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Benefits of ‘conscious breathing’ for Servicemembers

Transformational breathing classes help with stress, PTSD

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Some may think "conscious breathing" classes are absurd - why take a class for something that occurs naturally? Well, many people breathe shallowly and it affects their mental and emotional state. Restricted breathing is a learned response triggered by pent-up emotions like anger, fear, sadness and stress, according to experts.
"Conscious or transformational breathing is not yoga or meditation," said Karl Schaffner, a transformational breath (TB) instructor and certified facilitator. "It combines some elements, but it's physical in a different way."
TB is a distinctive form of breath work that uses conscious breathing to facilitate the natural healing process necessary for all types of trauma, and is beneficial in gaining greater holistic health. TB was developed by Dr. Judith Kravitz, who has been teaching it for three decades; she is also the founder of the Transformational Breath Foundation and Synergistic Foundation and author of Breathe Deep, Laugh Loudly (2007).
"TB releases repressed emotions and negative attitudes in the subconscious," said Schaffner, who was trained by Kravitz. "Issues don't go away unless you resolve them, and they can reappear as guilt, resentment, addiction or neurotic behavior."
TB eliminates restrictive breathing patterns, clears the subconscious, and connects individuals to higher levels of awareness.
"It great for PTSD," said Schaffner. "It can alleviate the incessant thinking and grief our Soldiers experience after redeployment."
A session consists of breath analysis and instruction, inspirational music that enhances the flow of consciousness, toning and movement or sound for integration and healing movements to relax the body, and body mapping - pressure points that release stored emotions in combination with healing affirmations.
"People describe a light, floating feeling during sessions," Schaffner said. "It allows one to step back from ego - from the monkey-mind of everyday consciousness, and gain greater perspective. You can ‘just be.' It's being conscious in a space where there's no right or wrong."
Schaffner has been teaching TB for almost a decade, and has also learned pranayama (yogic breathing) from an Indian guru and Qi-Gong (a Chinese tradition). He's also the creator and founder of the Yantra Deck, a unique tool for self-inquiry, intention and guidance, especially when combined with TB. Together, they help access deeper understanding of self, life, and personal growth and evolution.
"Only then can we gracefully adjust to and embrace the changes life brings," he said.
Schaffner offers group and individual classes and one-day retreats in Olympia with breathing sessions, lunch and hiking.
For more information, call (360) 357-4602 or visit

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