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Meditative Breathwork

Intended Audience

All members including people living with cancer, family members and significant caregivers.

Program Description

Meditative Breath Work guides participants through gentle breathing exercises that promote calmness, build resilience, and strengthen lung capacity. Breath practices utilize an embodied felt sense, visualizations, and sound of breath. Examples of practices include diaphragmatic breathing, heart breathing, back body breathing, side-to-side body breathing, multi directional breathing, and circular breathing.

“I love this class. Claudia’s compassion as well as her ability to encourage each of us to explore and expand our breathing spaces is so helpful and refreshing. I now recognize how shallow my breathing is in stressful situations and I now have the tools to correct this. Thank you!” -Suzanne P. 

“The essence of the class is based on curiosity and inquiry, and I believe this is what has motivated me.” -Ken

Benefits and Impact

Promotes calmness: Conscious breathing signals the parasympathetic nervous system and activates the relaxation response, which slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, supports digestion, lowers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases feel good endorphins in the body. Regular breath practice is shown to reduce anxiety and depression.

Builds resilience: Our stress resilience levels (ability to recover quickly from stresses) are connected to the vagus nerve. We can stimulate and strengthen the vagus nerve through breathwork. Increasing vagal tone benefits the cardiopulmonary system, the nervous system and immune function. States of higher vagal tone are linked to greater emotional stability, cognitive flexibility and improved social relationships.

Strengthens lung capacity: Deep breathing uses the lungs to their fullest capacity. Increasing your lung capacity allows for greater cellular exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is essential for body functioning. Increased oxygen to the brain, heart and muscles enhances a clear, more focused mind, and has a positive effect on the body’s performance through improved stamina and endurance.

Further benefits:

  • Relaxes muscle tension
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Relieves pain
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system
  • Natural detoxifier
  • Influences the ph balance of the blood to more alkaline
  • Helps with sleep
  • Greater awareness of moment
  • Develops focus and concentration

What to Expect at a Session

Breath practices vary week to week but each is done in a seated position and members are asked to have a long scarf, strap or tie available.

Classes begin with time to settle into the present moment and follow the breath, then make inquiries about it. With simple movements, members gain greater awareness of the feeling of the breath, and find greater mobility for the breath. Participants are encouraged to notice the impacts of the breath practices through mindful observation.

Classes end with an opportunity to share observations and impacts of the practices.

Program Details

Wednesdays 7:00 - 8:00 pm


Articles of Interest

What the Research Says

Yoga breathing for cancer chemotherapy-associated symptoms and quality of life: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial
Anand Dhruva, MD,Christine Miaskowski, PhD, Donald Abrams, MD, Michael Acree, PhD, Bruce Cooper, PhD, Steffanie Goodman, MPH, and Frederick M. Hecht, MD

Impact of Deep Breathing and Relaxation Exercises on Health Related Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy.

Breath of Life: The Respiratory Vagal Stimulation Model of Contemplative Activity
Roderik J. S. Gerritsen and Guido P. H. Band

Yogic breathing when compared to attention control reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers in saliva: a pilot randomized controlled trial

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