Habits & Health episode 46 with Tara Bianca. She has been a holistic health practitioner for almost 20 years and is the owner of BE Light Transformative Therapy, an online holistic health company specialising in therapeutic bodywork, breathwork, mindset and sound healing.
Her focus is on educating and coaching people to change the quality of their breathing, in order to improve the quality of their lives. She is passionate about building a global community that is dedicated to achieving optimal health and wellness.
Topoics discussed include: Mindset, breathwork, the oxygen advantage, Patrick McKeown, New York, Holotropic breathing, nasal breathing, posture, self-awareness, self-esteem, nervous system…
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This video is related to an older episode featuring Miriam Trahan
habits and health episode 46. Welcome to the habits and health podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. Here's your host, Tony Winyard.
Tony Winyard 0:20
Welcome to another edition of the podcast where we give you ideas and habits for things, ways that you can improve your health. My guest today, Tara Bianca, she's been a holistic health practitioner for almost 20 years. She's the owner of be light transformative therapy are now fully online, holistic health company which specialises in therapeutic body work, breath, work, mindset and sound healing. And her primary focus these days is on educating and coaching people to change the quality of their breathing in order to powerfully improve the quality of their lives. And she's passionate about building a global community that is dedicated to achieving optimal health and wellness for people and for the planet as holistically as possible. So that's coming up very soon. With Tara Bianca. If you know anyone who would get some real value from somebody's information, Sally shares around breathwork and relaxation, so I'm pleased to share this episode with them. habits and health. My guest today. Tara Bianca, how are you, Tara?
Tara Bianca 1:21
I'm doing really well, Tony, how are you?
Tony Winyard 1:23
I'm very good. And whereabouts in the world are you?
Tara Bianca 1:26
I'm located in the New York City area.
Tony Winyard 1:28
And are you a native New Yorker.
Tara Bianca 1:30
I am a native Connecticut person. So Connecticut is the state next to New York. But I've been in New York for 23 years since I was 18 years old. And that's where I went to university. That's what I've called home for all of my adult life. That's where I've established my, my practice my business, my everything, all of my passions have always been in New York.
Tony Winyard 1:49
So you love New York.
Tara Bianca 1:55
Well, you know, I actually would say at this age in my life, I have a little bit of a love hate relationship with New York. And I think if you really talk to New Yorkers, or people who've been in New York for an extensive period of time, over a decade over two decades, there's a real like, oh, the city drives me crazy some days, but I also can't leave it, you know, like, you just can't leave it. So yeah, there's beautiful things about New York, it can be a very challenging place to live. But it also has some some real magic to it.
Tony Winyard 2:23
I don't know New York so well. I ran the New York Marathon in 2000.
Tara Bianca 2:26
Wow, great. How did you do?
Tony Winyard 2:27
So I got to explore a lot of New York.
Tara Bianca 2:36
Probably more than me, actually. Even to every borough. Amazing.
Tony Winyard 2:41
yeah. That was pretty cool. So you touched upon business just now. We were talking before we started recording, I love some of the marketing you do, your presence on YouTube, and so on. So can you tell us for people listening who maybe aren't so familiar with you, what is it you do? And how did you get into that?
