In this week’s episode, I sit with breathwork teacher, Erin Telford, to talk about the profound impact breathwork has on our mind and bodies. She shares how it can be used to release challenging feelings and emotions, including anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Breathwork Facilitator & Healer
Erin Telford is a Breathwork facilitator and healer, Reiki Master, and herbalist. Her work guides people to look within, open their hearts and heal their relationship with themselves. Her group sessions, trainings and retreats empower her clients to connect to their innate wisdom so that they can find the answers they are looking for. Erin has created Breathwork experiences for Free People, Soul Cycle, In goop Health NYC and Wanderlust Festival. Refinery 29 named her one of the “6 Women Who Are Redefining Wellness."
Maria Marlowe: [00:00:34] Welcome back to the Happier and Healthier Podcast. Today, we’re talking about breathwork with my guest, Erin Telford. She is a breathwork facilitator and healer, a former acupuncturist, Reiki master and herbalist. As you can tell, she has done and experienced and mastered many different healing modalities. But she’s recently shifted to focusing solely on breathwork or mainly on breathwork, because she has felt that the impacts of it are so profound. As we’ll talk about today, using your breath properly is one of the most powerful tools that you have to calm your nervous system and to heal your body. And I’m not just talking about physical healing. I’m talking about emotional and mental healing as well.
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Maria Marlowe: [00:02:30] Erin, thanks so much for being here. I would love to just start off and try to understand how you became a breathwork facilitator and why. Give us a little bit of your backstory.
Erin Telford: [00:02:43] That’s a great question to jump in with. And I’m so happy to be here with you. So I discovered breath work in 2014, and I had been a full time acupuncturist for about four years at that point in time. And I had just started to make enough money in my practice that I was able to take vacations again, like I could let go of the hustle. And now I kind of hit this sweet little spot in my practice. And so I decided to go on a retreat to Nicaragua. And this was with a yoga teacher that I loved and I’d been practicing with for a few years. And so we went, you know, it’s primarily primarily a yoga retreat, as you know, surfing different things and a lot of downtime. But one night when we were it was like right before dinner. And our teacher says to us, we’re going to do some breathwork tonight. I was like, oh, cool. You know, breath fire, alternate nostril breathing, you know, some of the basic yoga breaths that I was used to. I just thought we were going to dig into that a little bit more deeply. And so he shows us this technique, which is seemingly so simple and, you know, just a three part breath.
Erin Telford: [00:03:54] And I thought, great, cool. And you get to do it, laying down even better, you know, I can relax, do this on my back and be really, really chill, really centering. And you know, about probably about three to five minutes in, I started to feel this giant wave of sadness come through my body. And I got really confused. You know, I thought, I’m just I’m just breathing. Why do I why am I feeling all this grief coming up? Why am I feeling all this emotion? And I started to feel really get all anxious. And I might have my eyes kind of looked around. Like, what’s going on? Am I the only one feeling this? And, you know, I started to hear, you know, the person on the other side of me, they started to cry. You know, emotions were moving and opening up. The person on the other side of me started to cry and like release emotions. And I thought, OK, good, I’m not the only one. I’m not just the weird, sensitive one in the room who like having this reaction that nobody else is having.
Erin Telford: [00:04:53] And so I gave myself permission to really feel. And once I gave myself permission to have that experience and really start to let go of some of the things I was holding in my body, it became a wild ride. And, you know, the the drama, the jungle, the backdrop was so really added to it. But it was one of the most intense, beautiful, profound, deep healing experiences that I’d ever had in my life. And I’d had a lot of profound deep healing experiences before, but nothing like that one in particular. I had had my little sister had died about five years earlier. And I felt I felt her presence by my side. I felt her hand on my heart in a way where I knew it was her. I had that visitation from her. I let go of so much sadness that had been suppressed in my body that I had no way to get out. And so much rage and anger and frustration and disappointment. So this was just this I think we were only breathing for about a half an hour and then we got to rest.
