Want to release stress and relax naturally? Breathing is a powerful tool we often take for granted, but when we learn how to control it, we can access a range of benefits for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Check out this episode with breathing coach Joanna Krysiak and learn 2 breathing techniques to release stress and relax.

Breathing Techniques To Release Stress & Relax

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Want to release stress and relax naturally? Breathing techniques are a powerful tool we often take for granted, but when we learn how to control our breath, we can access a range of benefits for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Check out this episode with breathwork coach Joanna Krysiak and learn 2 breathing techniques to release stress and relax.  


  • Joanna’s story of overcoming trauma and changing her life with breathwork
  • Best advice for people who might be experiencing depression
  • Breathwork: What it is and how it affects your body and mind
  • 2 main types of breathing techniques and how they help with stress relief
  • The 2 styles of conscious hyperventilation breathing and the optimum times to practice them
  • Joanna’s favorite breathing patterns and their surprising benefits
  • The right age for kids to start doing breathwork


Joanna Krysiak is a personal trainer and functional breathing coach who is passionate about helping women lower stress, manage anxiety, and regulate their nervous system by teaching them how to breathe.  


  • Instagram: @jojoanna.k

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?There is this, really cool acronym that I like to use, and it’s N L S L, so you wanna breathe through the nose, which is the first n. Then you wanna breathe lightly, which is the L. So it’s a very delicate light. Mm-hmm. Subtle breath. You wanna breathe nice and slow, so take down the pacing, take down the speed of your breath, and then you wanna also be breathing.
Low. So that’s our last L. That means through the diaphragm, through the lower rib muscles, right? So you don’t wanna breathing, breathing up into the chest. You wanna be breathing low with your belly. So that’s N L S L, nose, light, slow and low. Welcome to the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast with DIY Healthy Lifestyle Blogger Ahna Fulmer empowering you to transform your life one imperfect day at a time.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I’m your host, Ahna Fulmer today we have Joanna Krysiak on the show. Joanna is a personal trainer and functional breathing coach. This is the coolest thing you guys, what she does, I love it. She is passionate about helping women lower stress, manage anxiety, and regulate their nervous system by teaching them how to breathe.
Here to share her expert advice on breathing techniques to Stressless and relax more. Welcome, breathing, coach, Joanna Cri. Hello. Hi. Hi. So nice to meet you. So nice to meet you as well. So I had to laugh because I went on your Instagram and I was like, oh, wait a second. That’s not English. No worries. I knew that time differences were significantly different, but where are like, where are you?
Uh, so I’m actually in Poland. I’m located in Poland. Okay, so Central Europe. Yeah. I was trying to think what language that was and I was like, you know, I’m not even gonna try. Yeah. Some people sometimes are a little bit surprised and they’re like, um, are you from America and live in Poland or, yeah, so I was actually born and raised in Canada, so yeah.
Yeah. All right. How did you end up in Poland? So my parents were originally Polish, so they grew up here and they immigrated to Canada and Yeah. And started their life there. Had me and my sister and um, a point my dad wanted to come back to his homeland and we were only, you know, a kiddos, so we didn’t have much to say.
And so we kind, you know, followed along and yeah, and kind of went on from there. That’s amazing. I actually performed in Poland. I did a musical tour, oddly enough, in college. Oh wow. Yeah. And cool. It was one of the most incredible, we were, oh boy, I’m gonna butcher these. I think we were in Warsaw and then, then I’m blanking on the other place that we were in primarily, but there were two things that especially stuck out to me in Poland.
One, we visited the salt mine. That are under the earth. Is that Warsaw? Uh, that’s Krak probably. Yes. Yes. Oh, I would’ve butchered that name. Crackow was incredible. K Crackow. Yes. Yep, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. That was incredible. So for those of you listening, there’s these salt mines and it’s literally like a whole nother world.
It’s literally like, Lord of the Rings come to life. I mean, I’ve actually never been personally, so, um, I have to put that on my bucket list. Yeah. Yeah. For anyone wondering what it looks like, there’s literally a cathedral, hundreds and hundreds of feet beneath the surface, and it’s got like a huge crystal chandelier.
There’s like pathways and rivers that they used to, I guess, boat through, like they lived, there was a community down there. Anyway, yeah, just Google the salt mines of cro. I think it’s K R A, right? K R A K D. That’s it. That’s it, yep. Yeah. And then the second thing that sticks out to me about that trip in Poland was we went to Auschwitz and oh my God, that’s, oh, it was one of the most, like, I’ll never forget the feeling as soon as I stepped off the bus, I’d never felt so heavy.
Like just literally the whole air, just instantly. It was like hard to breathe. Oh, it was such a, yeah. Very moving though. Yeah. I mean it’s, yeah. Yeah. I processed my trip to Auschwitz for like a week, I think. Yeah. Yes. Someplace that you have to visit but never want to go back again. That, yeah, that is, I could not have said it better myself.
Again, if any of you wondering if Auschwitz is not ringing a bell, Google it. It’s a pretty grizzly story. From Yep. One of our more unfortunate periods of history. But yeah, that was really, really, so Poland holds a lot of like very dynamic memories for me, but it’s really an incredible country. Mm-hmm.
There’s so many little pockets of it that are, yeah. People don’t talk about Poland as a place you wanna go visit, but there’s some really amazing Yeah, it’s so full of history. It’s so full of history. That’s like my favorite part about living here. Lily Leasts favorite part is the weather, that’s for sure.
Yeah. But my favorite part of living here is definitely the, the history of this place. Cuz sometimes it’s so mind boggling because it really is, is actually funny that my middle school that I went to, so my high school, it’s actually the exact same age as the country I was born in. So Canada and my high school have the same age.
So I found that pretty hilarious. It really, yeah. You’re so right though. So I actually spent the first four years of my life living in Scotland. So like my family is a lot of. Roots in Europe. But one of the other things I remember about Poland is, I’m not gonna say this correctly, but we visited not a monastery, I don’t know if it was a nury, I don’t even know what it was.
