Post holiday, I’m back on the hamster wheel of city life and full of good intentions. Chasing wellness, I’ve signed up to Paola’s Body Barre classes at the new KXU (kxu.co.uk) on Pavilion Road,I’ve purged my kitchen cupboards of sugar and stodge – my new fav breakfast tipple is Noble’s Himalayan Salted Cacao £29
and I’ve also got a head start on Go Sober October.
But despite these healthy adjustments I was still feeling stressed, harassed and overwhelmed by the pace of life, until that is, last week when I met a man who shook things up.
Alan Dolan, AKA the Breath Guru, is a real deal healer. Warm and reassuring, he radiates positivity, indeed just being in his company one finds one’s shoulders drop an inch or two. For most of the year Alan’s based in Lanzarote, where he runs game changing Breathing Space Retreats (breathguru.com) but he also travels monthly to the Spa at The Landmark Hotel in Marylebone to see city worn folks for a variety of stress related conditions: insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks and digestive issues.
When I arrived at his room I was tired, hungry and feeling slightly under it with deadlines. Alan got straight to the point, “Before you consider diets or exercise classes you need to consider your breath. Breath is life and when you breathe better, you live better. Our cells rely on oxygen and our breath is the vehicle to carry oxygen and energy through our entire body. We are essentially Electro magnetic beings but this energy is pulled more and more out of wack by the tech age, as most of us are running in the top half of our bodies as we are constantly over stimulated by laptops and smartphones, which creates a restless mind.” Alan explains his breathing techniques help people plug back in to their bodies and regain peace and balance in their daily lives.
Keen to try his techniques, Alan guides me through a series of breathing exercises, which focus on opening up energetic pathways with deep belly breaths in my lower abdomen while he gently triggers acupressure points around my body. The experience is quite remarkable. I feel a tremendous surge of energy, and a fizzy, tingling feeling in my calves and down my arms to my fingertips. At one point I start to feel a bit nauseous but about three minutes later when I return to a normal breath, I feel so clear headed it is as if someone has reached deep inside my befuddled brain to smooth and untangle every last jangled spiky nerve ending and neuron. Physically I feel more present and that dreadful racy feeling I’ve been carrying in my chest is gone. I feel less fragile and stronger. A sense of calm, akin to the grounding one gets after a really powerful yoga class is the takeaway, but unlike an 90 minute yoga class, these breathing exercises take just five minutes and practiced everyday at home, Alan says, will result in a more balanced and manageable me.
For someone that often runs on empty and has precious little time to myself, I am thrilled to have a new highly effective coping mechanism to ride the crazy curveballs life throws and I would encourage any frazzled soul to seek him out.
The simple power of breathing which includes a session with Alan and a one-hour spa treatment at the Landmark spa plus the use of pool and sauna facilities costs £395. Email here for more detail or click here
Alan Dolan’s top tips for slowing down
BUY – In Praise Of Slow by Carl Honore, an essential for your bedtime reading list.
LEARN – to say NO to things and create space for yourself.
USE – flight mode on your mobile phone to back up your messages which can be downloaded a couple of times a day, rather than being continually on call.
EAT – root vegetables and foods grown in the earth to help ground yourself.
AVOID – over planning your kids or your own diary – there is functionality in boredom that lets you get to know yourself.
EXERCISE in the centre of parks and green spaces, to connect with nature and avoid pollution. Don’t jog near traffic.