Erin Telford: [00:06:03] And on the other side of this gigantic emotional release, I had the biggest heart opening excuse me, heart opening, like a heart opening like you feel when you’re on ecstasy, you know, when you’re when you’re on drugs or something like I’ve never experienced a natural high like that in my life before where I felt deep love and acceptance for myself. And just like this, magnanimous, huge, like a love for humanity, love for everybody in the group, love for teachers, love for life. I just felt so expanded and opened up. And the minute we were done, I grabbed my my friend Luke, our teacher, and I was like, what was just. How did what is this thing? You know, tell me more. Tell me more. And he said, this is David Elliot’s breath technique. And, you know, I ran back to my room.
Erin Telford: [00:06:56] We had super spotty Internet and in Nicaragua. But I ran back to my room, pulled up his website book. The first thing he had booked a retreat with him right away and was just like, I have to know more. And it was truly like the connection. And like the remembering I had to that particular technique. And that feeling was so it was familiar to me. And I thought, oh, this is the key in the lock that I’ve been looking for for the last, you know, however many years, maybe my whole life. And if I can go this far in the second one session. I want to be able to share this with other people and give them the opportunity to feel this in their bodies and their nervous systems and their spirits as well.
Maria Marlowe: [00:07:40] So, yeah, that sounds incredible. I mean, you’re making me want to go right now the way. Let’s get started right now.
Erin Telford: [00:07:48] It was wild. It was so wild.
Maria Marlowe: [00:07:51] Well, you know, you’re saying, OK, we did some breath work for 30 minutes. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people listening that are like, OK, well, I’m breathing right now. So what’s different and what exactly are you doing during a breath work session? What are you experiencing? Maybe both physically and emotionally.
Erin Telford: [00:08:11] So with this and there’s many breathwork styles that fall under the umbrella of like emotional release breathwork or trauma healing breathwork. So you’ve got hollow tropic and clarity, breathwork and rebirthing breath work and shamanic breath work and transformational breath work. And they’re all they’re all for that purpose. They all different lengths of time that you do the breath for different ways that you breathe. But the idea with all of them and I practice David Elliot’s technique specifically is to you give your brain something to do.
Erin Telford: [00:08:44] So a lot of typical breath work practices that you’re gonna do in like a yoga class or a meditation class are about grounding, centering, calming, coming within like a stilling practice, like stilling the mind, stilling the monkey mind. Calming thoughts down. And these other types of breath work practices are more like, let’s get in there. Stir the pot. Can you get some stuff out? So you’re giving your brain something to do. You’re like your brain. Do this thing while I go and do something else.
Erin Telford: [00:09:21] So you through doing through giving your brain the task of this breath pattern, you are overriding the executive function of your brain and you’re dropping into your emotional body and you’re dropping out of the mind and you’re dropping into your nervous system. So when you kind of take the logical mind, the mind that you use to like make your grocery list or update your website or, you know, plan a workshop or, you know, any of the things, any of the daily things that we do when you take that part of your brain off line. There are parts of your brain that get to speak to each other that normally don’t. So breathwork is very similar. What happens physiologically, it’s very similar to a psychedelic experience where you take that logic offline and then your brain starts to make those connections and connect those dots and you get to go very deep into your emotional body. So a lot of times people will, you know, they’ll say breathe so shallowly. You know, I don’t know how to breathe. And breathing shallowly is your body’s way of protecting you from feeling things that are challenging or not necessarily safe to feel when you’re at work or when you’re on your commute, when you’re on the subway, when you’re with people that you don’t feel totally comfortable being vulnerable with.
Erin Telford: [00:10:43] So when we breathe deeply and we breathe in, too, with with my breath, you’re breathing into your little bellies, you’re breathing into your sacral chakra, which is the home of your inner child, your sexual energy, your intuition, your creative energy, your relationship with receiving love, money, food as the house of trauma. Like there’s so much that’s in that low belly. When you breathe into it deeply, you’re starting to stir up emotions that have been pushed down and emotions that have been suppressed and memories that have been suppressed and experiences that have been suppressed. And things that happen to you that you just don’t even know what to do with or how to process. So this kind of stirs the emotional pot in that way so that you can let them come up and out to be released.
