Breathing To Heal


Breathing To Heal

This week I’m joined by Walid Abuolnaga, a Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator and ordained Shamanic Minister who is committed to helping others experience deep transformation by integrating breath awareness and conscious breathing into everyday practices.

Walid breaks down the various types of breathwork, how they can help us and why they may be the missing link to our health and wellness.

Walid Aboulnaga

Walid Aboulnaga

Breathwork Facilitator

Walid is a former corporate exec turned Breathwork Facilitator and founder of Nafas Journeys. He is a certified Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator and Ordained Shamanic Minister who has trained with some of the most renowned breath masters including Venus Rising, Stanislov Grof, Wim Hof and more. Incorporating his experience and applying advanced techniques, he has guided and supported thousands of people through his workshops, breathwork facilitation and transformational journeys.


Maria Marlowe: [00:00:33] Welcome back to the Happier and Healthier podcast. Today I’m joined by Walid Aboulnaga, a shamanic breathwork facilitator and ordained shamanic minister. I first met Walid about a month or so ago when he was leading some breathwork sessions here in Dubai. I went I became obsessed with it and have been doing breathwork ever since. So I wanted to invite him on to share the various different types of breathwork, how they can help us and why they may be the missing link to our health and wellness. So once you’ve got your food right, your exercise right, but maybe something still not right, breathwork can really help you take your health and wellness to that next level.

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Maria Marlowe: [00:02:15] Walid, thanks for being here.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:02:17] Thank you for having me, so honored and excited.

Maria Marlowe: [00:02:21] I am so excited to talk to you because I was completely blown away by the couple of breathwork sessions that I did with you. And I am like a breath work convert now. I’m doing it every day. So let’s start from the beginning. What is breathwork and how did you find it? How did you get into it and start teaching it?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:02:43] Well, first of all, I’m really glad you enjoyed it and you found it and it sparked something beautiful in you just like it sparked something beautiful in me a couple of years ago. I was in search of deeper meaning. I think stress got the better part of me. I had offices in 14 different countries with over a thousand employees, and it was just constant. run, run, run and grow, grow, grow. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But with the growth came stress. And I don’t think I handled the stress properly. And I found myself one day at the American hospital of Dubai with the top neurosurgeon, and he told me that they had to cut my brain open and freeze the nerve. So when you hear something like that, it’s a bit shocking to your system. Kind of a wake up call. I had something called trigeminal neuralgia. It’s a chronic pain, affects the trigeminal nerve. So no kissing, no touching, shaving out of the question. And I was on the verge of turning 40. And, you know, I just said it’s really happening to me, popping painkillers to fall asleep.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:03:46] And I would wake up my dentist and good friend at two a.m. and be like, please just take off all my teeth. I mean, so much pain. But he would tell me that I was fine. But the painkillers stopped working. I refused the surgery. And unfortunately, thanks to Google, the more I researched about it, the more stressed I became because it said that it’s the number one disease people commit suicide from. And, you know, when you read something, you start becoming engulfed with it. But I started my journey, a journey of spirituality, of disconnection, of stress management for my sanity’s sake from my business and for my family.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:04:20] So I had to embark on this quest and I traveled and I refused the surgery from spiritual journeys to incredible festivals to meeting all the different healers. And one thing led to another. And eventually breathwork came, sound healing came. You know, it actually came after I dove deep into the plant medicine realm and tried different types of beautiful grandmasters that taught me a lot of things and opened up these psychoactive substances like Ayahuasca and Pedro and Peyote. They just really opened up a beautiful realm and literally two months after I was in a festival, I had a beautiful breathwork experience, very similar to the one that I facilitate, and it blew my mind and it opened up everything and connected the pieces of the puzzle of my life. And I was in tears for, you know, 40 minutes just from the sheer of the magnitude of this incredible experience. And I decided then I wanted to study the breath to understand the non-ordinary states of reality puts you into. And that’s when I started traveling the world studying with incredible founders and master teachers, learning holotropic shamanic breathwork, meeting Wim Hof and just so many other amazing teachers.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:05:38] And that was my journey, it just started somewhere and ended up somewhere. And I’m just really grateful today for the experiences it has given me. And I’m really honored to facilitate it today, to share it with the world. And here I am.