Tara Bianca 3:04
Okay, it's sort of a long story. So I tried to classify myself as a holistic health practitioner. I got into Holistic Health, officially as a career around the age of 25. So it would have been around 2005. And how it started the segue in the bridge in was through massage therapy. So I was first a licenced massage therapist and a certified personal trainer. I was really interested in manual therapy and movement therapy. And my specialty has always been kind of anatomy and physiology really like like concrete, sciency stuff, I've always loved that. My background before that is I was a dancer and a gymnast. So I've always been in this really is a cool sort of experience of life. And so I started my own practice pretty early on in my career, and just seeing private clients. Really working one on one with people, and really taking a perspective of functional movement. And also, manual therapy really focused on rehabilitation, pain reduction, again, creating functionality in people's lives more than just relaxation, right? More than just the luxurious massage. When people came to me, it's like, okay, you're gonna do a little work here, too. Right? So it definitely was more that type of therapist. And I had my own private practice in New York for about 16 years. Right. So it's been a long time. And then in 2020, you know, I had been incorporating a lot of different things. I have a lot of different modalities under my belt, and I had luckily started to be introducing some therapeutic breathwork and a lot of sound healing actually into my practice, but I'd say my bread and butter was still mostly manual therapy, therapeutic bodywork osteopathic techniques. And then in 2020, when New York first went into lockdown, I just lost the whole thing. You know, I was out of business. So that was scary. But the amazing part of it, Tony is that even though it was a disaster, and a catastrophe, and something I had even felt like an impending doom around for a few years, like, Wow, all my eggs are in one basket here, this could potentially be a disaster one day, I really felt blessed in that moment, I had kind of been looking to shift to pivot my business anyway, I was looking for that change. And it was so clear, I mean, like a brick to the face, like obvious, like, this is the time to make the shift. Sorry, let's do it, you know.
And so now, in the last year and a half, two years, I've been rebuilding from scratch, a completely different business model everything fully online, and mostly focusing on therapeutic breathwork. Now, so I'm really doing mostly breath work with people. And for now, anyway, I've kind of abandoned the manual therapy. I'm doing a lot of private coaching, group coaching, creating online courses for people, an online community for people a membership site, and the YouTube channel that I run is really a huge part of that, you know, a critical component to my ideology, as someone who wants to be of service to the world, and also really empower people to take their health into their own hands, is to offer free tools, right is to offer this free education. Because I know what it feels like to be in a position of dealing with chronic health issues, chronic pain, not having any money, not knowing who to turn to not having a community that surrounds you that has that mindset of holistic health, or that really takes into consideration lifestyle choices, or environmental constraints, and how that impacts us as human beings. And so a huge part of my YouTube channel is slowly but surely, disseminating this wisdom that I have. And it's definitely not everything, I don't know everything. But what it allows me to do is, share what I know, and also really open up a productive and beautiful dialogue. That community that I'm creating on YouTube is so unbelievably powerful, I actually get tears in my eyes. Sometimes when I read through the comments, it's very powerful, you know, as the creator, you don't always know how it's going to hit the audience, right? But what I find is, I just put all of my integrity, all of my intention into these videos. And sometimes it could be a simple five minute breathing hacker something right, a breathing tip, something so simple, that I teach people every day that I do every day, don't even think twice about it. But you'll get the most beautiful, profound comments that from someone across the globe, who you would have never had an opportunity to meet. Otherwise, who is just like, thank you so much. This was exactly what I needed to learn today. This changed my entire perspective on creating, I already feel the health benefits. I've been practising this for two weeks, my heart rate has completely slowed down. I'm not feeling the stress and anxiety that I used to be feeling. And so that, to me is really magical. And I really just applaud users who come on to this public forum. I mean, YouTube is like the most public place, open scrutiny open criticism, you know, people are that is anonymously leaving comments willy nilly. And I just applaud people for allowing themselves to be exposed and to put themselves in a place of vulnerability in the hopes of achieving better health. It's a really beautiful thing to see people on the search, and really having the courage and the tenacity to take it on to really like seek out these practices to really be diligent about implementing them in their lives, so that they can feel the positive effects. So that has been such a blessing this year. I've got really lucky with my YouTube channel, one video just happened to explode. It's not the video I would have chosen to have explode that way. But you can't always have everything go exactly as you imagined in your mind, I suppose. So I'm just so grateful that it has gotten the exposure that it has had because it really allows me to start living up this dream of creating an online holistic health network that is globally interactive, globally, inviting, very inclusive, and going toward the future. Now I really see pulling together experts from really all over the world teaching in multiple languages, continuing this concept of integrative health, everything from the most scientific evidence based protocols, to the really sort of spiritual, more esoteric experiences and philosophies and bringing them together from all these different backgrounds and cultural traditions, and really giving people a concrete package of wow, I can do this on my own. I have all the tools right here. If I can. If I can just take control of my own health. I know that I can make the difference and look at there's this beautiful network that is here to support me. You know, that would be my biggest dream At this point, and I think it would be a wonderful service to offer society. So that's where I'm headed. I'm laughing because I'm like, God, it's a big dream. But it really does feel like it's becoming more and more concrete every day. And I just feel so blessed for the opportunity that has fallen into my lap this year. You know, it really allowed me to take a very potentially negative, disruptive, detrimental experience and really flip it on its head and actually get me closer to what I've always imagined for my business than ever before.