Maria Marlowe: [00:11:34] Yeah. I mean, I am a huge believer in the power of breathwork and I’ve definitely talked about it before on the podcast in various ways. And just to share a little of my own story, which I definitely have shared before. But I about two years ago when I was starting this podcast, I thought, oh, would be great if I could go to a vocal coach just to make sure that my voice sounds good for the podcast. And I was like, Oh, I’m going to go. I’m going to be great.
Maria Marlowe: [00:12:05] And she’s like, you’re breathing all wrong, you’re breathing only into your chest. And I was doing those very short, shallow breaths, which tells your body to be in a fight or fight all the time. And I was I was living in New York City and there’s cars honking and, you know, people hollering at you on the street. And just like there’s so much going on. And I feel especially as a woman. You always have your guard up. It was just my whole mood, everything changed when I had trained myself again to breathe into my stomach, which is how a baby breathes, right? If you look at a he goes up and down and then it’s just that we learned to take these shallow breaths, but it’s not serving us. And we need to kind of catch ourselves when we find ourselves breathing more shallow and just concentrating on breaths.
Maria Marlowe: [00:12:58] I know there’s a few great exercises I think I’ve seen you mentioned them on your site and things like that. Two and four breaths or something. Whatever it’s called. Can you explain what that is like for anyone who is in a stressful situation or anxious or just realizes that their breathing really shallow? What is this exercise and how will that help them reduce their anxiety in the moment?
Erin Telford: [00:13:22] So that’s the other than the breath technique that I practice and teach. That’s really the only one that I give like a tip for people. I love that you mentioned that. And yeah, living in New York, I mean, I was there for 13 years. And it’s just it’s those shallow breaths can just be a response. You know, it’s it’s just a response to the hectic-ness and the, you know, the lights and the sound and the noise and the people and all of that. So I think that. Yeah. You can find a pause if you can catch yourself in the moment when you realize how adrenalized you are or how in my personally found that living in New York was like being in a mild state of fight or flight all the time because really there’s so much going on and your body doesn’t know how to how to interpret the pace and the intensity of what’s going on around you as not dangerous. You know, our nervous systems haven’t really evolved that much to be able to give you a different signal. So with the 2 4 breathing, if you double the length of your exhale, it is an automatic signal to your body that you’re safe.
Erin Telford: [00:14:31] So, you know, sometimes when we’re really amped up and really stressed out, all we can do is inhale for two, exhale for four. But if you you can steadily increase the length of both the inhale and exhale. So once you get a little bit more calm, you can probably inhale for three, exhale for six or inhale or four, exhale for eight. But as long as you’re doubling the length of your exhale as compared to your inhale, it’s going to signal to your body that you’re actually save. You’re okay. You’re not in danger. And it will start to soften that fight or flight response. So it’s a really beautiful breath of practice. And it’s, you know, because you don’t have to. You can do it on the subway. You can do it at a meeting. You know, you can do it in a way that you can do it at Thanksgiving dinner. You know, there’s you can do it in a way that nobody else has to know that you’re doing it. So it’s a great tool to use in any situation. If you feel like you’re getting really amped up or you two need to wind yourself down or come home to yourself.
Maria Marlowe: [00:15:35] You know, I think it’s just a great technique to pull out whenever you’re feeling a little stressed or anxious. And it’s something that I use all the time now as well. So it’s just amazing how breathing can have such a calming effect on us. Yeah, it just seems so simple. And we’re like, oh, we want to buy the product or, go to a class or do whatever. But it’s like, no, all you have to do is breathe.
Erin Telford: [00:16:01] So it’s interesting because I mean, one of the things that I love about this work in particular and one of the reasons I actually did switch from offering acupuncture to primarily offering breath work is that I really love being able to connect people back to the healing properties of their own body and the power that they contain within their own body, because we’ve really gotten, you know, trained or condition in this culture to outsource our power to doctors and psychiatrists and therapists and parents and teachers and other kind of authority figures. And we’ve been conditioned to also be afraid of our own bodies. You know, a lot of people don’t even know like where their stomach is or where their liver is. Like people have you know, that’s left to the experts. That has you know, their body is not a place of like familiarity or safe spaces or home. And there’s so many reasons for that. Of course, I don’t want to say necessarily, especially as women. But, you know, you look at how there’s a lot of reasons why you don’t feel safe in your body and it could be from abuse or a body violation of some kind or, you know, a body dysmorphia or illness or a self-harm practice or feeling low energy or sick or just not liking the way that your body looks.