Maria Marlowe: [00:05:52] Yeah, I know. It’s so interesting because I really feel the last year or so breathwork has become a thing. It’s like the new yoga. You know, two years ago, you didn’t really hear so much, maybe a little bit. You heard about the Ice Man. But I know personally I was like, oh, I’m never taking an ice bath. Like, it’s not going to happen. Just kind of ignored it. But breathwork has started to become more and more popular, I feel, especially in the States. So you mentioned there’s a few different types and I’ve done two different types of breathwork with you. I did the shamanic breathwork and the Wim Hof method. So can you break down what the different types of breathwork are and maybe what their benefits are? Why you might want to employ one type of breathwork at a certain time and another at another time.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:06:39] Right. Well, I’m glad you did try different techniques because it’s like working out. You know, there’s hot yoga, there’s this kind of yoga, there’s cross fit, there’s many different types. And we say find what resonates with you. Try different types. You have that experience. There’s breathing through the nose, breathing through the mouth, there’s pranayama. There’s alternating the nostrils. There’s withholding the breath. One beautiful teacher taught me something incredible and he said, with all these different breath works available out there, they all lead to the same outcome, which is the connection with source and the source inside of you. I studied my journey with holotropic breathwork, studying with Stanislov Grof and his modules, and it was so deep and intense and it was very powerful and it’s very similar to the shamanic breathwork I facilitate. Yet it’s a much more deeper and longer experience. And I just didn’t resonate too much with sharing this. But although it was very healing and a powerful technique.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:07:38] The Wim Hof is a different breathing technique, allowing you to access energy and to boost your immune system, which is beautiful. And there are many different names out there for different techniques, and they’re pretty much similar with slight differences. The one I’ve been certified in and ordained as a minister and is the shamanic breathwork, which is a connection with the spirit world. You invite and invoke the spirits, you connect with them living and who have passed. And it’s a very beautiful, deep healing to transcend your mind. And you start entering this non-ordinary reality, an imaginary world. Dr. Carl Jung talks about it and he names it active imagination. And I found it resonating with me, healing me. And I was sharing it over the last few years. It’s been so special to everyone who’s tried it, almost everyone. And I say, find your tribe. Find what resonates with you.

Maria Marlowe: [00:08:36] Yeah, well, the shamanic breathwork, I loved it, but I can see how some people might be weirded out or freaked out by it a little bit, but it’s definitely different. It’s something new. And I’ve done another type of breathwork before. It’s I don’t know. It was just called breathwork and it was similar and that you lay down and you do this specific rhythmic type of breath and then eventually you just start sobbing, you just start crying and releasing all these emotions and thinking about things that you maybe didn’t even know was bothering you. And just you kind of start healing this way, healing from old traumas and things like that. And you’re doing it for like forty five minutes, which is kind of a long time to be crying and thinking about all this. But afterwards you feel so amazing, it’s so cathartic. But what I really liked about the shamanic breathwork was that the drums and the music that you used, because I feel like it went by really fast and I just got into it more. And I mean, I definitely felt like I got messages like Clear as day while I was doing it. And I remember you said at the session that I believe they’ve studied the breathwork and found that it’s actually more powerful than some of the plant medicines that you were talking about a bit earlier or even like LSD and drugs. Right?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:09:55] So basically, you know, when we use the breath work, we go into these expanded states. You don’t need to use chemicals or outside substances or plant medicine to reach that. You can and you can go there. But the breath is quite incredible and can take you there. And from all the case studies that they’ve done, they’ve shown that one or two breathwork sessions are equivalent to years of psychotherapy. We never undermine the work of therapists. But, you know, some people take the easy way out. Sometimes it’s not easy. They just take, you know, the route of alcohol or drugs or just therapy or antidepressants. You can heal with this this modality, this powerful modality. It’s an intense breathing exercise to awaken, to transform it, to heal. And when we use it, yes, the cyclical motion, this continuous work motion. We allow the mind to be put aside. We disconnect the chatterbox and the ego long enough so we can tap into the psyche and then we can pull up from our subconscious for the answers we need. Because inside of us, we have the answers, we have the solutions, and we know a third eye or gut or intuition. But with all the pollution and the noise, all the distraction that’s out there from social media, lifestyles and lack of exercise, we can’t connect. So we use these techniques to connect. It’s it’s extremely powerful.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:11:14] And the shamans have used it for thousands of years. The drumming, the chanting that we use and the continuous breathing motions. Most who’ve joined literally say the, you know, hour and ten minutes felt like ten minutes. So time ceases to exist. It’s beyond this space and time reality. It’s beyond the brain and beyond science. And it’s incredible. And when you let go of the mind, you understand that there’s another realm. There’s this. Well, quantum physicists are proving today that there’s something beyond the three dimensional reality that we live. We know that today and they’re proving it, the unseen world. And this is a chance to connect with it.