Tony Winyard 10:32
What was it that made you look at breathwork in the first place?
Tara Bianca 10:37
That's a good question. You know, so my personal health issues, right, my personal health journey started when I was about 15, or 16 years old, I started to have a lot of digestive stuff happening, right, which is an epidemic at this point, right? It's everywhere, everyone is having gut microbial issues. But back then, which would have been I don't know, 26 years ago, nobody knew what was going on. We weren't talking about the microbiome like this. We weren't talking about probiotics like this, like there was no information and doctors really had no idea what to do with me, you know. So it's been a real struggle. And that really is the thing that drove me towards holistic health. It started more as food healing, right. And part of the digestive stuff. I know, you know, this too Tony, because you're a breath coach. And you also know so many things about health. But a huge part of the digestive stuff is also what's going on with your emotions, what's going on with your nervous system. And by proxy, what's happening with your breathing, right. So I think, to segue into breathing a little bit, you know, when you take a look at our respiratory diaphragm, right, that big dome shaped muscle that bisects the torso, it serves so many functions. It's not just helping you to breathe, but it's also massaging the organs, right? It's assisting with digestion. It's moving limps throughout the entire body, it's assisting with blood flow with venous return to the heart, with calming the nervous system with really allowing you to hack into the autonomic nervous system, and have, again, more choice in how you are responding to different environments. So I was really slow to finally get to the tools and the knowledge, but I always was seeking from a young kid, based on how am I going to heal this issue, because everyone thinks I'm crazy. You know, for a lot of us, the good stuff is a little bit like an autoimmune disorder. So and back in the day, in particular, before autoimmune disease became this, you know, global phenomenon. There just really wasn't the information and it was very disparaging and very
sort of demoralising to never have anyone in the medical health profession be able to understand you. And so that is really what forced me to constantly be looking for my own way, my own path, because when you're experiencing it, you know that there's another way, whatever the mainstream prescription is, is not working. And then I was a dancer, a gymnast, like I said, always into the physical. My father had me in the gym as a young kid weightlifting, doing a lot of fitness stuff. And then, as I started to do my massage therapy career, part of the curriculum was traditional Chinese medicine. So we were doing a lot with learning about herbs, learning about this more Eastern philosophy, quote, unquote, right. And we were doing a lot of Qi Gong and Tai Chi as part of our practice, we were doing shiatsu and more like Eastern bodywork. And it was the first time that I really had exposure to this different philosophy, this different construct of how you see the human body and how it interacts directly with the world around to this sort of synergistic symbiotic relationship with the natural world. And really, from an Eastern philosophy, either Chinese medicine or Ayervedic medicine or Tibetan Medicine, the human is a part of the bigger circle of life, right? And how the stars are moving and how the oceans are moving and how the crops are growing and what the weather's like, and how your sleep is such an integral part of how you experience the world and how your health is responding. So understanding that was really a huge piece. And as I started to experiment more with Qi Gong and Tai Chi and yoga practices, all of my teachers kept saying, talking about the breath, right? There's always this reference to the breath. And I feel like in Qi Gong and yoga, when you get a good teacher, they'll even say, Let the breath lead the movement. Like the breath is the initiator. It's the primary it's the foundational it's what everything off is built off of what everything else is built off of. And, and so it kept being fed to me that information about okay focus on the breath, got it focus on the breath, but it was sort of superficial If I didn't have a strong why, I didn't have a strong how, it was just like words in my ear and sort of a peripheral understanding that breathing is important. And then as I continued on my manual therapy career and doing more advanced techniques and osteopathic techniques, we put a lot of focus into the different diaphragms of the body. So we don't think of it as just being the one respiratory diaphragm, we see multiple diaphragms throughout the body that work in conjunction with each other to help manage