Erin Telford: [00:17:28] There’s many reasons why we don’t trust our body, feel at home, in our body, or feel like we have any control or say about what’s going on in our body. So I think that it is a seemingly simple practice to just breathe into your body and see how that can change things. But I think that once we can develop a more deep, friendly, loving relationship with our body, then we can really understand the power that we have to self heal and the power to change our emotional experience in the moment, to be able to be a kind witness to whatever emotions are moving through us. But it’s just not something that we’ve really been nurtured around. You know, having her body is like a home and a place of comfort and respite and understanding.
Maria Marlowe: [00:18:17] I agree 100 percent. I think we’re taught to, like you said, put our health in so many other people’s hands. And we’re just waiting for someone to tell us what to do when really we need to understand and nourish our bodies. And we really have everything that we need. Actually, there was a great quote on your site that I pulled out that I really like. You said you are already healed. You are already whole. A more loving, gentle and compassionate experience with yourself is on the other side of the breath. I just thought that was so beautiful. And it is interesting that the breath work is not just for calming anxiety and stress, but also to develop that better, more loving relationship with yourself and self-love. So I imagine a lot of people that come to you, come to you for stress and anxiety, but then end up also developing a better sense of self and self-love.
Erin Telford: [00:19:15] It’s interesting, as I would say, like I wish I could pick out the top things that people come to me for, but I wouldn’t say because, you know, if I’m accurately describing the breath, then they know that there’s. It goes beyond stress. I think stress is such an interesting word because it’s it’s a catchall term for everyone’s stress is really personal. And I think the definition is something like, you know, some type of overwhelm. Like it’s more than you can handle, whatever it is. But I find that people’s stress is made up of a lot of it goes off their core wounds. Essentially, like you may think it’s about like I don’t know if I can get the materials ready for this meeting done in time, but what’s really running underneath that is like self-worth and self-esteem and self-confidence and self doubt. It’s a lot. It usually goes a lot deeper than just like the umbrella of stress.
Erin Telford: [00:20:17] So I think I forgot the question. What was the question? What do people come to me for?
Maria Marlowe: [00:20:24] And it just commenting on how I would imagine that I would want to go to you because I’m like, oh, I need help with stress or anxious or things like that. But I feel like, you know, sometimes we don’t realize like we don’t realize we have these underlying traumas or we don’t realize that we have these underlying broken records, you know, playing in our head that are in a self sabotaging ourselves. So I feel like sometimes that kind of comes like as a happy added benefit or a happy side effect of trying to work on the stresses that we actually heal whatever the trauma is and boost our self-confidence and start to really love ourselves more.
Erin Telford: [00:21:03] Yes. So, you know, I think I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve had a lot of people that come to me. They think that they’re coming kind of maybe more at the end of their rope, like they’re in a place in their life where they’re like, I can’t go on like this anymore. So they have a certain level of self awareness around what’s hurting them and what’s holding them back. And they have some awareness of their core wounds and they have some awareness around their conditioning.
Erin Telford: [00:21:33] So beyond just dropping out of the mind and dropping into the emotional body, you’re also dropping into the nervous system. And so there are those breaths, again, that are calming, centering, relaxing down, regulating that help you land within yourself because this breath is so robust and active. It’s like it’s doing the opposite, a calming and centering. It’s like generating so much energy and generating so much movement in your body and that it’s like the breath is going into all of these pockets of like suppress pain and suppress emotion and stagnation and stuck emotional energy and like blocked emotional energy. So it’s almost like a cosmic scrub brush. It’s like reaching into all of those places and spaces where maybe you even forgot something. And it’s moving into because it is hyper arousing the nervous system in a safe space, in a sacred space.