Maria Marlowe: [00:11:54] Yeah, it was it’s definitely a trippy experience in some ways. And I remember the message that I kept getting when I was doing it was that you see more with your eyes closed. And to me, that meant because, you know, in work I was getting so overwhelmed with making decisions. And what will this person think or should I do this? Should I do that? And it’s like I’m listening to so many other people’s opinions and thoughts and all of this It’s like, no, you just you need to tune all that out and just tune in to your own intuition, to your own thoughts. And that’s really where the answer lies.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:12:31] And we facilitate journeys where we take people to Bali and Costa Rica and Peru in agency, Nafas Journeys. And our theme, and we always tell them, we  disconnect to reconnect. So you’re right. You know, you find the answers inside and we have all the solutions. And it’s so beautiful. We play Chakra tune music as well. There’s a specific set that takes you on a journey. This journey allows you with drums and the beats to structure the rhythm of your inhale and the rhythm of the exhale as you continuously breathe. And at some point it’s about surrendering. It’s about letting go. A lot of people find it very hard to meditate and they struggle. And it’s a process. We say it’s a muscle, whether meditation or breathwork. It’s a muscle like yoga. The more you do yoga, the more flexible become. The more you go to the gym, the stronger you become, the more you meditate, the more you do breathwork, the more you understand it and how to navigate through it, understand, you know, open and expand.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:13:30] Because when we breathe, it’s just the continuous in and then out and then pause, and that’s just our breathing throughout the day, and unfortunately, a lot of people live most of their life unaware of the breath, just like the heartbeat or the blink of the eye. The subconscious takes over. Or if you’re going to sleep at night, you know, it’s on autopilot. Through breath work and the definition of breathwork is breath awareness and conscious breathing. You’re aware of the power and the speed and the depth of the breath. You’re in control. And breathing is safe, it’s not dangerous, it’s not like plant medicine or psychedelics or chemicals that lasts two or three hours or eight, nine hours. Whenever you need to slow it down, you control this intensity, and you slow it down, you’re breathing. Some people come and tell me at the end, I have never breathed like this before. You know, hyper oxygenate ourselves and our organs. We allow the oxygen to come in so we tap into this spiritual realm, you know, something you can’t access through natural breathing.

