Fun fact I never wanted to be a business owner. It wasn't something I ever saw myself doing. It was actually my patients in England who put the idea in my head. For this reason, I didn't have a clear picture of what I was trying to create when choosing it's name. However, I knew for certain what I was creating was definitely called Zephyr Movement.
Zephyr literally means a gentle breeze and Movement, whilst it seems a logical choice for the physio in me, was actually selected for a different definition. The intention was to create a group of people with similar beliefs who work together to do something. Whilst I'm still in the very early stages of business owning and the pandemic has been an interesting challenge in the infant stage, my goal is to offer a different choice for people.
I love the quote by Albert Einstein, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." Burning out, quitting life and living overseas was my redirection. I didn't want to come back home, fall back into the life I had previously created and have to take a hiatus in a few years when it drove me insane... again. I want an ecological life. I wanted to choose a life where every aspect feeds into the other, creating a sustainable evolving unit. It seems to me whilst the world is changing, hustle and grind are still broadly valued highly. I myself valued hustle and grind throughout my schooling and into my early career and whilst that is a sustainable choice for some...
Zephyr Movement was always intended as a lifestyle change. It was an offering to choose differently, perhaps choose better for you, not to simply take a break, recoup, only to go back to the same path. At ZephM, we value comfort, gentle strength, feeling your feelings and the not so fancy, not so loud, small choices that turn into big changes. If you're ready to pick differently, see the subtle choices as the defining ones and join the Zephyr Movement as it continues to evolve, here is your starter pack.
I gift you:
*A bag full of increased awareness of your breath and of your thoughts
*A coupon to breathe a little more gently and soften your muscles just a little more (no expiration date needed)
*A free pass per day for stillness: to tune into your senses, feel all the feels without apologising or receive some inner insight
*An invitation to choose the most kind and compassionate thoughts especially when your first thought is less than kind
*Endless permission slips to choose your comfort over anyone else's expectations
What you will receive:
*A top up of resilience and a little slice of calm amid the chaos that is our brutiful lives
*A whole bunch of nerdy facts about breathing and the nervous system
*A place where space is held, you are included and being the full spectrum of human is expected
For those already in the Zephyr Movement, soaring, falling and living wholeheartedly, thank you. Your support in whatever way it arrives is always appreciated. Follow us on IG: @zephyr.movement or send us an email to get involved and share how you're choosing to live the 'ZephM Way'. Because the more strong, gentle individuals the stronger more gentle community we create.
Be kind ✌️
Hi all! This month I thought we would tackle another FAQ and do some myth busting around breathing.
With these myths in mind can we see how deep breaths which often involve large volumes of air can expel too much CO2 and disturb some very important roles of CO2? Not to mention, the increased flow often associated with a deep breath can actually irritate the airways. Think about how your airway would feel after a night of heavy snoring (large volume, fast flow)? Furthermore, deep has become synonymous with belly. We don't breathe in our belly we breathe in our diaphragm. Whilst the belly can be used as a cue to bring the breath down it's not necessary and can cause increased air in your gut (Think belching and flatulence). Gentle nasal breathing automatically biases you towards a diaphragmatic breath. Furthermore, it's the diaphragmatic breath keeping pathogens out of your lungs and facilitating optimal efficiency.
Whilst both deep and gentle breathing will slow down your respiratory rate and leave you feeling calm, hopefully you can see there are even more benefits for breathing gently. Check the flow of air coming out of your nostrils on the back of your hand. If you feel anything other than a gentle warmth, try to breathe a little more gently.
One of the most common questions I get is about the Wim Hoff Method vs breathing re-training. Let me start by saying all methods and techniques have a place and have their benefits. Just like the saying, many roads lead to the same destination. I just feel it's helpful to understand the conditions each path offers to make an informed decision on what works best for you.
It is my understanding Wim Hoff aims to create discomfort in the nervous system. His theory is, we have become too comfortable and therefore, have less resilience to stress. It's kind of like exposure therapy where you expose yourself to small amounts of stress to build up a tolerance. I think of this approach as stimulating the nervous system prior to relaxing it. This is fine if you have reserve in your nervous system.