pressure, for example, stabilise your spine, pump fluids around all these different things. And so as I got there, I was doing a lot of manual therapy on people's diaphragms working on the rib cages working on mobilising their breath, getting their breath to improve. But I still felt like I was a little bit flying blind, you know, like, I had a lot of great cues, and we'd get good results or we get good movement. But I still didn't feel like very strong about what I was doing. I know even as a coach and a trainer and a therapist, I would cue people's breath just to get them breathing. But I didn't really know why was cueing it the way I was, you know. And so it took until about, I think maybe like five or six years ago is when I first took my formal, completely devoted to breathing course. Because I finally found the teacher that I was like, Okay, this sounds interesting. Now, the crazy part is I started into the breath via a more spiritual route, honestly. So there's a woman whose coursework I decided to follow, she's much more focused on mindset, sort of reframing old emotional wounds, liberating old emotional wounds, and really helping people to
shift their self limiting beliefs and their self sabotaging behaviour. And that really resonated with me at the time that I found her particular style of breathwork because I had been going through a massive mindset transition myself. And so that was my first bridge into a formal breathing practice, it was much more esoteric, for sure, it was a hyperventilating technique. So Tony, you'll probably know what that means. But, for your listeners, if you don't know what that means. Typically, hyperventilated techniques are more focused on creating a slight stress response in the body. Just like when you go to the gym, and you do exercise, you're creating the slight stress response in the body in the hopes of making a positive adaptation in the hopes of creating positive change afterwards, right, exposing your body to something different, just to create that shift, whether it be mental, emotional, physiological, spiritual. And so I was doing that work for several years, and I was guiding my clients through it in my private practice as well. But then, when we went online, I realised that work does not work well, the this online forum, and I felt actually a little bit negligent as a practitioner, because when you are encouraging someone to release something emotionally, or mentally or psychologically, and you can't hold that space container for them, it's a little bit irresponsible, as a therapist, I feel, for myself, and so not being able to hold that safe container for people online really caused me to start to look for other options. And that's when I really went back to my roots of like, pure anatomy and physiology, pure biomechanics, like let's get back to the more scientifically founded stuff, and see what we can find. And that's when I really stumbled across the Oxygen Advantage. I had read the book, and I loved the work, but I didn't even realise it was something I could get trained in, you know, it was just kind of like practising it and, and teaching what I could where I could. And so I was so grateful to find that work. And Patrick McKeown, the, the creator of the oxygen advantage is he's such a generous, compassionate teacher, he's so passionate about breathing. I've met very few people as passionate about breathing as Patrick is. And I feel like he is very much about getting as many people on board with this messaging and this philosophy, and really encouraging people to go out there and try to change the world with breathing. So I feel very blessed to have that work. Now, I feel very blessed to have that community. And I'm really getting powerful, powerful results with clients, with my groups and with my private people, because now I have a much more profound understanding of the why, right? I'm not flying blind anymore. It's much easier for me to now look at someone listen to their health history, listen to what's going on in their mental and emotional spaces, and customise the work much more to their needs, which is critical for any type of therapy, right? You always need to customise there's no cookie cutter. Everyone experiences every tool differently. So that's how I got into breathing. It really came out of my own needs looking for something for this digestive stuff, which is also tied in with social anxiety, feelings of not being good enough low self worth all those things. Some tool that is totally free, totally accessible. with me all the time, and that I can choose to use or not to mitigate my symptoms and potentially even, "cure myself", right. And so having that much experience with the breath now has really helped me again to create sort of a broad spectrum of who I can work with, and how I can personalise that work to their specific needs.