Maria Marlowe: [00:14:34] And so I feel the shamanic breath work really helps with releasing emotional things and helping you get clarity. But what about physical benefits? Because I know breathwork has also done wonders for people like I know you said in the beginning you had a physical issue. So how does the breathwork, help with the physical issues?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:14:56] So in general, there are many different techniques, but the breath is breathing in, not simply oxygen or air, it’s spirit. So when you breathe in spirit and we have that switch in the mind that you’re breathing the sacred essence of life. They call it Prana or Chi, it’s energy. This life force, nafas, when you’re breathing this in, you actually change the chemistry of your body. You become more alkaline, you’re able to send messages from your brain, the neurotransmitters bit quicker to any part of your body. You’ll be able to calm down. One of the reasons that helped me heal, I had a friend’s wife tell me I had the same thing. She still has it and is suffering deeply. And she said, what worked? And I said, I really don’t know, I’ve tried this, this, this, this, this, this, that. And I think it was the collective of all of them. But one beautiful thing I did at the beginning was I believed, you know, I would send messages to my mother in Egypt, my brothers in the U.S. and I said, pray for me. Like what Doctor Joe Dispenza talks about the collective prayer. You know, this is what it’s all about, understanding that we can send love and receive love and believing in the power of the breath emotionally and physically.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:16:03] You breathe to energise at any point in a day when you’re a little bit slumped and low, even when you’re in the gym, you just have to have several breaths into the nose or mouth, like the car going to the gas station and pump yourself up. The energy that we get from the breathwork is so powerful. Some people go through deep emotional healing, some other people are laughing. I’ve had several friends. She would come and say the first two times I was sobbing so much and it was a lot of release. Sometimes tears of joy, sometimes tears of sadness. But this time I didn’t cry. And I said, It’s OK. You got what you received, but you got something else. It’s not about only release, it’s about clarity. It’s setting the conscious intention to what you want. Throughout my own personal journey, at the beginning, I received a message of the logo of the new company and I’d open, envisioned it, future travel, how it felt, how I saw it. And it was quite incredible. And that’s how I launched what I’m doing, what I do today because of the breath. I’m so grateful for it.

Maria Marlowe: [00:17:07] Yeah, it just gives you this laser clarity. So let’s switch gears and talk a little bit about the Wim Hof method, which I feel like when I did this with you, so I spent what, like three hours with you on a Saturday morning. And Walid taught me this other similar type of breath, but a slightly different type of breath, and then got me to submerge myself in ice cold water for three minutes, twice like two minutes, then three minutes. And I feel like after doing this breathwork, this Wim Hof method, I literally felt fearless and unstoppable. Like I felt like I literally, I still feel like, I feel like I can do anything and nothing can stop me. So let’s talk a little bit about this method and what makes it so special and unique.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:17:57] Wim Hof is an incredible human being, sixty one year old adventure seeker with twenty six Guinness Records. He’s proving that the mind control the body in ways science at once was impossible. So he’s changing textbooks. And what fascinated me the most when I read about it before I met him was he managed to get a team of people to document him, injecting himself with different viruses and bacteria and through meditation and breathwork had close to no side effects. And he said, it’s not me. It’s anybody who can learn this with the breathing technique, with meditation. And I met him and told him about my trigeminal issue and how I healed. And, you know, this was before the breath journey. So I was kind of there on that spiritual path. And he said we can heal anything. And he laughs and says we can heal hangovers. And he said, but, you know, I’m not pushed too much to talk about cancer and all these other diseases that we can heal. He’s an incredible human who’s shared a beautiful and simple technique that also allows you to fill in your body with this beautiful life force, energy, different technique. And it happens when you withhold the breath on the exhale. That’s when you go into a meditative state and send the messages to your body, visualize the warmth and then continue breathing. It’s so deep that those who come to the ice therapy sessions, ice baths, sometimes say that the breath was even more powerful than the ice because they go into this beautiful space of complete silence, complete disconnection.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:19:27] And that’s how you do when you enter the ice and you can use the same feeling, that same energy and focus when you deal with your partner, with your loved ones, children, with your clients or suppliers. Whenever you’re triggered you understand your breath because your state controls your breath. If you get a message and the message has some really bad news or something fearful, what’s the first thing you do? You just you hold your breath. Or if you’re about to go into, you know, speaking engagements, speak in front of hundreds or possibly thousands of people, maybe you start breathing a little bit, but it’s a two way street. Your breath also controls your state. So if you manage to slow the breath down and watch your state and how you controlled it, you’ll be able to do anything and wonders and beautiful miracles. It’s the mindset.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:20:19] The mind is able to control the body. So I’m glad that you had that wonderful experience and overcame that fear, overcame that challenge. And I say once you’ve overcome the ice and you took it over, it becomes a mental standpoint. You can take over any obstacle and challenge. You tell me that in the afternoon, in the evening, somebody pisses you off or a car comes or or anything. You’ll be, you’ll be OK. You’re in the ice.