However, if you are someone who feels burnt out, living life on a hamster wheel or treadmill you can't get off of, I question if increased stress is appropriate for you? For those of us with a tendency to have a heightened sympathetic drive (yes this is my tendency too) the capacity to withstand additional stress when you're already constantly stressed seems counterproductive. Breathing Re-training is for you guys! The premise and safety precaution is comfort. This ensures whether you're hyperactive or hypoactive you obtain balance. A stressed out nervous system needs to calm down before it can tolerate more stress. I haven't seen evidence about the importance of the intentional stress component in those who are in sympathetic overdrive. The studies are relatively new about the Wim Hoff Method.
For people who are already worn out and stressed to the eye balls it makes sense to me that breathing exercises be aimed at reducing sympathetic drive and gently promoting the soothing sister rest and digest. Think about Wim's personality. He is super energetic and enthusiastic to the point of seeming a little wired at times. Do you need more of this in your life or do you need to learn how to rest?
If you would like to learn more check out page four of the breathing questionnaire, book an appointment or follow along on IG @zephyr.movement for loads of free tips about hacking your physiology and nervous system.
Top four reasons why I fell in love with hypnotherapy:
1. Promotes relaxed nervous system
For those of us stuck in the grind and hustle of life, relaxation can feel like a foreign concept. Even when we are 'chilling' we are thinking of all the things we should be doing or feeling guilty about taking the time to rest. The process of inducing trance (hypnotic state) essentially tricks the mind into relaxing. There are several different techniques hypnotherapists can use to bypass the busy mind and crack open your peaceful and relaxed state. Um... yes please!
2. Maximises a theta state for good (not evil)
If you are someone who loves to zone out whilst watching tv, one of the reasons you love it is because it allows your brain to enter into a theta wave state. It is a slower wave that enables the subconscious mind to be more suggestible. Hence, why tv advertising is so effective. They get us in a theta wave state and then convince us we need this food or that product to achieve the affect they are advertising. Other examples of theta wave states are hypnotic trance, meditation, day dreaming, fixing your gaze to the point the vision softens or driving somewhere automatically. Hypnotherapy offers us the opportunity to choose what we program into our subconscious. The place that drives all our decisions, behaviours and beliefs. Not to mention that in this slower brain wave state, the rate of healing is sped up x3! Who doesn't want to respond, react and show up in the world a little better than they did yesterday?
3. Opens creative mind
We spend so much of our time in our logical minds. Analysing, critically evaluating, making decisions and making sense of our day to day experiences. Theres a reason why creative things like music, art, writing and dancing are fun. We get to use a different part of our brains and release feel good chemicals like oxytocin and seretonin. Using the more creative parts of our brain to balance out all this logical thinking can promote a greater sense of wellbeing and balance. The same side of our brains that look after creativity also involve emotional processing. Therefore, hypnotherapy trains us to look at things from a more creative perspective and challenge concrete ways of thinking to integrate emotion based experiences. This is why we ask questions like, What colour is this emotion for you? Head to instagram to participate in 'What's your mood Mondays?' and get the creative thinking juices flowing.
4. Don't have to talk about what's bothering you and still get help
I possibly saved the best for last! Whether you just can't work out what is bothering you/ why you do something or whether you have experienced something traumatic, hypno can help without having to talk about it. Because hypno is simply about guiding you down into a relaxed state and opening the subconscious mind. As a hypnotherapist I can guide you through accessing your inner knowing/wisdom, clearing stagnant emotions and/or reframing traumatic memories without me having to know what the content is.
If you are intrigued and want to get a taste of hypnotherapy. Download the free trance clip here or check out my new online course, Ease Anxiety to welcome in the invaluable gifts hypnotherapy can offer you to ease tension, stress and anxiety in your nervous system. Perhaps you know someone who would benefit from this post the year that is 2020. Email email@example.com to gift the course to a loved one this Christmas and give the give of balance and ease.
Has anyone else ever watched a movie they loved as a kid and caught a whole new meaning to different aspects of the script? The kids’ movies that keep children engaged but have profound lessons for the adults watching also?