Erin Telford: [00:22:34] You’re able to release a lot of the char that lives in your nervous system from any kind of trauma, you know, physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual. And it’s reaching into those places. So we are kind of an extended answer. But from, you know, being in our mother’s womb until age 7, we’re in a theta state. So that’s a theta brainwave state, which is similar to hypnosis. So we’re being essentially programmed we are programmed through our caregivers, our parents or grandparents school, our friends, our community, a social media, television advertising. We’re being programmed into who we think we’re supposed to be and what the world is supposed to be like. As you know, as a grown up adult, we receive a lot of messages about what’s okay about us and what isn’t. And so in that developmental stage from 0 to 7 is when we develop our shadow. So we start to receive messages about like, oh, I’m not loved and accepted and celebrated when I do this. So I’m going to stop doing that. I’m going to suppress that part of my personality. I’m going to turn that down and I’m going to really crank up and play up the parts of me that that get me love, affection, attention and appreciation. So that development that we, you know, no matter how beautiful or loving or wonderful your childhood or however horrible and traumatic and challenging your childhood was.
Erin Telford: [00:24:11] We all have that developmental conditioning. And so while someone might come in for stress and anxiety, what we’re really getting to. If people allow themselves to drop into the body, wreck, any of that stuff, we’re getting to the subconscious programming. We’re getting into the conditioning. And when you get into that framework, the amount of like freedom of expression and self ownership and ability to actually feel safe and comfortable in being exactly who you are and being that, quote unquote authentic self, you know, everyone’s being as authentic as they can be. But some people are just terrified to be actually authentic because of criticism and judgment and being mocked. So when you when you’re able to let some of this programming and conditioning go, then that’s where we get into like the real juice of the breathwork practice, because it ultimately ends up being, you know, it might be about you think it’s about anxiety and you end up being like a sovereign being, a sovereign spirit. So there’s a lot that it can do and the side benefits. The effects kind of multiply. The more you allow yourself to actually go there and feel the things you need to feel and release the things you need to release. And it’s just kind of like clearing the emotional debris and the static and the conditioning from your system so that you can come back to your essential self.
Maria Marlowe: [00:25:46] And so do you incorporate breath work in to your daily practice. And when you’re talking about really doing this breath work to release these old traumas and things like how long would that take? I know this is the question people always ask. It’s like you can go to one session and, you know, come out feeling completely differently. And is that enough or is this something that you want to incorporate into your daily practice every day?
Erin Telford: [00:26:11] So it really depends on like where you want to go with it. So for me personally, at this point, I’ll breathe as needed. But when I discovered this practice, I was at a point in my life where I’ve been doing work on myself probably since my late, late teens, like I’d been OK. I, you know, worked with depression and anxiety for probably since I was like 17, 18, 19, 14. Even so, I would get depressed periodically for. Yeah, twenty five years, something like that from 17 to 40. Twenty three years. And I wanted to not have that happen anymore. And I didn’t know how to do that. And I also didn’t think that it was actually possible because I looked around, you know, the people, my community, the people, you know, social media, whatever. I looked around to see, you know, where is everybody at? You know, what’s possible in this life? What’s possible? How good can I feel? How much pain do people carry with a legitimate amount of pain to carry in this life? And I didn’t really see people going above and beyond where I was. And I thought, OK, this is you know, I guess this is a resting place. This is just what it is to be human. You know? To anxious to get depressed of all self-doubt, to get really triggered by your family.
Erin Telford: [00:27:33] And so I began the process of regular breath work and that was, you know, sometimes it was every day for six months. Sometimes it was, you know, once a month, sometimes it was once a week. And working with my teacher and having him as a mentor. And I you know, again, 20, I think I’m missing the math. Right. Twenty three years of depression. And now I still, of course, experienced the emotion of sadness because it’s a human emotion. But I haven’t been depressed, like for years. And I don’t I don’t think that’s something that’s going to come back into my consciousness, because what I let go of through the last six years of doing breath work on a somewhat regular basis is a lifetime of tears. I let go of the storehouse of sadness and grief that was in my body. And so now I’m caught up to age forty five flight time. I let go of all of the of the hurt that was stored and suppressed. Up until now. So now it’s like when I grieve, when something happens, when I’m sad, I just feel that emotion for what it is now.