Maria Marlowe: [00:20:43] Yeah, let me tell you. So I got a puppy since I saw you and it is a lot of work and can be very stressful and I feel like I’m just really cool. Even my friend who is visiting, she’s like, wow, you’re just so calm, like dealing with like all of these issues. And I’m like, yeah, you know, it’s not a big deal. And yeah, I mean, the breath changes you. It’s amazing how it just it changes your state. Like you said, when we get anxious, we tend to breathe really shallow and quickly. But when we’re calm, we breathe really deep and slow. And so we actually did an ice bath at home, last week, and, you know, when you’re not around the people, this is my first time doing it by myself, so when I first got in, I was like *takes a gasping breath.* You do that, Oh, my God. Because it’s so shocking. But then just slowed it down, slowed it down. And it’s interesting how when you kind of stop breathing, like when you’re on the exhale and you’re holding the exhale, it becomes so effortless and easy. So I’m really just blown away by the breathwork.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:21:46] No, that’s great that you’ve done it at home. But we always say safety is first, whether in the breathwork or in the ice. If you have certain medical conditions, make sure to check. If you’re pregnant, definitely avoid the breathwork. If you have heart issues, be careful. You know, there are certain things that you have to understand with medications and with just conditions and generally, safety comes number one. But when it comes to the ice and understanding that you control it, it’s the same thing with children. We teach them as young as three and four years old to control the breath, to slow down, when their calm. So when they become a little bit, you know, all over the place, they can control themselves.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:22:23] A year ago, I was invited to one of the corporate clients and they had a university program with over four hundred and fifty employees, partners, executives from the whole region. And they invited me to teach the benefits of the breath and certain breathwork techniques. And I asked them what was the main objective behind this. They said, well, a lot of them are stressed out. A lot of them are dropping like flies in airports. A lot of them are getting heart attacks as young as 30 and 40 years old. The stress, the continuous connection with technology and never ending assignments back to back. They wanted a chance to understand how can you revive, reignite. I said, well, maybe they first of all need to break. But besides that, yes, there are techniques that you can use when you’re just about to fire the email in response to someone. Take a moment to breathe. Calm yourself down. When you finish the conference call or when you finished an assignment, whether it’s a good or bad meeting, you need to be to self-center. When you’re going back home after a long day of stress, the stress is brought into your home. You need to disconnect that. Stay a few moments in the car or before you enter the house and just have several deep breaths. Even just one conscious, deep and slow breath can put you in this wonderful meditative state that allows you not to explode the slightest of things.

Maria Marlowe: [00:23:49] Yeah, we can all use these tips for the day to day life, because that’s the interesting thing, right? The breathwork and the ice bath, it’s not really to prove that you can stay in the ice. It’s so that when you go back into your life, you can handle all the stresses, your kids, your bills, your work, your boss, your this, your that, so that you could handle those with peace and clarity and calmness.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:24:12] Absolutely. You know, and people look at Wim Hof, watch the Goop and some YouTube. We say, of course, this guy has trained for forty, forty five years. So we’re not the same. We go in for two minutes, shock the cardiovascular system, understand that we have that mental ability. We have that mindset and the power and strength within to stay and to hold. Because when you have a little obstacle, a speed bump in life, it’s not the end of the world. You can overcome it, believe, deal with it in a stressless manner.