I remember watching Lion King after reading The Power of Now and it taking on a completely new meaning. As a child, I was always so perplexed when Rafiki kept hitting Simba on the head with his stick. It never made sense and I couldn’t work out the purpose. I had seen a similar thing in movies where monks would be meditating and be swung at with sticks catching them before making contact and still no clue.
It wasn’t until reading The Power of Now, climbing out of my own thoughts and mind that I realised, all this life I’d been missing. I was ‘in da past’ as Rafiki would say. Simply lost in my thoughts. Obviously very glad I didn’t have to be swung at with a stick at unpredictable times to learn this but how crazy. Unbeknownst to be I was introduced to the first pillar of escaping anxiety, Presence, when I was just 5years old.
You see the point is when we allow ourself to get distracted by our thoughts of the past or the future we completely miss the present. We might not hear the prelude to the stick swinging at us.
The one thing I noticed when I understood this concept and really committed to increased mindfulness was how I seemed to have more time. All those situations where I’d be ‘running late’ and think I didn’t have time to check my hair in the mirror before leaving the house or sit down to eat my breakfast were all a ruse. You see when I slowed down and actually did those things despite ‘running late’ I always seemed to end up on time.
I found if I was better able to be fully present in each moment I had way more brain space. Rather than thinking of a thousand things at once and giving each 10% of my attention, I saved time getting things right the first time. How many times have you burnt toast after popping it down for a second time only to be distracted by your phone? Then resulting in making toast twice as long. Or is this just me?
You see slowing life down so I can be more in tune with my senses means I’ll smell the toast before it burns. I’ll hear the footsteps of the person holding the stick. I’ll hear it whip through the air long before it hits me in the side of the head. So why don’t you try it? Be like Simba and learn to be more present. See how many sticks you dodge and how much time you have to gain.
Want to learn more about my pillars to exit anxiety? Well keep an eye out my new online course Ease Anxiety is launching later this month!!
Alternatively if you can’t wait, reach out and book a one on one.
Slow down and be kind ✌️
When I was at the height of my persistent pain condition and anxiety the key piece of the puzzle was having health practitioners explain and teach me about comfort. At the time my nervous system was so wired, everything hurt and health care revolved around pain. (Even putting my arms above my head to do my hair was excruciating.)
I was sent to an incredible GP who introduced me to mindfulness. I read the book ‘Mindfulness for Health by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman’ and listened to the accompanying recordings. He was one of the first practitioners to educate me on the relationship between anxiety, my nervous system and my pain without advising “You just need to relax”. (Let’s be real all that does is make anxiety worse and leave you asking how?!?!?)
I found this GP through one of my lecturers at uni who I had started seeing for physio. She educated me on the importance of pain free movement. At that point, I was in constant, unrelenting pain. She taught me to tune into micro movements which for me started with breath.
By giving myself permission not to push into pain and stay within the comfort of my micro movement, my nervous system slowly learnt how to be comfortable in a larger range and variation of movement. (Now look at what my body can do five years in the making ->)
When you’re in a stress or pain state pushing only moves you further into a sympathetic state reinforcing neurochemical pathways leading to discomfort. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that, life is unpredictable af and so long as we are living we will have to calibrate for comfort. The scale slides with stress, trauma, pain, grief/loss, celebration, happiness and joy. Comfort is not a level in a game you unlock, achieve and stay within because well, life.
Learning how to calibrate comfort therefore is such an important life skill. Focusing on where the comfort lies and tools to augment comfort (not necessarily just focusing on decreasing pain) can assist with choosing more helpful coping strategies. The end goal is the same but the journey feels different.
So if you are up-regulated and would like to see if breathing re-training and hypnotherapy are pathways to more sustained comfort for you and your nervous system please reach out!
Enjoy your day and always be kind :)
The World Health Organisation defines burnout as, "syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed". It is characterised by the following three symptoms:
It is a syndrome particularly rife in the healthcare setting and given current events is no doubt on the rise. On top of that with more and more people working from home it becomes more difficult to separate work from home life and achieve balance.
This is something I struggled with when working in the public hospital system full time and was a big driver in directing me towards starting Zephyr Movement. I have had a lot of practitioners that tell me they struggle to 'switch off' after work or simply struggle to relax. The following tips aren't revolutionary but a great reminder or push in the right direction.
1. When cooking/eating dinner practice mindfulness to leave work at work!
I'm assuming everyone is in need of a good feed after a long day at work. So whilst cooking/eating dinner utilise your 5 senses. What can you hear? Eg) The boiling water, sound of the knife as you cut the veggies, music or tv in the background. What can you smell? Eg) Different herbs/spices, scented candle in the room etc. Repeat for sight, taste and touch. This is an easy way to maintain focus on the present moment instead of what you may have left on your to do list or a patient you are concerned about etc.
2. Practice good sleep hygiene to facilitate relaxation!
Think about how you can make your environment more relaxing an hour or two before you plan on wanting to sleep. I'm not going to tell you not to watch tv before bed because I also do it. It helps you enter a theta wave brain state which is relaxing. However, turn the blue light off on your laptop/phone. Most models give you the option to set it up a timer automatically from sunset to sunrise. This assists regulating melanin production, a chemical that assists with circadian rhythm. Furthermore, find what is relaxing for you using all your senses. I use scented candles and warm fairy lights instead of the bright overhead lights and always listen to a hypnosis track as I fall asleep.
3. Listen to your intuition when you want to say NO.
We all know the sinking feeling in our gut that is a hard no. Sometimes it is hard to honour that feeling and say no to the extra shift or task your employer has set for you. I encourage you to sit down and work out what your personal boundaries are. How much time off do you need in a week? (A typical weekend is 48hours) What does my time off need to include in order to feel rested? (I.e. not just chores/ cooking for the week and exercise) These become little promises you can keep with yourself. Best way to start building boundaries with other people is to practice with yourself first. This way when you get asked to work that extra shift, you can think of it as saying yes to your wellbeing instead of no to your employer.
Hope this helps! If you are interested in breathing better for your wellbeing or want to try clinical hypnotherapy. Reach out and enquire here.
Stay safe and be kind :)
Working in wellness and as a physio in the area of acute respiratory, I was all about the 'deep' breathing...or taking 'big' breaths. Recently I underwent some professional development courses in breathing re-training and let me tell you what I learnt changed the way I will live and treat from now on!
First up, what is breathing re-training? It is based in physiology. Basically, it is the process of training the respiratory centre in the brain to 'normalise' the rate and volume of breaths taken. In doing this it will effect your blood chemistry because breathing is closely associated with the pH of blood. It has everything to do with the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen and the way the body compensates for keeping this balance. (Note: I put ' ' around 'normalise' because everyone is different with different medical histories/lifestyle factors that can affect the end result. However, the process will still move you closer to 'normal'. **It is for this reason that you shouldn't adjust your breathing without the guidance of a breath educator who knows your whole medical picture.
Secondly, what is normal physiological breathing? When I went to university we got taught a normal breathing rate for an adult was between 12-20 breaths per minute with a volume of air per breath dependent upon your body size. For example, someone my size would have a tidal volume of 500mls per breath. This volume would also change depending on whether you are sneezing, coughing, sighing, yawning etc.
What I learned through Tess Graham's courses was that 40years ago normal was 8-12 breaths per minute. A comparison of the difference could be depicted in what breathing looks like during a panic attack with the paper bag vs when the person has calmed themselves down. Think about the symptoms associated with breathing that fast and big.
If humans have been around for 100s of 1000s of years why would the physiology (the chemical and physical makeup have changed so much?) Ms Graham hypothesised that it was the change in lifestyle. We live more fast paced lives and stress is at an all time high, juggling all the different areas of modern life. Plus, our diets. Yes food has an impact on breathing. Now I am not a dietician or nutritionist, just a physio and breath educator, so all I will say is that complex carbohydrates can increase your breathing rate too.
So what does correct breathing look like? --->
Breathing re-training is intrinsically safe when performed without ANY discomfort. However, because breathing is so closely linked with this inherent balance in our bodies. Changing your breathing without supervision or too quickly can result in a healing response whereby you may feel more emotional, have changes in your gastro-intestinal function among other symptoms.
