Healing Through The Breath

March 11, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

Most people don't think about breathing, but for Leveda Troy, breathing is the secret to living a fulfilled life.

For the past year, the 48-year-old Mount Airy woman has been practicing a technique called "transformational breath," which involves modifying breathing patterns.

Mrs. Troy says the results are nothing less than miraculous. She claims the breathing technique has given her self-confidence, healed a chronic hip problem and even helped her give up coffee.

"Transformation means change, and this type of breathing allows you to change all kinds of psychological patterns you're holding within your body," Mrs. Troy said. "The breath can really improve all kinds of stress-related things. It gives you more energy and increases your sense of well-being."

Mrs. Troy was introduced to transformational breath a year ago by a friend who experienced the technique after meeting a practitioner at an alternative healing conference in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Troy invited the breathing practitioner to give a workshop at her home and she became hooked.

"I sensed it was very powerful, and I felt all kinds of energy flowing through my body," she said.

She became so convinced of the healing powers of breathing that she took courses at the Cosmic Breath International Institute in Center Harbor, N.H.

Now Mrs. Troy is a transformational breath instructor who conducts workshops on the technique all over the country, in addition to seeing private clients. She said breathing instructors are not licensed.

Tom Goode, who founded the Cosmic Breath International Institute two years ago, says transformational breath is based on the theory that as children we held our breath as a way to avoid unpleasant emotions.

As we grow older, we react to stress and difficult situations in the same way, causing repression of these emotions, Mr. Goode says.

"Our transformational breath technique is designed to joyfully integrate these emotions that were too painful to consider when we were children," he said.

Mr. Goode became interested in breathing techniques about 17 years ago, when he was exploring alternative medicine to deal with a serious health problem. The former businessman said transformational breathing cured his health problems and led him to change career paths.

Mrs. Troy said breathing has allowed her to discover the "emotional blockages" resulting from a painful childhood experience and to release her repressed feelings.

She believes these painful memories caused her hip problems, and when the emotions were integrated, the pain disappeared.

"The breath goes to the source of the mental and emotional causes of what's going on in your life," she said.

The technique of transformational breath is based on circular breathing, or taking continuous breaths from the lower part of the stomach.

"Our society is a shallow-breathing culture because we hold our stomachs in," Mr. Goode said. "Shallow breathing creates chronic fatigue, and we literally have to teach people to repattern their breathing so the natural breath can resume."

Shallow breathing is responsible for a variety of health problems, Mr. Goode believes, from prolapsed organs to prostate cancer to trapping toxins in the body. He said transformational breath has also helped victims of abuse and people addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Mrs. Troy charges $100 for a private, 90-minute breathing session. During the session, she talks to the client about his or her concerns and teaches the techniques of circular breathing. She makes sure her clients breath properly for about an hour.

"The breath is connected; there's no pause between inhale and exhale," she said.

Frequent reactions to a transformational breathing session include crying, laughing and anger.

"You not only feel energized, you feel that you're in an altered state," Mrs. Troy said.

Mrs. Troy and Mr. Goode said a person can practice transformational breathing on his own after about two sessions.

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