But basically it was one of the oldest active, is Nury the right word? I don’t even know the word for it. But basically where women are left there and they live sort of in seclusion, like for the rest of their lives in this. And it was a massive stone structure. Abby, maybe it’s an Abby. I don’t know what the word for it is, but it was really, that was also impressive, just how old this building was.
Yeah. And to think there’s a bunch of women in there that are like just living secluded from the world. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I actually never, I haven’t heard of that either. But yeah, when it comes to Poland, there’s, yeah, I think Poland is the second country, if I’m not mistaken. Or maybe even the first where there is the most churches per square kilometer.
So Interesting. Yeah, that is a very interesting, yeah, and I don’t know, I don’t even remember what the history this was, you know, like over 10 years ago now, what the history was of this place. But just, anyways, you guys, Poland’s an amazing place. Go visit it. Not the purpose of this interview, but everyone knows how much we like going on Sidetracks here, so that is so fun.
Love it. I love what you do. I was excited to do this interview because I always get pumped when people really are niched down into a specialty. Breath work is one of my favorite things. It’s not foreign to people who have listened to me or followed me for any period of time. Breathing is essential for a lot of things.
Even just as simple as elevating your workout is something that I’ve talked about breathing. There’s so many ways to use breathing, and you’ve been specifically diving into breathing techniques for several years. But share with us a little bit how you even discovered the power of breath work. I mean, it is literally like so niche down.
Tell us a little bit about how that even happened for you. Yeah, so I love answering this question and I always answer it in a different way because. It just, we have to go way back. We have to go way back. So if you’re down for that, then we can do it. Then get comfy, get your coffee, take a deep breath.
Here we go. That’s it. And uh, just a little warning, this story can be a little bit triggering for some people. So if you’re a sensitive, emotional being, just a warning about that, if you wanna skip through some parts, that’s totally okay. So, going back my life has been a series of unexpected chaotic changes.
So, like I said, I was born and raised in Canada, so High five, tell my Canadians listening to this. I was raised, uh, not far from Toronto in Oakville. So there’s anyone from Oakville listening to this. Hit me up on Instagram later on. And yeah, and I was living a pretty normal quote unquote life with my mom, dad, and my sister.
And we were just, you know, living a kind of a normal life. And my life really took a really big pivot when I was seven, my mom passed away by, by suicide. And she had depression that not a lot of people knew about. And it was a really big shock to our whole family. So being raised by a single dad and being the older sibling in the family came with its own set of experiences and baggage and trauma.
And after that experience, we tried to keep moving on and and live our normal life. And that’s one of the reasons why we moved to Poland, to kind of like start fresh, I guess you could say. Mm-hmm. And yeah. And you were seven you said, is that right? Yes, I was seven. Yeah, I was seven. So if you’re into psychology in any way, that’s kind of like a pivotal moment in a child’s development as well.
So my son is eight. So that, yeah, so brings it into perspective. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And yeah, so we tried to live our, our life just the way we would in, in Poland. And I was doing pretty good in school, so I got into university for civil engineering and Wesa actually. So I lived there for a year. And yeah, one day I was, uh, I got back from the gym and I was sitting in my dorm on my bed with my friend and I was working on a project and I was getting these like weird messages from people and I kind of felt something was off and people were like calling me and I picked up the phone and I found out that my dad passed away the exact same way my mom did 12 years ago.
Mm-hmm. So it turned out that he also was going through depression and didn’t really show it to anyone. And it was another really big toll on, on me cuz I was only 19 and I again had to step up as, as the sole provider of the family cuz my sister was still underage. Mm-hmm. So, Was a moment where my life really took another big major shift and kind of put my life into perspective.
And I dropped out of the civil engineering program because I realized that I was doing it for all the wrong reasons and I wasn’t doing it. That because I wanted to be happy I was doing it cuz it was the right thing to do, quote unquote. So yeah, and I didn’t really wanna live one more day, not living my best life.
And I really wanted my parents’ lives to matter in some way and I decided that I just can’t live another day thinking what if and mm-hmm. That kind of set my track into health and wellness cuz that has always been a huge passion. I’ve literally, Have been in the gym since I was 15 and I was always the weird one in the family, you know, switching avocado for, for mayonnaise and all that stuff.
And that was something that I was really passionate about, but never really knew how to take that into a career for myself. But then one day on a podcast, funny enough, I always find so many different fun things on podcasts cuz I love listening to them. So it’s such an honor to be on one as. And I was listening to a podcast and someone was mentioning health coaching and I was like, oh my god, that sounds something exactly like I’d wanna be doing, like helping people take care of their health.
Like that was so important to me. Like also given the past of my parents. And I was like, this is something that is, I’m really, really passionate about and I’d love to do that. So I got into personal training and, and, and nutrition and all that good stuff. And you know, I was doing all the things, but I still felt like something was off around my health, around just like my inner self.
Like I was doing all these things to make myself feel good from the inside out, but I still didn’t feel good on the inside and I couldn’t really pinpoint like what it was. And I was listening to podcasts and I was always also very into personal development. And after my dad passed away even more, and I was listening to this podcast and they were talking about breath work and how it can help with like getting.
Rid of, you know, stuck emotions. And I didn’t really know how to process my dad passing away, and I didn’t even know how to name my emotions. And I honestly, like, whenever there were like difficult emotions coming down, I, I would always just like shut them off and shut them down and suppress them. So it was, I had the awareness that I wasn’t doing it properly, but I didn’t know anything else and I didn’t really know how to process them and I didn’t really wanna talk about them cuz I honestly didn’t even know how.
Like I tried to go to a therapist and I tried to talk about it, but it honestly got me nowhere and it just got even more frustrated and just like didn’t really get me anywhere. And on my. Dad’s, uh, passing away anniversary. I was like, okay, let’s just try this breath work thing. Like they say that, you know, you don’t have to think about anything.
