When I first heard that we were going to have a breathwork practitioner join the evolve team I was cautiously excited because I had heard of breathwork before through articles, friends and colleagues but had never tried it for myself. I’m open to most things, and through working at evolve and my own life journey I’ve tried yoga, meditation, mindfulness practice, talk therapy and some simple deep-breathing exercises for calming and focusing the mind. As a way to continue this endeavour, I decided to try breathwork, and realized quite quickly that it was something else entirely.

I’d heard that breathwork was a way to transcend the mind and that it was deeper than meditation, but I had no real concept of what that meant. Enter Deedee Poyner, a Clarity Breathwork Practitioner and Registered Professional Counsellor. Deedee has a warm smile and a comforting presence about her, much like the rest of the evolve team, and I felt at ease as I entered the room. Once I was settled in she began asking me what brought me to the session today, if there was anything on my mind, or if I had anything I thought I might like to work on. Once we established an idea of my current state and how I might like to spend the session she got me to move onto the treatment table and start breathing. The breath itself is circular, starting with an energized inhalation followed by a relaxed exhalation, with no pause between. 

Deedee told me that after the first 10 minutes of breathing I would “pass through the portal” and she was right! The racing thoughts that often occupy my mind were replaced by the steady full body feeling of the inhale and exhale. I was aware of my breath, the tingling in my feet, hands and arms, and of the sudden waves of emotion that seemed to bubble up from nowhere. Many people refer to this sensation as your body releasing stored trauma. When we experience emotional overwhelm and we are unable to fully process the emotion, this unprocessed energy gets stored in our muscles, organs and tissues. Breathwork can help release it. The fact that Deedee is a registered counsellor allows her to really help you uncover and release what is brought to the surface during the breathwork session. She asks you questions and guides you though the release of energy. 

Towards the end of the session I started to feel my hands drawing in on themselves, folding into strange little claws that I couldn’t seem to straighten. Apparently this is a common sensation during breathwork, and some even refer to as “lobster claw.” A more accurate term for this phenomenon is “tetany,” and it can be caused by a number of factors, including a lack of certain minerals, excess oxygen or even a hereditary predisposition. Deedee had me slow down the breath, lengthen the exhales and focus in on the heart. I was able to continue breathing with a focused intention on the heart centre and slowly my hands released their tension. 

At the end of the hour Deedee had me slowly return to my natural breath. She kept space for me while I came back into the present and left the breathwork world behind. We spoke a little about how I was feeling now and she suggested that writing after a session is a great way to honour the work the breath has done. I left the room feeling like I’d run a marathon, both emotionally and physically. I was ravenous, euphoric and exhausted in equal measure and I knew for certain that I would definitely be doing breathwork again. 

If you are interested in a breathwork session with Deedee Poyner please email reception at info@evolvevancouver.ca for more information.