Tony Winyard 20:23
What type of clients do you tend to work with? What issues do they have?
Tara Bianca 20:29
It's a good question. You know, I think when I started doing some of the Oxygen Advantage work, I had it in my mind that I want to work more with an athletic population again. But that's not who resonates with me. So the people who come to me, tend to be slightly older, middle aged to older, a lot of anxiety, a lot of subtle panic disorder, a lot of fear. I think I'm attracting the people that I was right, like, you attract what you have already been able to transform, or that you are maybe still transforming. And I am still on my own journey, right? You're always kind of peeling the layers of the onion, and just adding and, and transforming as you go and evolving as you go. And I really am finding that I'm loving working with that population of more nervous system conditioning, you know, that's what I'm really focused on with people much more than the performance aspect. Now, it's much more how are we going to nourish your nervous system? What tools can we give you so that you feel like you have control to hack into your nervous system to create powerful shifts that help you to shift your perception of the world around you to help shift your perceptions of if you feel safer not to help you shift your perception of if you feel anxious or not, to help you shift if you can be open and exposed to the world, or if you have to run in hide? Right? So it's what I find so powerful about it is, I feel like the dialogue around stress and anxiety and panic disorder has always been sort of in that mental psychological category. And that's okay. And I think there's a lot of utility to sort of more traditional psycho therapies. But I'm loving that we're finally having a conversation about the physiological aspects of anxiety, what is happening in the physiology of your body that is driving you to have these anxious thoughts and these anxious feelings. You know, I think it's such a critical part of the conversation. And again, on my YouTube channel, it's sort of like open call of anecdotal evidence. Anyone who wants to share anything is welcome to share. And I can't tell you how many people have come on, who have been practising either oxygen advantage or blue taiko clinic or taiko method, breath strategies for a significant period of time. And they are just preaching, I was anxious my whole life, I had a stuttering problem, I had massive social anxiety, it couldn't get into a relationship with someone, I changed my breathing, it changed my entire life. You know, I've tried all these therapies, they never worked, I changed my breathing, it changed my life, you know. And so, like, I don't even have to do the advertising people like that preach for you, you know. And when you feel it in your own body, you just know it's real. There's such a huge physiological component to everything we experience emotionally, or mentally. And so the breathing really allows us to address that physiological aspect. I feel like breathing is so primary. It's so foundational. It's the thing that we do more during the day than anything else that we do. We probably take what 20,000 breaths a day or something like that. And yeah, it's the thing that we totally take for granted. Right? And, and if you think of it in that way, it's so much more important than anything that you're eating anything that you're drinking, because you can't live for more than a few minutes without it. You know, Tony, you and I are sitting here now having this conversation. And it's like, what differentiates us from someone who we would classify as no longer living, it's this breath, it's this ability to have gas exchange and to communicate in this way using air, right? This is our whole communication system is blowing air through the vocal cords and shaping it, right. So the breath is so powerful. And yet we just totally take it for granted. And I think it's because it happens automatically. And we don't have to consciously control it. And so we can get maybe a little lazy or complacent about it. But it's so nice to know that if you want it to you can tap into it. And when you tap into it, you can make huge changes. I forget where I was going with that statement because I forget the original question, but I hope that that answered something.
Tony Winyard 24:44
And going on from what was what you just said, there. It's got me it made me think about I think the thing about breath is no one thinks that they're breathing wrong. Well, there are some people but the majority of people don't even contemplate that they could be Breathing wrong. Whereas we both know that the amount of dysfunctional breathing is immense, but most people have no idea that there is even a possibility that they could improve their breathing?