You just have to breath, breathe, and your body and breath will do the work for you, and you can quiet your mind. And I had so many racing thoughts and so much tension in my body, even like in my shoulders and my neck area. I just had so much tension all the time. And I did this breathwork session and I honestly went through all the emotions, like all the ups and downs through like joy, through fear, through laughter, through sadness, through tears, through frustration and annoyance and through bliss and like all these emotions.
And I remember this part so vividly. Like it was literally yesterday. Like I said, I had this tension in my shoulders and in my neck area, and I tried all these different things from, you know, manually, like massaging and, and chiropractors and all this different stuff. And it helped for a little while, but it was always coming back.
And it was very chronic, and I remember this, the best way I can describe it is electricity coming down from my neck and shoulders and just coming out through the palms of my hands. And after I felt that it literally went away and didn’t really come back ever since. And the moment I felt that, I was like, what is this?
Like what just happened here? Like I just did that through my breath. I’m like, how am I just finding out about this? Like, why isn’t everyone talking about breath work? Mm-hmm. Like how am I just finding out about this? And I guess the rest is history after that. Yeah. I mean, there’s so many points that could be touched on in that part of your story.
One of the things I just wanna take an opportunity to give you the place to say, what would you say on this side of this journey to somebody who. Is either related to somebody who has committed suicide or has a friend or a close, somebody that they’re close to. Mm-hmm. Who may be in a similar position, even breath work aside, but like before they can even get you, you notice that you had the awareness.
I think there’s some people who maybe aren’t even there yet. It’s like they think they’re doing okay and yet in reality, very possibly are not. What would you even say to them to help them sort of take the next step that they might not even realize they need to take? Or maybe it’s a, um, family member who knows children who have.
A parent just in general, like what, what would kind of be your take on Yeah. Next step? Mm-hmm. Or just thoughts or encouragement. Yeah. This is such a beautiful and loaded question at the same time, so I’m gonna answer the best way that I can. Honestly, the best we can ask. Yeah. The best advice I guess, if you could call it, is just noticing how you feel, is just honestly taking the time to just slow down and just honestly just take a breath.
Mm-hmm. And that was the biggest pivotal moment for me because when it all happened, I just went into doing mode and just focused on all the things that had to happen and really didn’t, like the awareness came with time. It wasn’t like right away. I was aware, obviously, like there was a period of time where I would just like dive into work or dive into making sure everything is in place and wasn’t really taking care of myself at all.
Yeah. So, or you’re taking care of everyone else. Yes, exactly. You can start taking care of everyone and everything else. Yeah. And, and not really noticing yourself. So the biggest piece of advice is just slowing down and take making sure that you’re taking care of you and that your inner self is being taken care of.
And through that, I know that it’s really hard to hear sometimes and actually put that into place and actually do that. And that’s why breathwork has been such a help for me to actually embody that and actually do that part and it not be so scary. Cuz it can be really scary to slow down sometimes.
Mm-hmm. But I have this motto that if you can breathe through it, you can get through it, so. Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s what I would say. I think there’s so much truth in what you’re saying for a lot of reasons. And one thing I would encourage those of you listening or watching, I think a hard thing for a lot of people is when, when do I find that moment?
Because for a lot of us, Life is just so busy and it’s so loud. Even if there’s not actually noise, you’re reading through your phone and whether you realize it or not, your brain is not still, it is so overwhelmed with noise. And I’m gonna also throw this out there to piggyback on what you just said. For those of you listening, you know, I’m starting this new program called Early Morning Habit, and part of the entire mission is to empower you as women, especially being really busy and we’re taking care of.
Everyone is to start your day instead of doing, to start your day being. Hmm. And that is why phase number two of the early morning habit includes quiet time. So you guys listening, you’ve heard me talk about this before. This is literally the most perfect example, what she just said of the importance of this time of your day.
And I encourage you to just get up 15 minutes earlier. It’s not all or nothing. Yeah. You don’t have to get up. Two hours earlier, just 15 minutes earlier, find a place that is quiet. There’s no phone, no technology, and literally, what is it, Joanna? Or Joanna? I’m sorry. Joanna. Joanna. Joanna. Okay. And what Joanna just said is you need to be still for 15 minutes.
You’re breathing in your nose, out your mouth. She’ll get more into techniques, but literally I want you to just write down how you feel. Yeah, how do you feel? And so anyway, that is just a little plug in there as well for the importance of not starting your day doing, but starting your day being, because it might be the only time that you get a chance to truly embrace what she just said.
Exactly. And give yourself just to that once over. Yeah. And just a piggyback on. Even just feeling how you’re feeling, please. Lets keep going. Yeah, yeah. Just feeling how you’re feeling. Like not even just let it be if you’re, if yeah, if you’re, if you’re a visual person, if you like to write things down, then of course go with that.
Mm-hmm. But I’m a very kinesthetic person, and that’s probably one of the reasons why I became a breath work facilitator. And honestly, just sitting down for a moment, feeling into your breath and just feeling the way you’re feeling. You don’t even have to name it. You don’t even have to know what you’re feeling, but just by feeling what you’re feeling is already such a huge step forward.
And yeah, just like you said, like that moment in the morning is so potent and so powerful because it literally sets yourself up for the rest of your day. I’m a huge warning routine person, so I absolutely love the fact that you’re making this program. And yeah, just adding breath work to it just takes it just to the next level.
Yeah, and I think, I think the point that you’re making is it’s a well-made one. For some people that might be where you just need to start, and that’s a great point that you might just need to let yourself. Cry, maybe you need to let yourself be angry. You need to let yourself, you know, as we’ve talked about before, there’s not good and bad emotions.
There’s comfortable and uncomfortable emotions, and this is the time to let yourself feel what she just said, all the uncomfortable emotions and not try to hide them and let them be. And then of course, when we talk about emotional intelligence, the goal is going to be to be able to get yourself to the place where you can start recognizing the emotions and being able to then communicate them, cuz that is such an essential next step then to improving your emotional health.
But I love the point that Joanna just made. You might just simply need to let yourself feel the uncomfortable emotions first and just simply let that be where you start. And you have to, you know, know thy self, give yourself that sort of assessment. But I really appreciate you sharing that element to the story.