Think you may be over breathing?
(**Think about the following question during exercise and/or sleeping not just during resting breathing...)
Curious to start your own breath re-training? Well to celebrate a year since Zephyr Movement opened its doors! You can receive 10% off any breath re-training initial consult for the week starting Thursday 23rd July (because Thursdays are my favourite day!) ending Thursday 30th July!! Enquire here to claim :)
Enjoy your day and nurture your lungs by simply breathing a little more gently from now on.
Let's talk mindfulness...before I had a persistent pain condition, studied hypnotherapy and struggled with my anxiety I had no idea what this word meant! I knew it was kind of in the meditation realm (which I found incredibly intimidating) but that was about it.
Mindfulness simply means directing your attention toward the present moment. Now why would you want to do this? In practicing bringing your mind back to the now no matter how many times the mind tries to distract you. This can be with what you're going to cook for dinner or what time what meeting is on. This teaches you emotion regulation. I often describe this as creating space between the situation and your reaction to it. Meaning, instead of yelling at the person who took the last toilet roll from a place of lack and fear (couldn't help myself #soznotsoz) having another couple of seconds to realise that person is wearing a nurses' uniform and it may have been the only chance she had to get supplies before another string of shift work. Perhaps that person would have been able to observe the uniform in that moment if their thoughts weren't on trying to remember what meals they needed to prep, how much the shopping was going to cost or whether they'd run out of toothpaste? In other words focused their attention on the present moment. Wait wasn't that mindfulness? :) I can hear you asking but how?!? Where do I start? Ok ok ok here are some great ways to start.
1. Breathing!! Try focusing on how you are breathing in this moment. Is it slightly difficult or effortless? What body parts move on the in and/or the out breath? How could you alter your breathing in this moment to relax the most muscles? Would it help if you breathed into the areas of tension? Breath is a great anchor because if you are alive you will continue to breath and each breath will be different moment to moment keeping you PRESENT!!
2. The Senses!! Pick a sense; sight, sound, scent, taste, touch. Now take a minute...how many orange objects can you see right now? What are the background sounds you have been zoning out? (For me it's this pesky fly!!!) What smells can you detect...perhaps a tree or candle or flower? What does this inside of your mouth taste like and is it different between each swallow of saliva? What do the different textures of your clothes, the chair beneath you feel like? The pattern embedded on the back of my legs says I should definitely get up from this chair soon.
3. Get curious with how you move! Even getting up out of a chair will be different each time you do it. Notice if there is equal weight between both legs, do you use your arms to push up, do you make a sound as you get up? Tune into the movement and get present with how you perform it. This is often why I love pole. When hanging upside down by the skin of the back of your knee you have to pay very close attention to what all of your limbs are doing, what is actually gripping the pole and exactly how close your head is to the ground. You are forced to be present.
If that doesn't sound like your idea of fun. I challenge you to stay present through the whole or part of cooking dinner tonight by noticing your breath, taking in all the senses and noticing in great detail how you move. To think that one small shift in self-awareness during an every day activity could result in lowered heart rate, decreased anxiety and increased ability to focus, just to name a few!
Have fun with it and let me know how you go!
Hope you enjoyed this little intro to mindfulness. Remember to be kind ✌️
If you missed part one maybe go back and read that first. Otherwise here is part two!
4. Order spaces while you’re learning to order your mind:
5. Cooking can be enjoyable and bring routine to your day:
6. Incidentally learning mindfulness
7. Being forced into deep connection and vulnerability:
This little glimpse at the slow and simple life showed me a little about why mental health is such a problem? Social media means we can distract we don’t necessarily have to confront, it also encourages comparisons, blows expectations up and blocks seeing human vulnerability and suffering. It can make us feel like we’re not doing enough, don’t have enough and just aren’t enough in general. Back in the day if you were the best in your town at something you were the best in the world as you knew it. Know that I’m right there with you figuring it out as I go but hope this helps or entertains who ever has read all the way to the end 😊
PS: You are more than enough right this second! Be kind ✌