Erin Telford: [00:28:41] I don’t have the backlog of the pain that’s going to plummet me into a depression because I’ve moved that part out. And that’s not easy. That looks like bawling my head off for six years every time I do breath work. You know, it wasn’t just like one and done. But I will add that, you know, one of the most common things that people say after their first breath work session is, wow, well, that was worth months or years of therapy. So you can do. You can clear a lot out in one session and you can clear a, you know, unlimited amount if you stay with the practice. So it really depends on like your commitment, your motivation and like what you’re carrying, what your personal history is. I have a laundry list of things that were painful in my life that I needed to revisit and deal with and feel to heal. Not everybody has that. So it really depends on where you are and what you’ve experienced and how you know your dedication and how you’re willing to work and where you’re willing to go with your body and your practice.
Maria Marlowe: [00:29:51] Yeah, it’s so interesting. I’ve recently become more and more interested in grief therapy. I had a really great functional medicine doctor on here talking about autoimmune disease. And one of the key contributors to autoimmune disease besides physical issues is typically grief or some sort of childhood trauma. They’ve actually done research on this and I just find it so fascinating. And she was sharing her story of how she’s a medical doctor, had an autoimmune disease just following all the protocol and nothing was working. So she had to go a little bit more holistic to find relief. And one of the things that really, really helped her was doing a grief ritual, which I haven’t been able to find it anywhere like or where I live. But basically, she was talking about this grief, which all is something that they do and typically in African communities and it’s like a community gathering where everyone kind of just grieves and supports each other. And she said it was very therapeutic and releasing things.
Maria Marlowe: [00:30:52] And it sounds like this, that breathwork can have a similar impact. And I know even I had a great meditation teacher on the podcast also talked about meditation helps undo those years of stress and all of that that’s built up in our body. So it just sounds like another amazing tool that we can use to start releasing some of this old grief and trauma, which we do all carry with us. And I think personally, I’m just realizing like I’m over 30 now. Like, I feel like it just adds up every year when you’re in your twenties, like every day, you know, and you don’t really realize it. And then as life starts going on, you’re like, oh, my God. And you start remembering things and realizing things. And things that have happened even decades ago can still be impacting you today. So, yeah, I mean, I’m completely fascinated by breath work and interesting. And you had mentioned family, family wounds and family trauma as well. And so, yeah, I’d love for you to speak a little bit more about that, because I feel like everybody feels they have a dysfunctional family or have issues. And how has the breath work or how is that breath work helpful for that?
Erin Telford: [00:32:06] So, you know, I wanted to speak really quickly on your functional medicine doctor that you had on. So one of the things and Gabor Monte’s speaks about this a little bit too as well. If you’ve heard of him, your listeners may love him, but the emotional centers in the brain and the immune system centers, they’re in the same part of the brain. Like, we again, with our Western medicine, everything is so split up into different puzzle pieces and different specialties. So we don’t always remember that our body has a complete system and emotional suppression creates inflammation in the body. So I have absolutely found I have a healing course that’s that I do offer every year. And what I saw last year with my group was that there’s quite a few you know, many women have autoimmune presentation, some men as well. But it’s more prevalent in women, especially thyroid, you know, hypo hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s. And what I was seeing with them was that when they first started the work, all of their symptoms flared.
Erin Telford: [00:33:12] So all of their autoimmune presentations got worse when they started doing the work, because that was like a defense mechanism by their body to be like, we’re protecting you, like we’ve been protecting you from feeling all these things. We’ve been making you tired. So you don’t have to feel these things or we’ve been making you sick or inflamed. So you don’t have to feel these things. And the more that they pushed beyond their symptoms, their symptoms improved everybody’s symptoms. Everyone’s levels got better. You know, even though one woman specifically that was on Synthroid on medication for hypothyroid for like 20 years and she completely got off medication after doing breath work. So, you know, if you’re thinking about inflammation, we think about it a lot more as related to diet sometimes or to, you know. Yeah, auto immune presentations. But it can definitely be reduced through really senior emotions and really sing trauma. So I love that. And you know, breathwork in a group can be a great ritual in a way, because you have permission to wail and you have permission to let go and you have permission to do that within community. There’s a lot of breathwork groups in the work that I can point you to.