And suicide is something that is. So, so painful that it’s really difficult to talk about, to hear about. But I appreciate your sharing your story and just encouraging any of you listening and watching that you’re not alone, you’re loved. Let us make that very clear right now and certainly always reach out if we can do anything for you.
So let’s taking that into consideration. Let’s then talk a little bit about the science behind how breath work actually affects the body and mind. Before we dive into the techniques, just talk a little bit about the science. Yes, I would absolutely love to. So this is what I love about breathwork is that it is a bottom up approach.
So we’re looking, we’re working from the inside out. We’re working from the body into the mind. So I’m just gonna explain a little bit about what that exactly means in just a second. But just before we dive in, I just really wanted to explain what breathwork is before we explain how it works. Because people usually hear breath work and think of yoga.
Or maybe if you’re a little bit more into it, you maybe heard of whim Hoff. Or some people just look at me like I’m crazy, and they’re like, we’re all breathing. Like, why do you need to? I’m breath. Work on your breath. It’s like we’re all alive, right? But I always say that you can breathe to just survive or you can breathe to actually thrive.
So that’s a major difference. And. You can explain breathwork in so many different ways, but I like to keep it nice and simple. So to put it simply, breathwork is a practice of conscious breathing in a certain pattern with a certain speed, with a certain depth, and with a clear intention of want do you want to achieve?
Mm-hmm. Like what state you want to be in. So our breath is literally the basic function of our body. Think about it this way. You can go a couple days without sleeping. You can probably go a couple days without eating, a couple days without drinking, but you can only go up to a few minutes if you’re really good without breathing.
So our breath is literally the. Basic function of our body. And it’s the first thing we do when we arrive to this world is take a breath in and the last thing we do when we leave it is take a breath out. So that just really puts into perspective how important our breath really is in our day-to-day life.
And we don’t usually even notice that we’re doing it. Mm-hmm. Because it’s part of our autonomic nervous system. So the part of our nervous system that does everything automatically for us. So our nervous system is divided into two parts. It’s divided into a somatic and an automatic. So the somatic part of our nervous system is the part of our nervous system that we can consciously control.
Right. So it’s our muscle movements, it’s our ligaments, all the things that we, you know, usually related to move. And our autonomic nervous system is completely automatic. So these are things that regulate functions that we don’t have to think about, that we don’t have to control. So our heart rate, our digestion, our stress response, our relaxation response, these are stuff that happen automatically and are usually triggered by our outer environment.
And our breath is a part of that nervous system. And it is actually the only. Part of that nervous system that we can consciously control. And the amazing part of this autonomic nervous system is that everything in it is so connected and it literally, every single part of it has a domino effect on itself.
So, When you take control of your breath and you change your breathing pattern, that has an effect on every other part of your autonomic nervous system. So if you start breathing very quickly, very rapidly, your heart rate will go up, your stress response will turn on, your digestion will slow down. All these effects will happen in your body.
And same thing, when you slow down your breath, your heart rate will slow down, your digestion will turn on. Those hormones of stress will stop secreting. So it all has an effect on itself. And that’s what I mean when breathwork is a bottom up approach. So through changing your breath, you’re changing what’s going on physiologically in your body.
And that affects not only your body, but it also affects your mind, cuz your mind and body are in constant communication, right? This is the mind body awareness, the mind body connection. They’re always connected. They’re always talking to each other. So, What we’re used to and what most personal development is usually looking at is changing our mind, changing our thoughts through the level of the mind, not the level of the body.
And that’s why breathwork can be so transformational for people in two aspects. First of all, physiologically from like a physiological health standpoint, but also from an emotional and mental standpoint as. I love that. Did you guys get that? Write that down. You can go back and listen a few times. We will quiz you at the end.
We are going to take a quick break when we come back. Stay tuned for a speed round of this or that with Joanna and we are going to hear more of her expert advice on breathing techniques to stress less and relax more right when we come back. You have tried it all, worried you will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed, want to achieve fat loss without spending hours in a gym or eliminating entire food groups from your diet.
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We are back here with Joanna. Okay. Speed round of this or that. Two options. No stress. If you feel stressed, just breathe. Just breathe. That’s it. In or out. Okay. Would you rather wear flats or heels? These are very important questions. Life changing. Ooh. Flats for sure. Flats. Do you, I’m a comfortable, like where, this is a really ignorant question, but where you’re at in Poland, are there like chain stores or do you tend to have more like mom and pop type stores or local?
Like where would you at your shoes? Yeah. I’d say a little bit of both, but Okay. It’s mostly chain at this point. Yeah. Yeah. Poland is such a diverse, like there’s some like very developed and then there’s others that are literally like, you’ve just stepped back. That’s very true in time. So I’m definitely not knowledgeable where everything is in Poland.
Okay. Would you rather be a ninja or a. Oh, damn, this one’s hard. Yeah, they both have their, uh, advantages, I wanna say Ninja, but I’m gonna have to go with Pirate just because I love Pirates of the Caribbean. I just like my lifestyle. Oh, in the water. I just, I’m an Aquarius, so I just like love the water and yeah.
So I’m gonna have to go with Pirate. So now I have to ask on Pirates. I can’t remember. So it’s Jack Sparrow, and then what is Orlando Bloom’s character? I’m blanking. It’s been a long time. Oh God. It’s been a long time for me as well. Just gimme a sec. It’s on the tip of my tongue. I can’t even remember. Oh, damn.
I can’t remember. The bottom line is probably some, someone’s listening to this. He’s like, God, it’s Dennis. This is his name. Okay. You guys type it in the comments on the show notes. Let us know. Write a review on Apple. Okay. So would you rather be Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom Pirate? Hmm. That’s another difficult one.
I feel like my personality is more Orlando bloom. Yeah. But I just love Jack Sparrow’s, like freeness and just like not giving a fucks. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is actually gonna drive me nuts. Now. I’m gonna have to Google Orlando Bloom’s character, and we’re done. Okay. Candy or baked goods? Oh, baked goods. So a hundred percent favorite Baked good.
