Wanna get high? Breathwork is creating a buzz on the holistic wellness scene as a way of rapidly releasing stagnant “shadow material” from the Second Chakra. Practitioner Erin Telford reports…Images: Via Disco Rat on

The first time I ever experienced Breathwork was on a yoga retreat in Nicaragua. The plan was to do some Prana Yama before dinner. No big deal, I thought. We’ll do some Nadi Shodana, some meditation, nice and mellow. I had no idea what I was in for and that this practice would change my life.

We started out lying on our backs on our mats. Luke Simon, our teacher, instructed us to take a deep open mouth breath into the belly, the second into the heart space and exhale out of the mouth. No big deal. I actually thought for a minute that I might get bored! Little did I know…

After about ten minutes, the vibration in the space started to crackle and the jungle backdrop only magnified the energy that was starting to flow. You could hear the ocean waves thundering onto the beach, the wind whipping in the trees, the buzzing of the jungle and all of its creatures, and the gentle accompaniment of some beautifully channeled chants and drumming. Things were about to get wild.

Luke asked us to yell as loud as we could on the count of 3…2…1. We let it rip. Normally I would be really self-conscious being asked to scream but it was easy in a group and everyone went for it. It felt AMAZING to yell. I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that in such a neutral, safe and supported way.

Then things got really interesting – because once I opened up that channel, the tears started to flow. One of my very favorite acupuncture professors used to say, “Anger is the oil slick on an ocean of grief.” Once I roared out my heartache, a huge surge of sadness started to well up in my body. I really resisted that pain at first. I wanted to close my mouth and swallow it all back down where it came from.

But finally, I completely let myself go and gave myself the experience I truly needed. It was one of the most profound healings I’ve ever had in my life.

Luke moved fluidly around each one of us, holding a hand, stroking a head, applying an essential oil, placing the perfect vibrational crystal on each of us. When it was all over, I felt the most open and soft that I think I’ve ever felt. The breath acted like a spiritual Brillo pad and stripped away the bristly stickiness of resentments and pain. The afterglow was one of the highest natural highs I’ve ever experienced. It felt warm, intimate, loving, a little drunk feeling, and like a soul cleanse. I wanted to hug everybody!

After we shared our experiences and closed the circle, I grabbed Luke and was like, “What did we just DO and where did you learn that??” He told me he had learned this Breathwork from a man named David Elliot in L.A. I was hooked and ran to my room to see how I could get to study with David as soon as possible!

I’ve since been studying with David since May, and his classes are really like Life Training. His message is Self Love, and he teaches healthy ways to balance the exchange between giving and receiving. When we’re filling our selves up with love, the Universe can feed us and we can experience grace and miracles. When we’re seeking love from outside ourselves, it can lead to pain, suffering, aggression addiction and ultimately spiritual illness.

Here’s what you need-to-know about Breathwork before you dive in:

Know that David Elliott learned Breathwork from a healer named Tim Heath that he apprenticed with. It is a rebirthing breath technique that was popular in the 1970’s.

Know that sessions can be done privately, in a group setting, or even by phone or Skype.

Know that in a private session, you have the opportunity to go deeply into what is keeping you stuck or limited in your life. In a group session, there is usually a universal human theme that is chosen to focus on.

Know that active breathing happens for about 30-35 minutes although you will completely lose track of time and be in your own world.

Know that during this time, you may feel extreme tingling or vibrating sensations throughout your body, and that this is the sensation of spirit moving freely through your body.

Know that every experience is different for every person depending on what they are working with, where they want to go with the work and what their body and soul feels ready to release on any given day.

Know that our emotional experiences of our family, our creativity, our sexuality, all of our relationships, and any trauma live in our low belly in our Second Chakra. This is where a lot of our murkier, shadow material can hang out – shame, guilt, humiliation, things we don’t want to admit to ourselves or to others, and experiences we had before we had any coping mechanisms to process them.

Know that when we direct consistent attention to this area by infusing it again and again with our life force, things begin to shake loose. We are effectively “stirring our own pot” of a lifetime of emotional experience. We then draw this breath up to the Heart to be purified and transformed, and then exhale to let it all go.

Know that the euphoric after-glow from a Beathwork session can last for hours, or even days.



To find out more about Breathwork or book a session contact [email protected] or visit

Erin will also be hosting group sessions on:

  • September 21st at Kids at Work in Manhattan (3-5pm) email [email protected] to RSVP
  • October 17th at the House of Intuition in Los Angeles (7-9pm) Click HERE to sign up
  • October 24th at Maha Rose in Greenpoint (7:30-9:30pm) Click HERE to sign up


Can a unique form of group therapy that seeks to define your role within your family heal generations-old inherited issues? Ruby Warrington goes swimming into the energy field with Family Constellations therapy…Image: Shane Small

A few months ago, with the help of French facilitator Marine Selenee, I experienced my first Family Constellations therapy session. Held at Marine’s chic studio apartment in downtown Manhattan, there were three other women present, each of whom played a different role in my Constellation, as did I for them. Many emotions were felt, and many tears shed, and afterwards I felt a sense of release, like something generations old had been worked out of my body at a cellular level.