Maria Marlowe: [00:24:44] So tell us a little bit more about Nafas Journeys, and I know that’s your unique blend of a few different things. So what’s your philosophy? And yeah, how do you know if someone wants to go on a Nafas journey, what would they experience?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:24:58] So first of all, Nafas in Arabic means breath and it comes from the word Nefs, which is spirit and spirit and breath are the same word in many different languages. So it’s not breath journeys. It’s Nafas Journeys, which I call spiritual, adventurous journeys. And we call our retreats and our activities and places we take people on,  soul venture, which is an adventure for your soul. What we meant is the spiritual aspect of it, which is the yoga and meditation, the breathwork, sound healing, blessings, healers, shamans, cacao ceremonies, all these amazing activities with the adventure element, the sunrise hikes and the ice baths and the rafting. And when you put it together, you get a little bit of both. And our whole objective is connect with your soul.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:25:49] You know, people go on these incredible retreats and it’s beautiful or vacations, sit on the beach, read a book that’s not bad. So people just go on a cruise or open buffet, an open bar, and it’s not bad. There’s more to life. And what I wanted to share is come to a journey where you spend a week to disconnect from the world, disconnect from the outside realm and go on an inner journey and this inner journey with some activities that people may or may have not tried before to try different sound healing techniques. Try different modalities and healers, so you can get a taste of them and take them back and share it with your loved ones at home and gain this beautiful understanding that there is beauty out in the world and within. So that’s our soul venture in a summary.

Maria Marlowe: [00:26:35] I want to go. Sign me up. When Bali opens, I’m coming.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:26:40] 2021 is around the corner. We’ve been hibernating for far too long. It’s time to welcome everyone.

Maria Marlowe: [00:26:47] So can you just talk a little bit about the sound healing? Because and that’s another technique that I feel like is becoming more and more popular. What exactly is the sound healing and what does it do?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:26:59] I’m not a sound healing expert, but on every single trip we have phenomenal sound experts, musicians and healers that share different musical instrument bowls and crystals and, you know, amazing domes that are created for the vibrations of sound. I’m sure maybe you’ve seen some videos on YouTube that have a pan or a big table that has sand and different vibrations allows them to make incredible shapes. This is the same with the body. You can have all these incredible vibrations and you can set the intention. You can work on healing, you can work on your chakras and activating them. And go through sound baths. And you’re in a beautiful, beautiful healing session where a lot of vibrations are moving, you know, emotions or energy moving in motion. And with sound, it becomes this beautiful, different technique to heal. You know, they had they had these rocks. I don’t know where they would show that with certain frequencies, you can break rocks, you can move things. So I definitely am on my learning journey to understand a little bit more about sound, but I have some incredible healers. And me personally on my own journey of the sound, have found so much healing take place. It’s also kind of like the breathwork where you can really go into deep release, deep emotions that come up through the sound. And it’s just just beautiful.

Maria Marlowe: [00:28:23] So you seem like one of the calmest people I know, like you could deal with a lot of stress. Like, I can’t imagine you actually being stressed because you have this very calm presence about you. So can you share what do you do in your daily life? Are you doing the breath work every day? Are there any other do you have a morning routine, evening routine? Like what are you doing to maintain this sense of zen and peace?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:28:46] Well, not always. And I think the only triggers I have in my life are my three daughters. So I’ve taught them to tell me what I’m about to kind of lose it. Daddy, breathe. So soon as that’s said to me. It’s kinda game over. So they know it. I mean, I say, looking back at my life, that had I known then what I know now, I would have handled so many situations differently. You know, that project with the client that we didn’t renew, the fear of that one country, that we had an operation and it was so much pressure and everything was a constant battle, a firefight, a worry. I worried far too much than I needed to. And at the end, there was no need to worry. But I was in that locomotive stress cycle, maybe as the head of the company and the founder and managing these teams. But I took on everybody’s issue as if it was mine.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:29:41] Today, I mean, you know, I have many, many things that I find very peaceful. I read, I play sports every single day. If it’s just a run or walk, a yoga, a badminton, ping pong, basketball, I found my meditative state in sweating and releasing and enjoying good company and playing. You know, my wife is into yoga. I’m slowly getting into yoga. She’ll have someone come to the house twice a week. I’ll join every now and then. So my yoga skills are slowly getting there. With the breath, I think it’s important. I have different techniques, not necessarily every day that I do, but when I need to do it, some techniques that I’m trying to learn, I would do it every day just to understand it more. Other techniques I would learn from other beautiful healers and teachers around me. And we all share from each other so we can try different things. The Wim Hof I did it daily for months on end just to understand the power that it had. Tony Robbins had a beautiful technique that he would use with movement. I tried that and I share it as well.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:30:42] They say the shamanic breathwork, the one that I facilitate, even the facilitators that are certified and trained share this, have to at least not pass anywhere between three to four months without breathing them. It’s a powerful, intense physical breathing exercise. But I always breathe it every couple of weeks, preparing a different set, just making sure it flows and doing my own breath work. You have to work on yourself first before you can work on others. And I believe if you’re in a calm and beautiful state, you’ll be able to share that. So everyone has what works for them in prayer, journaling, meditation, yoga, walks on the beach. You know, being with your pet, whatever you find, that’s great. Just continue with it. But everything is a work in progress. The more you do work meditation, the better you become. It’s life.