Mm. Anything chocolatey. So chocolate muffins and brownies are my jam. She’s a chocolate girl. She’s taken her chocolate on her pirate tiering. Well, okay, so last question. Would you rather own a private jet or a personal yacht? Oh man. These are hard. These are, this is gonna be the hardest part of the entire interview, right?
Yeah. Literally. Literally the most stress happens right here. Hmm. I think I’m gonna have to stick with the yacht though. Yeah. She’s going all in. This is the new Joanna. She’s gonna be a pirate with her chocolate on her personal yacht. That’s the dream I’m hearing. Wearing flats only. Only wearing flats only.
I think I have like one pair of keels, honestly. That’s so funny. I know. I love, it’s always a fascinating to hear the difference. Some people are real passionate about heels only, flats only. Yeah. I love you. You said this earlier, you can breathe to survive or you can breathe to thrive. And I think it’s such a cool concept because it really is such an automatic, we take it for granted, like we take so much for granted, but breathing is so automated.
It literally, you just forget about it and yet it really is so, so functional when you are intentional about it. So let’s break it down practically, what, how many different breathing techniques are there? Like when you teach it, is there a certain number that you teach? Okay, so this is a very loaded question as well, because there are so many different breathing techniques.
Yeah. And they all work in their own way, and I believe that there is a time and a place for all of them. But I like to discern two main breath work types. So there is conscious hyperventilation breathing. So this is where you’re going into a hyperventilated state in a conscious way. So you’re doing it for a certain amount of time and you’re doing it for a certain reason.
Mm-hmm. And then we also have reduced volume breathing. So this is a breathwork technique, which makes us breathe with less error than we’re used to, to prevent. Unconscious hyperventilation. Mm-hmm. So when we’re living in our day-to-day lives, when we’re stressed, when we have a lot of anxiety, when we have a lot of trauma and processed emotions, or we’re just honestly just living a 21st century lifestyle, we often are hyperventilating.
So we’re breathing very quickly, very shallow, so through the chest. And we’re also usually breathing through our mouths. And when we’re in the state of hyperventilation, this is when a stress response kicks in. So this is when we’re usually in that fight or flight nervous system because with our breath, what happens is something out externally can trigger a stress response, which influences our breath.
And then our breath, like I explained earlier, also influences what goes on in our body. So then we come into this like never ending loop. Mm-hmm. Of our bodies signaling our breath patterns to. You know, be in that stressful state and the stressful state of our breathing patterns influences our bodies to go further into a stressful state.
So what reduced volume breathing does is it teaches us to get out of that unconscious hyperventilated state and actually increases our tolerance to co2. Because when we’re chronically hyperventilating, our body gets used to and kind of gets very sensitive to CO2 because it’s so used to having low levels of CO2 all the time.
And there is this misconception that CO2 is like toxic or it’s just like a byproduct of, you know, the gas exchange that happens in our lungs, which is actually very not true. And we actually need CO2 in our bodies, number one, to actually get oxygen into our cells because there is this molecule that’s called hemoglobin that transfers.
Oxygen from our lungs into our cells, and we need CO2 for. Oxygen to detach from the hemoglobin and go into our cells. So this actually, this is why the brown paper bag method, for those of you listening, remember Thebes, where somebody who’s hyperventilating and they’d be blunt in and out of a brown paper bag.
Exactly. This is literally, I mean, what she’s talking about, I’m dumbing it down really, really simply. But when you’re hyperventilating, you’re blowing off too much co2, so you exactly blow in and out of a brown paper bag. You’re trying to breathe back in that, that co2. Exactly. And that’s literally what choose, yeah, exactly.
That how now, so there’s, yeah, go ahead. Yeah, sorry. So there’s actually a method. You can just put your hands and palms together and just cup your nose and mouth and you’ll get a very similar effect. So if you feel like a panic attack coming up, or if you feel very unsafe unsecure, you can actually use that to calm your nervous system down.
So those are the two techniques that I primarily use with my breathers. So we use. Reduced volume breathing to just improve our breath and make sure that your breathing patterns are functional so they’re proper, and now teach us how to do that. How do we do that? Yeah, so there is this, uh, really cool acronym that I like to use, and it’s N L S L.
So you wanna breathe through the nose, which is the first N. Then you wanna breathe lightly, which is the L. So it’s a very delicate light, subtle breath. You wanna breathe nice and slow. So take down the pacing, take down the speed of your breath, and then you wanna also be breathing low. So that’s our last L.
That means through the diaphragm, through the lower rib muscles, right? So you don’t wanna breathing, breathing up into the chest. You wanna be breathing low with your belly. So that’s N L S L, nose, light, slow, and. Do you have, is there like a certain number of counts that you would tell somebody? So if you’re lightly breathing in your nose and just an f y I.
So I’m a singer, so this is for those of you singers out there, for those of you who aren’t, what she’s talking about here is when you take a breath in through your nose, your shoulders should not rise. Your stomach should push out. So if you’re wondering how you do what she just said with the diaphragm low, you actually should feel your stomach push out When you breathe in your nose, how many counts would you tell somebody to breathe in their nose and then back out their nose?
Or do you breathe in? Your nose out your mouth. Yes. How do you do that? Yeah, you wanna be breathing in and out through your nose throughout most of your day. And just going back to the diaphragm, just so folks know, when you’re breathing with your belly, you don’t wanna be forcing your belly out. You actually want a 360 degrees expansion of your whole entire body.
So you don’t wanna just be breathing forward, but you wanna be breathing in your back into your sides as well. So you wanna feel that expansion 360 degrees throughout. Whole lower torso. So just like a little, little disclaimer there. And when it comes to the tempo of the breath, so the most functional breathers, and it’s very rare to actually see this in our modern lives, is we wanna be breathing about six breaths per minute.
And this is very advanced for most people, but the most, it’s called cadence breathing. So it’s the most healthy way that we can breathe is taking four second inhales and six second exhales. And there. Bunch of amazing studies that show that this style of breathing really helps regulate our blood pressure, regulate our digestion, really bring down our nervous system into that rest and digest state.