I was instructed not to speak about my experience for two weeks, to give my mind and body time to integrate with the deep energetic work that had been done. And so I sat with my experience and simply watched on, as every area of my existence began to assume a subtly different and more dynamic form, all thanks to a shift in perception about my family situation – and by definition, myself. If our role in our own “family constellation” is at the root of our human experience, it’s what shapes our entire reality. Right?

How does Family Constellations therapy work? Consider this. Depending on your personal belief system, we all choose our parents, choose to be born in a certain place at a certain moment in time. In doing so, we also choose the unique set of circumstances (and issues) that this configuration gifts us to work with as our karmic lesson in this lifetime.

If that’s too much of a deep dive, then think instead about the question of “nature vs. nurture.” Are we born a certain way, or do the circumstances of our upbringing shape us as we grow? Would I be a completely different person if I was born into a different family in a different time and place? Or am I simply “me,” navigating life with the tools I’ve picked up along the way?

Using Family Constellations therapy, Marine works with the latter theory, the idea being that we repeat the negative patterns we see in our parents out of “loyalty” – they’re the people who gave us life after all, our tribe. We want to be accepted, so we want to be like them. But where these patterns go against our true nature is where we get stuck, where we feel pain – and also where we’ll find the biggest assignments for our personal growth.

I defy any soul currently enjoying this human experience not to have a single issue they can’t trace back to their family (see that ancient Chinese proverb; “they f*** you up, your mom and dad”). As Marine puts it; “90 percent of your issues don’t belong to you – and you pick most of these up before the age of six.” A century of psychoanalysis and talking therapy is entrenched in this understanding, and yet Family Constellations therapy seeks to journey beyond words in search of resolutions to these fundamental glitches in our operating systems.

The key lies in performing the surgery required, the severing of our attachment to our family members’ issues, on our emotional body, before the stories our intellect tells us about who, what and why we [*insert whatever your personal debilitating hang-up is here] have a chance to get a look-in; “Once you recognise that your behaviors and beliefs are not your own, it’s possible to see your true self, your own beliefs and purpose, more clearly,” says Marine.

But how, precisely? Before you embark on a mission to meet your own Family Constellation, here’s what you Need To Know…

• Psychotherapist and former Roman Catholic priest Bert Hellinger discovered Family Constellations therapy when living with the Zulu in South Africa, where the modality was used to resolve issues within the tribe.

• A Constellation can be performed by a group or one-to-one, with a facilitator to moderate. It is the facilitator’s job to do most of the talking; participants are simply asked to notice and express how they feel as events unfold.

• The facilitator begins by asking a few questions pertaining to the issue the participant wants to address. He or she then asks the people needed to bring about a resolution to find their place (whatever position feels right in relation to each other) within “the field.”

• The field, usually the space contained within the circle of the group or the room where the Constellation is taking place, represents the energy field where all souls and all generations exist together as pure spirit.

• In a session, actual family members do not need to be present – other members of the group are called on to “perform” these roles (not nearly as awkward or potentially embarrassing as it sounds).

• This may include family members who have passed, or any unborn children who are also part of the participant’s Constellation.

• Once situated within the field, the facilitator may also ask the different “family members” to recite key phrases relating to the issue in question (without ever going into the “story” – what, why, how) – again asking people to identify the emotions connected to these statements.

• Forgiveness may be asked, and apologies offered (again via the facilitator).

• Many tears may flow.

• A resolution occurs when it becomes evident which family member owns which emotion, behaviour or belief, allowing the participant to realize their own power to simply let whatever doesn’t “belong” to them go.

To find out more about Family Constellations or book a session contact [email protected] or visit

Marine will also be hosting group sessions ($60 per person) in Brooklyn, NY, on:

July 31st (6:30pm)
August 3rd (1pm)
August 7th (6:30pm)
August 10th (11am)


Mara Hoffman S/S 13

I’ve done a lot of change-your-life-type workshops from bootcamps to spas and goddess weekends, but  something called a ‘Vision Quest’ has had the most massive and long-term effect on me. A Vision Quest is like camping-meets-Carlos Castaneda, and is the only thing that’s ever really ‘re-booted’ my life.


Agape wisdom: not all vision boards and positive thinking.
Agape wisdom: not all vision boards and positive thinking.

On a recent trip to California, I found myself at The Agape International Spiritual Center, a new thought, trans-denominational mega church in Culver City. Described as a community, a practice and an embodiment of evolving consciousness, founder, Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith envisioned it as “a movement that would take a stand for love, for peace, for being a beneficial presence on the planet”. And tonight, Agape makes its silver screen debut in Sofia Coppola’s glitzy new biopic, The Bling Ring, about the infamous group of Hollywood teens known as the “Hollywood Hills Burglers.”
Continue reading “NEED-TO-KNOW: CHURCH OF AGAPE”