Let me preface this with telling you a little bit about me. I’m crazy. I’m a Type-A, high stress, high anxiety monster hiding inside a chic 5″10 girl in heels. I make lists, I’m a planner, some would say I’m a bit OCD when it comes to said plans… I hate sitting in traffic and going to any poorly planned event makes me cringe and my anxiety sky rockets through the roof. I’m a leader by nature and because of all of these qualities I can also be a bit bossy, ask my last boyfriend.
As you can imagine the stress and anxiety monkey on my back, we will call him Carl, gets a little heavy and self-entitled when he wants to. I’ve tried meditating [as if Carl would really let that happen], I’ve tried exercise, I’ve tried counting backwards from 10 and a billion other ways to just, “let it go,” as some would say. So when I met Owner/CEO Jonathan Winn of Breathe Refuge at the #InstaBeerUp networking event last month I knew I had to give it a try. As I told Jonathan, “You had me a yoga mats and blankets!”
Jonathan is a dynamic individual on his own. You can instantly tell he seems to have this calming effect on the people around him – he oozes confidence, serenity and an overall nice positive vibe. In fact, on my way to class [with yoga mat and blanket in tow] I sort of got this giggly sense that I was on the way to see one of my best friends for a much needed sleepover to vent about life’s frustrations.
As we started to get ready for class to start I felt Carl climbing up my back to my shoulders. What if I wasn’t good at this? What if I look silly? What if I can’t just breathe?! Woosah. Then Jonathan said this, “If you’re depressed you’re thinking about the past. If you’re anxious you’re thinking about the future. What I want to invite all of us to do is to live in the present. In the now.” Wow – this guy really has a way of saying the right thing at the right time amiright? Back off Carl! One of the things I love the most is that he takes a no-holds-barred approach to his business and is very frank about the fact that every experience is different for every person. Jonathan seems to intuitively pick up on the emotions of those around him which only feeds the gentle inspiring environment of his studio.
Once we’ve gone around and made our introductions and discussed what we are hoping to achieve it’s time to get started! Jonathan has a great living work space in NoDa with large windows and a calming atmosphere. [He event has a massage studio in the back, FYI] There is a slight smell of incense paired with a low medley coming from the speakers. Lay back, relax, close your eyes and just breathe. Jonathan teaches you a specific form of breathing that you implement for the first 20-30 minutes of the session [as you’re walking up the mountain] before you return to your normal breathing pattern to come down from the peak.
As I mentioned before, every person will have a different experience, but as for me all I can say when the session was done is that I felt this particular sense of calm that seemed to lay over me like a protective blanket. During the breathing section I felt a slight tingling in the bridge of my nose and more specifically my fingers. Then a slight feeling of cold settled over me as I came to the peak and out the other side it was almost as if I could feel the tension leaving my body through my hands. When I say I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life, I mean I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. Not only that but I felt rejuvenated – it was like taking a nap but better because I didn’t actually have to sleep [for starters] AND I wasn’t groggy afterwards. I just felt… awake, wide awake! The best part is that I didn’t just feel good for a couple of hours after my session, I felt good for a couple of days after my session. Needless to say, I’ve been singing his praises ever since!
Want to know more about Jonathan and Breathe Refuge? You can find them online at www.BreatheRefuge.com and across all social media platforms. More than anything I encourage you to touch base with him and try it out for yourself! Especially if you’re someone like me who has problems letting go.
Bye Carl! Hello Breathe!