard an instructor remind you to focus on your breath and to breathe consciously and with intent.
In recent years, breathwork has evolved to include various methods that focus on the use of breathing exercises as a means of therapy, self-healing, and spiritual/emotional transformation. The practice encompasses a wide range of breathing techniques used to alleviate any mental, physical and/or emotional unrest.
I have personally practiced meditation and yoga before, but have always been curious about going deeper with my practice. When I found out that Hoame Meditation Studio in Toronto began offering breathwork meditation classes, I was keen to try.
I had the pleasure of trying out the Breathwork 1 class with Brandon Wong, who is a Certified breathwork Facilitator at Hoame. The overall experience was extremely powerful and soothing, although as it was my first class, I knew I was only scratching the surface and getting used to the practice. However, it was clear to me that other individuals within the class, who had been practicing breathwork as a form of meditation longer, had the ability to connect with the practice on a deep and therapeutic level.
I spoke with Brandon after the class to gain more insight into his personal spiritual experiences, the practice of breathwork, and how one might begin their own journey.
How did your spiritual journey begin?
My spiritual journey began when I was hospitalized at CAMH in the General Psych Unit and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I was given high doses of medication and a team of doctors to help me through a very dark depressive episode where I truly wanted to end my life. After being released from the hospital, I knew I never wanted to end up back in that space again and vowed to take my mental health seriously. I became my own guinea pig trying many different types of healing modalities and began carving out a path to learn more about the root cause of suffering.
How did you come to be aware of breathwork as a form of meditation?
When I was living in New York City, people kept speaking about breathwork and how it was changing their life. I didn’t understand or have the capacity to understand how conscious breathing would have any effect on my health. When I was traveling through India, I found someone who was leading breathwork journeys and became absolutely obsessed with the process and the immediate effects it had on my state of mind.
What inspired you to become a Breathwork Facilitator and how long have you been practicing?
I was inspired to become a facilitator during a breathwork journey where I saw myself leading it. It was a visceral vision that totally shook me in the moment. I wanted to share breathwork with others because of the profound effect it had on my own healing process. I feel empowered to share a modality that gave people the ability to be their own healer.
How do your classes differ from other breathwork classes you have taken, is there something within your class that is specific to you or that you focus on?
Each class I facilitate will be different, depending on the energy of the group. I am constantly working on elevating the healing aspect in my Breathwork classes, and will always cater each class to the people in the space. If I feel the group is looking for deeper clarity or in need of releasing a certain stored emotion, I will focus our intention and the music around what is being presented in the moment. Because of the intuitive nature of my classes, each session will be unique and will affect each person in a different way.
Breathwork meditation has only recently begun circulating in larger cities, how does it compare/differ from that of more standard meditation practices?
Meditation is traditionally a practice of physical stillness and simple awareness of ‘being’. Breathwork is a consciously connected breathing pattern that is a tool for people to face everything they’ve been ignoring, suppressing, or physically holding onto within the body, and to help elevate their state of consciousness. With Breathwork, we enter a somatic experience, traditionally laying down and moving the body, vocalizing, all the while consciously breathing.
Who is breathwork suitable for?
Breathwork is suitable for anyone interested and committed to going deeper within themselves. Not everyone is ready for this type of work, and that’s completely okay! For Breathwork to really have a profound, paradigm-shifting effect on the Self, the person needs to want to do the work.
What are some tips you would give to those considering trying out breathwork?
Come to Breathwork with an open mind! Let go of any inhibitions and judgments at the door, and bring a sense of curiosity to this practice.
If breathwork seems like the right fit with your spiritual, emotional, and/or mental path to transformation and healing — I highly recommend trying out Brandon’s Breathwork 1 class at Hoame!
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