And I obviously, this isn’t a way that we’re breathing most of the day, but even if you’re just going for a walk with your dog, or even if you’re just driving your car and sitting in traffic and just counting in those four seconds, in six seconds out through the nose, making it nice and light, nice and low, you’re already gonna see a shift with just five to six breaths.
Hmm. I love that. So to recap what she just said, for those of you listening, you can do this right now. If you’re listening to a podcast episode, you might be in a position to do this, but she’s saying really lightly, you’re breathing in your nose, you’re expanding your diaphragm, which she said beautifully is like a full expansion.
And then as you’re breathing in your nose, you’re counting to four. So you’re 1, 2, 3, 4, and then you are lightly letting it out through your nose for six. So 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Yeah. And then as she’s saying, you’re continuing to do that for several breaths. That’s it. And for some people who are in a constant state of hyperventilation, yes, that can feel a little intense and a little stretched.
Yeah. So you can even start with three second inhale and then a four second exhale, or even just two second inhale, four second exhale. So just find a place that feels good for you. But what you really wanna focus on is elongating the exhale. So an elongated exhale, like, imagine yourself on a beach with the sunset.
What do you wanna do? And go, ha. So it’s a nice long exhale, right? So the long exhale signal signals the body that it’s safe to relax. So that’s what you wanna, that’s what you really wanna focus on. So just looking how, how long can you take your inhale and just making the exhale a little bit longer is already gonna make a shift in your body.
I love that. All right, guys. Step number one. What did you call that? Reduced volume Breathing. That’s it. Reduced volume breathing. Okay. Reduced volume breathing, write it down. This is a great step to just generally relaxing with breathing. Okay. And then number two? Yes, was number two is conscious, hyperventilating, breathing conscious, so, okay.
Yeah. And just taking a little step back, uh, to reduce the volume breathing, I just wanted to note this as well, that with reduced volume breathing, what you’re actually doing is you’re also training your body to tolerate CO2 better. Mm-hmm. So it’s kind of like you’re going to into like a gym and like, you know, training your body.
And what happens when you actually have higher tolerance for co2, you also have a higher tolerance for stress. So actually the way that you tolerate CO2 is directly correlated to the way you tolerate stress. So if you have a low tolerance for co2, you have a low tolerance for stress. And if you have a higher tolerance for co2, you naturally have a higher tolerance for stress.
So I just wanted to point that and let folks know that it’s. Training your body worth training that CO2 muscle in your nervous system. Mm-hmm. So going back to that conscious hyperventilation breathing, this is combining kind of a complete opposite of the technique, but like I said, you’re hyperventilating in a very conscious way.
And this is actually the style that I started with and the one that I actually got certified in first. And this is a way where we’re significantly lowering our CO2 levels. So this is a very amazing breathwork technique, but it’s not for everyone. So if you have a very, very low CO2 tolerance, this.
Breathwork style might not be for you because it just might be a little bit too intense and it can do more harm than good. So, but if you, if you are pretty good at, if you can do the four to six cycle of breath that we did that we said that you’re probably in a pretty good space. I was just gonna ask how would somebody know Ventilation?
Okay. Yeah. So they need to introduce one first. First. You guys do step one first? Yes. Get comfortable with that? Yeah. So there’s actually a really amazing exercise that can give you a direct response. It’s called control pause. And this is actually from the BCO method, who is the pioneer in reduced volume breathing.
And all you do is you measure for how long you can hold your breath at the bottom of an exhale. Mm-hmm. So it’s just a normal breath. You can do this now or pause the video or audio and just try it. It’s just a normal in and out through the nose. So you’re not manipulating your breath in any way, shape or form.
You’re just noticing the moment where you. End your exhale and your mm-hmm. Inhale begins and you stop your breath and you hold your breath for as long until you feel that first impulse to breathe. So you’re not holding as long as you can. You’re just feeling, if you feel like contraction in your throat or you feel your diaphragm pull up a little bit, that first moment of breath, and then you just come back to your natural breathing and you do this properly if your next inhale was natural.
So you don’t wanna have a, you know, you don’t wanna be gasping for air after this hold. Mm-hmm. And you just monitor like how long it is. So anything around 20 seconds or more is good. Anything above 40 is amazing. So if you’re anywhere below 15, you wanna start with reduced volume breathing and work your way into doing conscious hyperventilation breath work later on.
So that’s, if you’re such a great measure. That’s funny. That’s great. Yeah, so if you’re anywhere around 20 or above it, you can, you can definitely dive into some conscious hyperlink, hyperventilating breathing, where we’re really lowering our CO2 levels, and this has a number of amazing effects of our bodies and minds.
So when we’re actually breathing this way, our body becomes more alkaline and that switches our brainwaves from. So beta is this very intense brainwaves where we’re in our usual day-to-day lives. So this is where our prefrontal cortex is more active. So the part of our brain that is responsible for logical thinking, creating thoughts, analyzing information, and you know, the racing mind usually is a accumulated with with this prefrontal cortex.
But when we’re actually in this state of hypoxia, which means that we have very low CO2 levels, that makes our brain waves switch to alpha, which is a much more relaxed state and where we can actually rest a little bit. And when we do this style of breathing, we are actually in a very unique moment and of time where our nervous system is both activated and calm at the same time.
So you’re both activating that sympathetic nervous system. So the nervous system responsible for the stress response, for activation, for motivation, and at the same time, the. Parasympathetic nervous system is activated, so the nervous system responsible for rest and digest and relaxing and sleeping and rejuvenating.
This is a very unique moment where your body has those two parts of your nervous system active at the same time. So in this moment, your body feels active enough to release stress, release tension, release anxiety, release trauma, or stuck emotions, but also feels safe to do so. And that’s a really huge component when it comes to conscious hyperventilation breath work is to have.
Full safety. So you can do it in a safe container. You really don’t wanna be doing the style of breath work when you’re in an unsafe environment or you’re not feeling safe, cuz it can actually cause re-traumatization. So you really wanna be aware of doing it in a safe container, in a comfortable place.