Maria Marlowe: [00:34:20] Good. I’m actually in Dubai now.
Erin Telford: [00:34:23] You’re in Dubai. Wow. I feel I know one person there, but I can’t remember them.
Maria Marlowe: [00:34:28] Well now, you know two.
Erin Telford: [00:34:31] So back to the issue about families and family trauma. You know, it’s the way that that has played out for me has been, you know, there are so many different layers of it. And, you know, I think the first layer that I found through healing of some of the wounds that I experienced in my childhood was actually just recognizing that they were real and not trying to diminish them or tell myself that I was overreacting or that I was too sensitive or that it was my problem or they didn’t really happen to really deeply and reverentially respect. Your experience of your childhood is very healing in itself. And I think that through the breath that was one one layer that I had to really give myself ownership and like a depth of compassion and tenderness towards myself for what I experienced. And then a second layer was to feel all of the pain that was associated with it. So giving myself permission to have had those experiences and to be sad and to be angry and to be able to feel all of those feelings and push them out and to feel acute rage and deep grief and to be able to push as much of that out of my body as I possibly could. And then a third layer for me was forgiveness and really being able to recognize my parents as human beings.
Erin Telford: [00:36:04] And there was a very long amount of time when I was holding them hostage for my healing process where I was essentially, you know, not saying this out loud to them, but communicating to them through my energy and my defense mechanisms and my attitude like fix it. I will not get better until you make me better. You know, I won’t get better until you apologize. I won’t get better until you behave differently. I won’t get better until you fill up the emptiness inside me. I won’t get better until you, you know, make it better for me. Make me feel better about what I experienced. And there was, you know, through being able to really deeply acknowledge my experience is valid and being able to deeply feel all the emotions that were associated with experiences I had, I was able to after that, I could finally set my parents free and acknowledge them as human beings that are works in progress that came into this world with a lot less tools than I have the benefit of having. And I was able to really forgive them and stop coming to them with that kind of energy that was demanding that they make it better for me and just begin to make it better for myself.
Erin Telford: [00:37:22] So there’s a lot that’s able to change. And I really you know, if you believe in the concept of the shamanic concept of like when we do our own healing, we’re healing seven generations forward and we’re healing seven generations back. The most profound healing that’s happened in my family is through me doing my own work on myself. And it directly affects them and it directly changes them. And they don’t need to read a single book. They don’t need to go to therapy. They don’t need to do breath work. They don’t need to go to yoga. They don’t need to do any of the things that I’m doing. But I’m a living example of what’s possible. And when I come to them with like loving, neutral energy and I’m not demanding anything from them and I’m not asking them to change. They do it anyway because they have to respond to the energy, the new energy that is coming to them with. So I think that the family, the ancestral lineage healing, the family healing that’s possible is endless. With this and the trauma that you can move through and the trauma that you can move out of and let go of what this practice is also endless.
Maria Marlowe: [00:38:36] Is there anything about breathwork that we haven’t mentioned that you really want people to know?
Erin Telford: [00:38:45] Now, I would say I think I’ll just reiterate that one of the most beautiful things about this practice is that it’s a self-healing practice. And not only can you feel yourself and really be able to palpably feel the power and the agency and the sovereignty of your own body, but it helps you. It’s a direct shot to your creativity. It’s a direct shot to your intuition. So if you want to get to know yourself better and have a deeper, more loving, tender, accepting, compassionate relationship with yourself. This is a really beautiful tool to begin having that experience.
Maria Marlowe: [00:39:33] Yeah. After this, I’m signing up right away. I want to definitely try it. You know, I again, like I’ve done that, 2-4 breath and meditation. Actually, that’s a question. Where does this fit in in terms of meditation? I know you kind of mentioned it’s like a meditation, but do you also meditate. Do you do them together or keep them separate.