Maria Marlowe: [00:31:33] So one question that I like to ask everyone that comes on the show, we know you’re the breathwork expert here, but if there’s just one tip or one piece of advice you can give our listeners for how to live a happier and healthier life, what would that be?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:31:49] Worry less, travel more. I found in my own adventures of the last decade that every time I travel, I would just gain more love for community, dance music. It was conscious travel, not just to party or to go somewhere and just, you know, a simple vacation. It would be a hike and adventure festival, healing, through travel and connection with nature. And I tell people, you know, we live in a beautiful country and live with so much abundance. But even here in Dubai, you can ground yourself, the grass, the park and the sand, connect with nature, worry less. I think worry is a silent killer. There’s no need to worry. You can meditate and do simple breathing. You can do so many different techniques of breathing and connect inside and understand that life is simple and beautiful.

Maria Marlowe: [00:32:47] I love it. Yeah, I think the worry less is probably the best thing that we can do. And it’s so interesting. I do feel like we hold worry and tension. We hold it in our body, we hold it in our face. And it’s interesting, as you do the meditation, as you do breathwork, it not only releases from your mind, but it releases from your physical body. So I feel like you look younger, you look better, you know, just just from doing this work.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:33:15] I mean, it’s easier said than done. People who are, you know, going through financial difficulty, out of a job or hit with a serious medical condition, telling them that when they’re in that state, is hard, but that’s when you need it the most. And we’re put into difficult situations and that’s when you separate people from each other. Let’s see how this person, not when everything is good and how he handles everything, it’s when everything’s a little bit off and how he handles how he or she handles it. That’s where you show your true self.

Maria Marlowe: [00:33:47] Yeah. It’s definitely easier said than done, but I feel like it is a muscle, you know, and you get better at it. The more you use it, the more that you, OK, this situation sucks, but you choose to see the glimmering, you know, the shining light in it, something, glimmer of hope in it. Well, coolness has been so fun for the people who are not in Bali or not in Dubai can’t come to one of your sessions in person? I know you also have them online at So how often are you running the breathwork sessions online? And would you say for someone doing it the first time, like, is that a great introduction to it is similar to in person?

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:34:30] Yes. It’s just this powerful online. And I remember three or four years ago and some of the trainings I took, they would say, well, I think it’s very difficult to do it online because some people can go through something and they don’t get support. And the same teacher, the founder of shamanic breathworks said times have changed and we have to change with time. Zoom is a beautiful too, I think, online. And if it even if it’s your first time into it lightly, we introduce you to beautiful session. It’s all, the details are on our Instagram page, @nafasjourneys or on our website for life. And we host it every two weeks. Our final session online is 12/12. Beautiful portal opening there. The 12/12, a nice date as well. And every other Saturday we host it. I host them in person in Bali and I’ve been lucky enough to host several sessions here in Dubai. And yeah, that’s where you can find us and connect with us. And I hope to see you online or in person soon, all of you and especially you, Maria. Just come.

Maria Marlowe: [00:35:28] Oh, it’s definitely, definitely. And I’ll link to his site and his Instagram on the show notes as well. Oh, thank you so much. This is so fun talking to you.

Walid Aboulnaga: [00:35:39] You’re amazing. Have a wonderful workout and a wonderful day.

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Podcast with Maria Marlowe


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