Hi James, nice to meet you. Can you tell us about Breathe With James? What is it?
I’m a breathworker which means I teach people how to use the breath as a vehicle for healing and improving their mental and physical health. Breathwork is the quickest, most powerful and effective way to enhance and transform the state of one’s mind and body. I teach people breathing practices that can radically improve our physical and mental health, performance and emotional wellbeing.
Breathing is something we do instinctively. Why’s it so important to think about your breathing?
No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how resilient your genes are or how wise you are – none of it matters unless you’re breathing correctly. Breathing in different patterns can influence our body weight and overall health. And it allows us to hack into our nervous system, control our immune response, and restore our health. Yet, 90 per cent of us don’t breathe correctly. And this failure will either create or exacerbate a long list of chronic diseases. And we are seeing this in western culture today.
What are the benefits of what you teach?
The people I work with most suffer from anxiety. The breath is an amazing tool; it can expel the feeling of anxiety from the body, but it can improve sleep, sports performance, and even working through deep-lying traumas.
Where did you learn all this? It doesn’t sound like something they teach at school.
My practice draws on an amalgamation of different methods, and I’ve spent time with various mentors over the last few years. My first breathwork training was with an inspiring teacher called Alan Dolan. But I also draw on influences from outside breathwork, such as meditation and neuroscience.
What’s your background?
I studied politics at uni and then spent two years working in advertising. I discovered meditation after having developing chronic fatigue and pain in my late teens and early 20s. That led me to discover breathwork. Straightaway, from my first workshop, I knew I had found the tool I was here to share.
Life seems to run at 100mph these days. We’re constantly switched on and distracted by phones and technology. What effect do you think that is having on us?
The speed of life is dangerously fast at the moment. That means we are losing awareness of how we feel. Living at this breakneck speed is resulting in mental health issues and severe physical problems. As a collective, we need to slow down.
How do we break this vicious cycle?
It’s not easy. For most people, it will take a major event like chronic illness for them to realise they need to make a change. That’s what happened to me. That said, the more time we can spend in nature and away from technology, the more we will change the resonance of our energetic field. As a result, we become more aware of the pace of life suitable for us.
Your work is based on ancient, Eastern practices. Do you think we have lost a kind of spirituality in the West? How do we reset?
Through nature, and through one’s body. Spend time outside, spend time getting to know the birds in your local area. Reconnect with the seasons, live your day by sunlight. Notice what nourishes your body, notice what doesn’t. This is how we reconnect with what is sacred in our lives.
As a business, you still need to find ways to reach your customers. Can you tell how you use Instagram and how important it is to your practice?
I use it for exposure and to draw followers into my practice. Instagram Live has been particularly effective in that respect. I reach between 250-300 people per session, and they often share their participation using their Stories function. It’s one thing having a nice looking grid, but you have to think about how you are drawing people in and what value you’re adding.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in finding out more about breathwork or even taking it up for a living?
First, I’d suggest doing some sessions with me. I’ve spoken on several podcasts recently, discussing the practice in more detail that people can check out. If you want to make it your life’s work, then live every second of it. Literally, make it your life’s work. You have to be willing to completely throw yourself into it and leave the ideas of what you should or shouldn’t be doing behind. Your heart knows the truth; follow that.
Take some time to listen to James’ Christmas Playlist below. Merry Christmas!