Imagine a day breathing. Sounds so simple. Breathe in. Breathe out. Go on with your day. Now breathe in and then breathe out for much longer. Harder? I know.
I recently spent a whole day breathing, eating, connecting, stretching, laughing, a little snoring, a little bit of being uncomfortable and discovering so much more about myself. This is The Butterfly Effect.
Emma Ferris (if you look her up on Wikipedia it just says kind, lovely, knowledgable, slightly cheeky one. Disclaimer she may or may not be on Wikipedia) physio, pilates instructor and breathing expert led fifteen women through a wonderful day of learning how to breathe. So, starting again in effect.
Breathing is more difficult than you imagine. You think in / out right? Kind of, but Emma began by talking us through topics we all go through in life; grief, physical problems, stress and the one thing that is always compromised is breathing.
If you can learn how to manage your breathing through times of stress, grief, hardship you’re on the start of a path to become much more well equipped to deal with these things next time they arise.
The day began at beautiful Criffel Wool Shed, just a stone’s throw from Wanaka Town Centre. An abundantly stunning location with full 360 panoramic views. We were met by Emma with hugs and smiles and I was still a little unsure of what to expect. Breathe? Sure I can do that…..
We began with an introduction to Emma’s practice and also the day ahead. A short interlude to wander outside to gather something that sang to us (leaves, stones, flowers) and then we settled onto the mats. A quick talk through of breathing and I instantly understood how much I upper chest breathed and also how fast it was. Time to slow it all down.
Delicious chia pots from Bespoke Kitchen and some science to bring us back down to earth. Understanding how we breathe and the effect on the body laid the foundations for the rest of the day. Diaphragm work is imperative to a well breathing body. I know how I work now, if I can visualise something in my body I learn more, practice more and keep something up. If I don’t, it goes out of the window. Lickedy split.
We used bands to warm up some of the muscles and also looked at what triggers us in relation to our stress, life issues and being human.
Lunch! Emma is very focused on food (we love Emma) and how nourishing and wonderful good food can be. So we spent a lovely lunchtime eating more gorgeous food from Bespoke Kitchen and sampling some of the lovely drinks from Revive made in Wanaka.
Discussions meandered around our own stresses and how it was important for us to be able to make time out for ourselves. For just us. And not feel guilty about it.
After lunch a bracing walk up a short hill and we were amongst some of the most stunning scenery around. This is why I live here. Breathe that in.
We were given the opportunity to write down lists of gratitude, what nurtures us, and wellness aims for the year. Time to be quiet, settle, listen and make plans.
Back to the woodshed for a short pilates class and some more breathing, glorious bars from Bespoke and more iced tea and then discussion of wellness goals and our year ahead.
Bringing the session and day to a close. Quiet, peaceful, relaxed.
As the wind cracked into and through the wood of the old wool shed, I thought about what scenes must have played out here. If people working hard had a chance to sit and settle like we had. If they had the chance to look at the year ahead and think of what they were worthy of doing for themselves. Probably not. But I do know we all understood where we were in the world and how beautiful this place is and was.
Emma Ferris is a delight for the soul, a kind and hilarious woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously. She wants you to live your best life, to take out of it all the things that are there to make us laugh, love and breathe. I’m completely aware now of how I breathe and I want more. For the year ahead. For me.
Emma has another opportunity coming up to learn out at gorgeous Camp Glenorchy for a three day womens retreat. Find out more here and please, if you can, go!
The Butterfly Effect
I was kindly invited to the day retreat by Emma, but if I didn’t think you’d like it I wouldn’t write about it.