Health

You’re Not Breathing Right

Five classes that will school you in the art of inhaling.
Illustrator: Tim Lahan for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ceremony Meditation
60-minute group session, $25; ceremonymeditation.com
Coach Daniela Gil has students fill their lungs to about 80 percent capacity—just beyond a standard inhalation—then let the air escape at a regular pace. After seven minutes of this, everyone holds an inhalation as long as they can, which “supports circulation of energy through the body,” says Gil, who trained with master breathwork guru Dan Brulé. This is followed by a few minutes of normal breathing. The process is repeated two to five times; participants should soon experience a calm mind and enhanced clarity. Attendees wear eye masks during the class, but for those who can’t fully relax around other people, private sessions are available.

The Art of Living
Three-day (nine-hour) workshop, $395; artofliving.org
This nonprofit, which has locations in 154 countries, teaches Sudarshan Kriya, a technique that’s said to increase feelings of well-being through rhythmic breaths at varying speeds. (The name means “proper vision by purifying action” in Sanskrit.) New York-based coach Ruchika Lal, a graduate of the organization’s 400-hour training program, says the sessions pair breathing with yoga and meditative practices.
 
BlissPoint Breathwork
90-minute private sessions, from $350; blisspointbreathwork.com
A thumping megaclub doesn’t sound like the most relaxing place, but BlissPoint instructor Lisa de Narvaez insists the house music has its benefits. “When we listen to a rhythm, our heart and our breath begin to sync with it,” she says. As the music pounds, Narvaez’s clients are instructed to breathe through their mouths in a continuous “wavelike” motion, originating in the belly and expanding into the chest, with no pause between inhale and exhale. In addition to working at the company’s studio in Los Angeles, BlissPoint instructors attend to participants at Summit Series entrepreneur conferences as well as Burning Man-style retreats run by the Habitas festival series in Ibiza, Spain; Tulum, Mexico; and Simi Valley, Calif.

Illustrator: Tim Lahan for Bloomberg Businessweek


The Breathing Class
60-minute private sessions (two-session minimum), from $175; thebreathingclass.com
Clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, author of Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health, teaches clients to expand their bellies outward while breathing instead of raising their shoulders, an anxiety-promoting habit she says “9 of 10 people” engage in unconsciously. She explains that this “lower-body horizontal breath” relaxes muscles along the spine and slows heart rate, optimizing endurance. The two sessions (with Vranich or an assistant, in person or via Skype) are scheduled a minimum of two weeks apart, so you can do your breathing homework in between.

Breathing Space
Four nights, all inclusive, $1,200; breathguru.com
Alan Dolan holds his “conscious breathing” workshop on Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, because the air is better in the subtropics, right? Dolan’s technique starts with upbeat music (Britney Spears, Afro Celt Sound System) and movement, such as jogging in place, to get hearts beating and the breath flowing; this is followed by a quick “Ha!” exhalation. “It sounds a bit like a steam train,” says Dolan, who studied with Transformational Breath technique founder Judith Kravitz. This kind of movement-breathing pairing leads to a “physical and emotional release” of tension and pain, Dolan says. The workshop’s airy, three-bedroom property overlooking volcanoes and the ocean—with kite-surfing, hiking, and a Michelin-starred restaurant a short drive away—also helps relieve tension and pain.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE