How I got High on Air — My Experience with Breathwork

A few years ago, I started meditating with the help of an app. Meditation definitely is a tool that helped changed my life so much for the better. 

Meditation reduced my daily anxiety level, 

which I now know was elevated by imbalanced blood sugars and meditation helped me create more focus in my life. 

It also taught me about being present and when your mind wanders off, you bring it back by focusing on the breath.

My Experience with Breathwork

Breathwork dates back to the ancient Hindu practice of yogic breathing known as Pranayama, which translates in Sanskrit to “breath control.”

It was 5th June 2020, we were in the midst of the lockdown, and I was really enjoying the slower pace of life, along with reduced work load and sunny warm weather Ireland was experiencing at the time meant I was feeling the least stressed I had felt in probably many years!

I last minute signed up to a virtual Breath Work Session on zoom with breathwork coach  Dr Cathy Scanlon from

I had no idea what to expect.

The intention of the session was forgiveness.

Cathy started the online group breathing and guided the group breathing as a 2 part breathing for at least 10-15 minutes, with the simple instructions:

Inhale in two parts, first in the belly, then in the chest, then exhale and repeat for the next 20 minutes.

It was nothing like regular meditation.

The first 5-10 minutes is hard work.

My mind kept cutting in, in those first 5-10 mins, saying

‘this is stupid’ ‘this is hard work’ ‘why am I doing this?’

But Cathy kept the group simply focusing on the active 2 part breathing.

Ten minutes into my first breathwork class I felt a light dizziness and a tingling in my hands and feet, but I pushed through it.

Breathwork can be effective in releasing emotions that get “stuck” in the body.

Some people may laugh in response. Some people may cry. Anger might show as growling in some people.

During active breathwork practices, some people might experience their hands curling or they have cramping and tightness in the hands or around the mouth

Many breathwork teachers explain this as caused by holding onto unconscious, “stuck” energy or the need for control.

Cathy explained how we can help this

If this were to happen during brethwork, Cathy advised to slow down the breathing, reduce the forcefulness or duration of exhales just lightly “letting go” of breath, move/shake or massage hands or other body parts experiencing tension or tightness.

My hands started to lock up a bit and it became difficult to move them during the session, and around my mouth but as Cathy had mentioned it I wasn’t worried. Simply shaking out my hands really helped me through my resistance.

Near the end, when Cathy led us in a loud, group scream into a pillow to help release any tension in the body.


Next came THE BEST part, what’s known in yoga as Savasana (Corpse Pose) which is for deep relaxing and surrendering, while being aware of the breath.

This was where the magic happened!

In my mind I was taken back to my primary school playground, and I was back in Senior Infants, where I came face to face with what I considered at the time to be a ‘bully’, a girl from the older classes, used to take me around the side of the school and asked me questions about ‘who I played with’ and ‘Why I wasn’t playing with her’ all very harmless but at the time I felt deeply upset about it and was so fearful of speaking up to this girl from 2-3 classes above me.

I unknowingly was going about my adult life in my late 30’s unaffected by the fact this girl was clearly not someone I forgave!

Then in my vision I turned into a helium balloon above the school play ground, seeing myself as fun, and every single child in the playground was so happy by my presence!

Crazy right!! Because this was not anything I thought about in the last 10 years and even then it would have been a thought I had for only a split second!!

At this stage I was crying and I also started feeling deep forgiveness and compassion towards this girl.

I was so happy and felt lighter and so relaxed!!

So much energy was flowing through my hands and my whole body.

The group had the option to share experiences if they wished which we all had different experiences, but one thing that seemed pretty consistent among the people in the session was the amount of energy that was flowing through our arms and hands or whole body.

It’s really hard to describe, but I felt like I had hundreds of bolts of little energising light was touching and surrounding my hands and fingers. I felt like I was receiving energy from the room into my body and it was all something I created myself just with the guidance of a trained breathwork coach.

The idea is that we have many energy blockages that are built up in our bodies over our life, breath work helps to release them.

Breathwork is an active meditation, with deep breathing which increases the oxygen flow through the body, resulting in a highly energising and possibly vivid visions in your mind — which can unblock stuck energy and also can unblock stuck emotions.

The benefits are immediate! Just one session will leave you feeling lighter and often in a state of bliss.


Breathing is like pressing the reset button

Our bodies have memory, they are our vessel for this life experience and they store all our memory and emotions – just like the Disney Pixar Film ‘Inside Out’.

These emotions get stuck inside our muscles, our cells, from habitual thinking patterns and behaviours.

Some emotions can become a weight that holds us back as we try to move forward in life.

Breathwork is a tool that can help us release some of those stuck emotions.

The mind and body are connected. When we relax the body, we relax the mind.

Immune System & Health Benefits

When we relax the mind, our body follows. 

Breathing techniques are the key to influence and control our autonomic nervous system and even our immune system.

Our immune cells are like little silent fighters that do so much behind the scenes. 

Everyday our immune system exists without our knowledge, where our cells fight various battles with outside threats and intruders in order to help keep us safe, functioning, and strong. 

If you’re constantly and chronically stressed out, sleep-deprived, under nourished, or dehydrated over time your immune function will weaken.  A weakened or compromised immune system can lead to chronic infections, inflammation, autoimmune issues, and serious illness Luckily, you can boost immunity when you practice Breathwork.


The Breathwork I practice is a 2 step Pranayama that we refer to as simply Breathwork or Healing Breathwork. I have completed my Level 1 training where I can conduct one to one breathwork which I learned from David Elliot, author of The Reluctant Healer.

Elaine helps busy women, learn to relax, ReBalance their hormones naturally and reduce their waistline.