Like you said, like in the morning when it’s nice and quiet, when you have a facilitator with you who makes you feel safe. That’s really, really important because like I said, because we’re breathing and we’re moving also a lot of energy, because with the style of breath work, you’re not only moving air in and out of your body, you’re actually moving energy in your system.
A lot of things can come up and a lot of things can release, and this is why we do this hyperventilation breath route because we can get into our subconscious and kind of become super conscious at the same time. So a lot of things are, is this sort of like an acute type of intervention? Like Yes. Or is this something that you’re telling, like this isn’t something you’re telling people to do all the time?
Or is it No. Like No, definitely. This is not like I. Yeah. Yeah. So like I said before, when it comes to conscious hyperventilation, it’s for a certain period of time. Mm-hmm. So it’s anywhere from five minutes to 60 to 90 minutes. So it depends really like what practitioner you’re working with. My sessions are usually up to 60 minutes, so this is definitely just an acute period of time.
You definitely are not wanting to, like I said, be in that conscious, in that hyperventilated state all day, cuz that would definitely not be good for our nervous system. Yes. So I guess I was even thinking like, this isn’t even something that you’re wanting to do every morning. This is more like if you’re feeling I’m, correct me here.
Like if you’re feeling really like, okay, I need to release, I need to be able to tap into those emotions. This is sort of like a technique to do it, but not something you’re having somebody practice daily or how are you encouraging somebody to do this? Yeah, so it really all depends on the level of safety you feel in your body and like how safe you feel to go.
So when it comes to conscious hyperventilation breathing, we can also kind of pinpoint two different styles. So there is integrative breath work. So this is breath work where you go under eight minutes. So if you’re doing this style of. Under eight minutes, you’re not yet getting into that subconscious state.
So you’re just like processing the emotions, letting yourself move through the emotions, becoming aware of your breath. And I’d really like to use this, you, you can use the style of breathwork in your like day-to-day life as well. So if it’s under the eight minute mark, if it’s anything above the eight minute mark is where you really get into that subconscious state.
And this is a style of breathwork that I definitely recommend doing with a practitioner if it’s your first time or a facilitator, someone who knows their stuff and is trauma informed and all that good stuff. And this is, honestly, it depends on what you feel and what your body is telling you. And this is something very, very important when it comes to broth work, is to listen to your body and not override your body.
So for an example, for me, I can be okay with doing, for an example, this style of breath. Every single day for 45 minutes and maybe something that I would need. But I have clients who, for an example, once a week is plenty for them. Mm-hmm. And they feel effects and they feel the difference even once a week.
So it really depends on where you’re at in your journey and what your body is needing at the moment. And in breath work your body really does most of the guiding for you. Like I always say in my sessions, like I’m just the G p s, you know, I’m just navigating you, but you’re behind the driver’s wheel.
Your body is the one that’s queuing you. Your body is the ones that’s really guiding you. And your body will always let you know and always give you the right answer of what you really need. Yeah. And depending on what, like you said earlier, I mean I can also see that for some people you might not even realize that you have been breathing so fast and so shallow for so long and so everyone might have differing abilities even to tolerate this.
Yes. Increased or decreased level of CO2 and oxygen. So that definitely makes sense. Briefly, how does this breathing technique like technically work? Yeah, so when you are breathing like uh, in this way, you’re really exhaling a lot of co2, so a lot of the built up carbon dioxide in your body is being released, and like I said, the two nervous systems are.
Activated at the same time. So you both have that autonomic and the, uh, sorry, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system activated at the same time. So through this breathwork technique, when it comes to like the more physiological things that happen, a lot of tension can be released. A lot of you can feel like tingling.
You can feel the different, you know? Mm-hmm. Temperature shifts just because your body is self-regulating and your nervous system is kind of getting a reset. And the way that I really like to explain it is, you know, through our day-to-day lives and when we’re, when we’re just in, in the rut, in the process and everything, you know, with all the stressors and all the overwhelm and all the anxiety, it’s kind of like we’re filling up our cup to the.
When it comes to stress and our nervous system is just overstimulated, overstress, and we’re kind of, have no level of overflow happening and mm-hmm the smallest stressor, the smallest drop of water, can really cause that cup to overflow. And with this breathwork technique, what you can do is actually empty out.
Empty out all the stress, all the built up emotions, all the built up anxiety, and bring that level of your nervous system back to balance. Mm-hmm. And even if it’s, you know, in a breathwork session, you. You’re not always gonna go to 0%, but even if it’s 15%, you’re gonna feel, and you’re gonna notice a difference in your life.
The little snarky comments from your coworkers aren’t gonna activate you as much and your kids aren’t gonna drive you as insane. And you’re gonna be actually be able to be calm and collected when you’re talking to someone who maybe is not your favorite person in the world. And you’re gonna see these little shifts in your life happening.
Like even lately, I had a client who, who has a lot of like road rage and she noticed that like even like after our breathwork session, she’s like, I don’t have them anymore. And like I don’t get so activated and I feel so much calmer at work. And even with like the smallest things can shift because you’re actually letting your body.
Come to that reset. Mm-hmm. It’s, it’s a different reset than with sleeping, you know? Yeah. Like yeah. Something you’re releasing that level. Yeah. Mm-hmm. So how does that work? Like practically, what is the breathing technique for that? Yeah, so also with conscious hyperventilating breathing, we have a few different patterns that we can use, but two of my favorite patterns are the solo breath, as I like to call it.
Or I was taught it called the halo active breath. So it’s in through the nose, out through the mouth. And I like to call it the solo breath cuz it’s just one inhale. One exhale. And it’s a very cyclical breath. So there are no pauses, nose stopping and they’re both very conscious. So you’re pulling the breath in consciously and you’re exhaling it consciously and you’re breathing in a very aware and.
Integrated pattern. So you’re really thinking about it. You’re really moving the breath. You’re breathing with more air than you’re used to. And the second breath pattern that I really love to do is called the tri active breath. So it’s two inhales in through the mouth and one exhale out through the mouth.
Mm-hmm. So it sound, I’m not sure if you’re gonna be able to hear it, but it’s two inhales. So first into the belly, second into the chest, and out through the mouth. Hmm. So it’s, so you’re saying belly up. Say it again. It’s chest an out through the mouth. It’s in through the belly, through the chest, and out through the mouth.
All done through the mouth. When it comes to the solo breath, it’s in through the nose, out through the mouth. Hmm. Interesting. And then you just keep going with that. Exactly. And you know, with the different, when I facilitate, I like to mix the patterns depending on the music. Mm-hmm. Depending on the attention of the session, we do top holds and bottom holds.
So top holds are more activating. You really bring that energy up into your body. You really feel yourself kind of feeling liberated. And with a hold at the bottom, you kind of settle your energy down, you calm your nervous system, you bring your energy. Down and kind of ground yourself. So we mix and match everything depending on, you know, the vibe of this session, the tension of this session.
Mm-hmm. Who I’m breathing with. So there’s so many different elements when it comes to a breathwork session. Yeah. Yeah. That’s why it’s really important to be guided for your very first session. Mm-hmm. By a trauma informed and a facilitator. It’s really, really important to have your first few sessions facilitated and guided with someone.
Mm-hmm Later on you can play with it on your own and have your body kind of just do it on its own, but it’s really something else when you have someone guiding you through it and holding you through that process. Right. And do you do virtual consultations for these breath? I’m assuming you would have virtual.
Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I do in person for everyone and online. I also love this too because I feel like for parents out there, consider what age child, what is like the age that’s appropriate to start this type of breath work. Before I, okay. So when it comes to kids, we really start around the age of five.
Cuz that’s really when the kids even Wow. Even are even aware of they’re doing. Really? Yeah. When it comes to the ages between five and 12, that’s the ages where you wanna be incorporating breath work with movement. So a really fun breathwork, uh, practice that I like to do with kids is holding your breath for as many steps that you can for an example.
Hmm. And that’s a really great way to down-regulate their nervous system. If your kids, for an example, have asthma or they have, you know, some kind of allergies and have problems with the, you know, a stuffy nose, that’s a really great exercise to kind of unclog everything that’s going up, all the congestion that’s happening in there.
So just holding your breath at the bottom, that’s really important to hold it at the bottom hold for, you know, as many steps as they can do. Mm-hmm. And then breathing in through the nose and then that really helps them, the congestion and like all that stuff clear out. So that’s a really fun exercise I love to do with kids.
Another one that I like to do, I call it the five breath. So you just take your hand out for those of who you who are watching just or listening. Imagine that your hand is just up in front of you. You start at the very bottom of your thumb and you just inhale for five, hold at the top, and then exhale for five and hold at the bottom, hold, and then breathe in.
Hold, breathe out, hold. And it’s just a really fun, interactive way. That’s a great place to, to do it. Yeah. Five. I feel like that would, my daughter could actually follow that one. Yeah. I feel like that’s amazing. You just traced your Yeah. And I, yeah. Yeah, exactly. Cuz it also gives them that kinesthetic aspect to it.
Cause they feel the finger and they mm-hmm. Gives them a nice idea. And I actually, I’ve done a few sessions with kids and their moms and they came back to me saying like, that helps them with like exams or what, you know, when they’re in school and they have like a or anger. I’m thinking of my five year old.
Yes, for sure. That’s a, that’s a great one. I love that one. Okay, so for everyone listening, I just wanted to ask that question about kids because I’m literally thinking like, I think this would be incredible to do almost as like a parent child duo because yes, we’re all stressed, but the reality is kids, uh, what a great technique to learn when you’re young.
And since most of us parents don’t know the technique, powerful either. Like I’m thinking a dual session, family breathing session. Yeah. I’ve act. So yeah. I’ve actually done mother-daughter session and it was so amazing. Amazing. I think that sounds, yeah, it makes sense to me. Yeah. Or men. Yeah. You guys, the men that struggle with anger, like if that’s humor, that’s your husband, let’s just own it and let’s talk about how we can breathe through it.
Exactly. Yeah. I love what you do. So where can people find you and learn more about you? And learn how they can book their breathing session with you. Amazing. So I am primarily on Instagram, so you can go and find me on the gram at joe joanna dot k. So that’s j o j o a n N a. Dot K and I have a bunch of different resources there.
Don’t be surprised if you see some things in Polish cuz I mixed the languages cause me and Ahna were talking of uh, off record here that she was a little surprised. She was like, what is the language? So don’t be surprised if you see a little bit of both. And I do have prerecorded ig lives on there with breathwork sessions in Polish.
So if you’re a Polish speaking uh, friend, then you can go ahead and listen to those. But whenever I talk to communities that are primarily speaking English, I love to offer one-on-one breathwork session. So. Mm-hmm. I would love to invite anyone who feels called to book a free one-on-one breathwork session with a consultation.
It’s a quick 30 minute consultation with me and we end with a nice 15 minute breathwork session depending on what style breathwork you need to focus on first. So I am going to send over the link and I’m sure Ahna can pop that into show notes. Absolutely. That will be in the show notes. You guys, seriously, I cannot think of anybody who would not benefit from this one.
It is free. It is free, and it’s only 30 minutes, and the benefit that you could get out of this is incredible. This is an amazing offering that she is giving you. I love what you’re doing. We’ll make sure all of this is in the show notes and I just pray God’s blessing over your heart, your home. Thank you, and your sister and the rest of your family and friends.
You’re just amazing. I mean, you’re changing people’s lives because of your story. So not a single day of it was wasted. Cuz here you are today. That’s it. And your parents are being honored through you. So it was just a blessing to have you. Thank you so much, Ahna. It was an honor. Thank you so much for having me.
It’s amazing. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts from today, head to your preferred podcasting platform, and give the show an honest review and let me know what you think. Remember, you cannot be redefined, only redeveloped, one imperfect day at a time. Your story matters and you are loved.

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