“They believed they could, so they did”
Breathwork is something that I am absolutely fascinated with. The power of our breath and the way we can control it is incredible and can help us to change our lives. I first discovered this through practicing yoga and have since attended a couple of breathwork sessions.
I try to incorporate conscious breathing into my everyday life as much as possible and find that it is especially beneficial when facing challenges, stressful situations, overcoming fears, and in maintaining a calm and balanced life.
When I heard about a Full Day Reset where I would get to practice breathwork, yoga, energy work and an ice bath, I jumped at the chance! Now before you say, “There’s no way I’d be able to do that”, you absolutely can! With the right environment and professional facilitators making sure you are safe; an ice bath is a pretty amazing experience!
Around eight of us joined up for this zany experience and we arrived to a large spread of healthiness for breakfast. After which we headed upstairs to the studio, which instantly makes you feel invited, with its chakra painting, cosy blankets, and giant LOVE sign on top of the shelving unit.
Our three facilitators for the day were Polina, Lisa and Jilan and as they introduced themselves, we were all invited to share why we were attending. Everyone had a special reason to attend; for me it was an opportunity to reconnect and reset myself during a time of year that is quite tough personally, because it includes Mother’s Day in most parts of the world and (in a few weeks) the anniversary of my Mum’s passing.
For the first session of the day, Jilan lead us through a wonderful hatha flow that ended with a soothing shavasana. The energy became deeply relaxed, and was a perfect introduction to the day ahead.
During tea break the excitement and nervousness started to rise, as all thoughts went towards the ice bath! When I had shown my Hubby the schedule for the retreat, he was surprised that the ice bath was slotted in for 2.5 hours! “Are you seriously going to be in an ice bath all that time?” he asked.
He needn’t have worried because for the most part we were learning about the great man himself – Wim Hoff – and were taught his breathing method, after a few rounds of which we were all holding our breath for over two minutes!
If you are completely new to breathwork this might sound unachievable, and to be honest I wasn’t sure myself having only ever reached 45 seconds before – and I was pretty chuffed with that!
However, Lisa and Polina happily shared their knowledge of breathwork and before we even attempted the Wim Hof method we were all shown how to practice diaphragm breathing. This slow, deep and cleansing breath is what we are all born doing, before outside influences get in the way, and make our breaths shorter and shallower.
And then it was time for Ice Ice Baby! That very tune suddenly blasted through the speakers as we all got changed into our swimwear and made our way out to the garden. Fortunately, we happen to live in Dubai, so the weather was perfect for getting into an ice-cold bath! I watched as my fellow retreat goers went in one by one, each one jubilant when they did it. One even hit the 4-minute mark! I waited patiently for my turn, but with each passing minute feeling my heart beat a little faster.
I was last (but not least ;-)) and Polina calmly explained what I needed to do and then all of a suddent I was in the bath! Wow it was cold! We had to breathe in and out of our noses – which was difficult as my automatic response was to breathe out of the mouth. But after several seconds (although time seemed to stop in the bath), my breathing started to calm and slow down to a normal pattern. Three minutes later and it was over. I quickly dumped my face in the water as instructed – a free facelift apparently! And I was out. And I was so cold, but Polina got me moving and jumping, to warm myself back up, and of course I was shaking as this is my go-to response for any energy release, which helped me warm up again.
We were then treated to a fabulous Arabic meze style lunch (my favourite way to lunch) and then we settled in for the last few sessions of the day back in the studio.
Over to Jilan again and an Energy Release session which consisted of tapping certain nadis (energy channels), movement and breathwork. This was a powerful session and Jilan guided us through it beautifully.
The last session of the day was a relaxing breathwork lead by Polina, and with her calming voice and delicately selected playlist, we were given the space to become one with ourselves. It was quite special indeed.
We ended the day as we started with a sharing circle and the energy of the room was full of love and contentedness. I think we all had a day that we will never forget.
Thank you to three fantastic facilitators. When can we do it again?!