When I closed the door behind me as we embarked on a cross country road trip, I don’t think I could have possibly imagined what this simple closing of my front door would mean a week later. We left our house trailing our small travel trailer with no destination and no end date for this trip. We knew that we wanted to head out west and chose Santa Fe, NM as our first stop. I grew up in Santa Fe and it seems to call me at least once a year. There is something magical about returning to the San de Cristos and being in the high desert of my childhood.
We talked about seeing the grand canyon and possibly working our way up to Yellowstone and even up into Washington and Oregon. After a week on the road sitting in the desert of Arizona (we did make it to the grand canyon) my husband realized that he really needed to be stationary for the upcoming week with good wifi and comfortable working conditions. We started pricing out an Airbnb when I mapped how far it was to our condo we recently purchased in Telluride. 5.5 hours isn’t much when you have just crossed the country in 2.5 days, the condo wasn’t rented out and it was a no brainer.
I recently returned from Breathwork training in the arid tropics of the Baja Peninsula. I camped underneath the vast star filled sky, breathed, and connected with others under the skilled guidance of a true master of the breath, Dan Brule who has been guiding others for the last 50 years. When I share with others that I am a breathwork practitioner they often respond with “So you teach people how to breathe?” along with a mystified look. As a culture we are educated in nutrition and how much food is good for us, we know how important sleep is, and we are well aware of heart health but unfortunately, most of us know very little about the breath and how it affects our health.
I found my breath through the Wim Hof Method. Wim Hof has really brought the active practice of breathwork to the attention of the masses. Millions of people worldwide have benefited from his unique personality and method and drastically changed their lives and health because of him. After using his breathing technique and cold shower method for six months, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about the breath. After practicing and teaching yoga for close to two decades you would think that I was aware of the power of the breath. I guess I missed the point of that lesson on pranayama. Through my conscious awareness of the breath and dedicated breathwork practices, I began to notice significant changes in my health and wellbeing. Tasks that I used to put off, I began to effortlessly complete. My mind became more peaceful. People began to respond to me differently. The world became a much more welcoming and beautiful place for me despite the difficult times we are all living through. I had finally taped into my birthright, the internal power that is bestowed upon all of us as we emerge into this world and take our first breath.
Through reading about and practicing different breathwork techniques ( Wim is one small fish in a large ocean of knowledge) I found my teacher and mentor Dan Brule and ended up spending 21 transformative days with him on his off grid intentional community. If you would have asked me one year ago, if I could imagine myself camping in Mexico using composting toilets and taking outdoor showers I would have told you, that you were insane. That’s the thing about the power of the breath: it has the ability to unleash pent up energy inside of you that you had no idea even existed.
I have been breathing since I took my first breath at 7,000 ft. in Santa Fe, NM the day I was born, yet until recently I was never truly harnessing my breath’s potential. I was moving through life thinking that what came next was a given, without much thought as to what I really desired. With a continued breathwork practice not only my energy shifted but my whole life began to transform. Things I never thought possible started to become a reality. I could write endlessly about the potential science behind this transformation but in the end I think it is due to what Dan calls “Something Else” a magic ingredient, the supernatural, or whatever you want to call it that comes into play when we connect to our own unique energy source.
I shut my front door on what I thought to be a cross country road trip. I ended up high up in the San Juan mountains, a place I have been wishing to call home for a decade. When we hit the 15 mile an hour sign at the entrance to Telluride my husband and I turned to each other and said “Maybe this is our move” I tuned into my breath, my intuition, and I instantly knew that I was indeed home. So, here I will stay, breathe the clean mountain air, and help others do the same. The funny thing is I am not surprised, when you let your breath be your guide anything is possible.