Erin Telford: [00:39:54] So this would be called an active meditation technique. So you are laying on your back. But again, this is the opposite of like a seated, calming, centering, grounding type of breath. This is to get your energy moving really strongly. So this is not breath to calm down. This is breath to to stir you up and move energy in a really strong, powerful way. So I have never I mean, I definitely have had I practiced Zen Buddhist meditation for a couple of years. And, you know, I enjoy dropping into that space of grounding and quiet and stillness. But for me, I think for many people that have kind of overcharged nervous systems from trauma or from stress. You know, the thing you always hear people say is I can’t quiet my mind. I can’t get those thoughts to release. And so, you know, and and before I found breathwork, I was always like, there is no magic off button. There’s no, you know, just turning off your brain. That’s not possible. You can’t do that.
Erin Telford: [00:41:01] But what’s really interesting is that all of those intrusive thoughts and that monkey mind a lot of times, you know, sometimes those thoughts are about like what you need to make for dinner or your dry cleaning or your groceries or, you know, logistical issues of your life that are just come flooding in when you sit down. But a lot of times those intrusive thoughts that come in during meditation are all of the things that you haven’t dealt with in your life. And so when you deal with the things that you don’t want to deal with in your life that you’re not dealing with. Eventually, when you do sit down to just meditate in a calming, grounding, centering way, your brain is a lot quieter. So at this point, you know, whenever I’m in a space or with somebody where we’re dropping in a meditation, I actually my brain does turn off because there’s nothing there to jump in and try to grab me because I’ve dealt with it already.
Maria Marlowe: [00:41:54] Wow. Yeah, that totally makes sense. And pretty cool. And it’s definitely a great incentive for anyone who feels that they can’t meditate because of that to definitely try breath work and see how that can can actually quiet the mind.
Erin Telford: [00:42:08] Yeah, it’s great, because if your mind is really active, if you let your body be really active and your breath be really active, then your mind can begin to go off line. So for people that have an overcharge, nervous system or who are overly stressed, they can put that energy into the gas tank of their breath and make their breaths even more robust and even more active. And then it’ll take the mind offline fairly quickly.
Maria Marlowe: [00:42:38] Yeah, that’s incredible. The human body is really incredible. And if we know how to use it, you know, I think we probably knew these things right. Hundreds of years ago, but we had just forgotten them over time. So anyway. Yeah, it’s great to be reintroduced to them. So this has been very insightful. I have learned a ton and I’m very excited to start breathwork. But before I let you go, one question that I like to ask all my guests. Is there one tip you can leave our listeners with? To live a happier and healthier life?
Erin Telford: [00:43:17] You know, it may be very tepid right now and I think this is very relevant to the swirl of anxiety and uncertainty that’s happening in our world right now is if you can do it, if it’s cold where you are, you can bundle up. But if you’re someplace warm, putting your feet on the earth, putting your bare feet on the earth is one of the most beautiful ways to offload anxiety, EMFs, or worry, nervousness, anxiety. I might have said that twice, but if you connect your bare feet to the dirt to the earth and connect with the resonance of the Earth’s heartbeat, it is one of the most calming, grounding, relaxing, meditative things you can do. So if you can just go outside and do that for ten minutes, leave your phone indoors, let yourself just be in nature and connect to the greatest space holder in the world. Then that’s going to do a lot for your mental and emotional health to just have some quiet space and and ground ground and connect with the earth and with nature. It’s very, very powerful. And it’s amazing for your body and for your mind and for your heart.
Maria Marlowe: [00:44:39] I love that. Yes. I’m a big, huge fan of just being in nature, walking in nature, doing nothing in nature. Basically just sitting there. You don’t even do anything. Actually, you could just sit there. Yeah.
Erin Telford: [00:44:53] The connection with the bare feet to the dirt is the important part because then you really offload a lot of charge in your body.
Maria Marlowe: [00:45:00] Yeah, that’s called earthing, correct?
Erin Telford: [00:45:03] Yes. Yeah.
Maria Marlowe: [00:45:05] So that’s a great practice. I’ve been seeing that popping up in my newsfeed as well because everyone’s so anxious about this corona virus. And that’s something people don’t think of that can help just boost the immune system and help relieve some stress. Yes. Well, thank you so much, Erin. And if you guys want more from Erin, you can check out her website. It’s erintelford.com and I will link to that in the show notes.
Maria Marlowe: [00:45:33] Thanks so much for being here.
Erin Telford: [00:45:35] Thank you so much for having me.