Tara Bianca 25:12
100%. I mean, but this goes with everything. I mean, there's plenty of people out there who also are eating garbage every day would never contemplate changing their diet, you know, I think it depends on what were you exposed to as a kid? And has your health challenge gotten bad enough that you're ready to look deeper and make the changes, you know, people never really can take fully take in the information until they're ready to? And so what is it that's happening in your life that's finally going to make you ready to receive that messaging and to implement the changes? You know, because I can, I've got plenty of people in my family and in my life, who could change their breathing, they're not going to hear it from me, like, it just doesn't register. Like it only registers when you are ready. And Tony, I'm sure you can relate to that in your own life experience. I know that I can, too, right? Like, the information is here. It's here, it's there. It's there. It's everywhere. But it's like you're completely your blinders are on, it's completely irrelevant to you until one day becomes very relevant. And now it's like, okay, now I'm ready to listen, what were you saying? 10 years ago? I'm ready.
Tony Winyard 26:18
What would you say to maybe someone listening to this What signs could they look forward to pick up that maybe they do have dysfunctional breathing? Or their breathing could be improved in some way?
Tara Bianca 26:31
I think that's a great question. And I think it is the most important question to ask when you ever you're trying to change any habit or implement any new habit in your life is that you always have to start with awareness. Right? If the awareness is that is not there, there's no impetus to change and the change can't happen. So even while your listeners are listening, I mean, you can start to scan through your body, there's some really obvious things that we can look for. And then there's more subtle things, but the most obvious are right now you're sitting here, you're listening to this podcast? Is your mouth hanging open, or your lips gently closed? That's number one. Are you breathing through your nose? Or are you breathing through your mouth? And while we're talking about the mouth? Is your jaw clenched? Do you feel like your teeth are grinding together? Do you feel a lot of tension in the jaw? Or do you feel like there's a little space between your teeth and your jaws relaxed? We talk a lot about oral posture in the breathing community. And so I would also invite you while you're listening to to take a look at what is your tongue doing in your mouth right now? Is that hanging on the floor of your mouth? Is your tongue making contact with the roof of your mouth? Is it making gentle contact? Or is it really pressed up there? Like a suction cup? And then the next things that I would say are what is your breathing sound like right now? Is it quiet? Or is it audible? What is the tempo? Is that fast? Or is it slow? And what is the depth? Do you feel like your breathing is incredibly shallow right now, or do feel like it's coming fully deeply into your body. And so some of the ways that you can really feel your breath, some of the places that you can feel it, if you're seated, I always invite people to bring their hands to their lower ribs, one hand on either side of the lowest ribs with a little bit of gentle inward pressure. So you're offering a little bit of resistance with your palms to the lowest ribs. And as you inhale slowly and gently through your nose. Can you feel like your ribs are pushing your hands out to the sides? And as you exhale? Can you feel like your hands are gently pushing your ribs back towards midline. And so what is this giving us information on in terms of the the torso, this is how much is your diaphragm fully activating, are you able to really get your ribs to move on your inhale and your exhale. And if you're to if you were to lie on your back, also, you might monitor your breath at your belly, maybe that space between your navel and your ribs. So if anyone listening is lying on their back right now, you could place one or both hands on the belly. And as you take your inhale through your nose, do you feel your belly gently pushing your hand up towards the ceiling. And as you exhale, do you feel your hand gently guiding your belly back towards the Earth. So you know breathing is really this full body experience. We have these conducting tubes that go from the tip of the nose all the way to the middle of the torso. And so there's a lot of places and a lot of surrounding musculature that gets involved with your with your practice of breathing with your mechanics of breathing. And that also can inhibit your breathing or create more dysfunctional breathing. So that's sort of the starting list of breath awareness, right. It's a lot of little things that think about and what typically happens is when you start to just even do that much with a client. I'll always give them breath awareness as homework the first week that I work with them while you're sitting at your computer just once in a while drop in Split your attention and notice what your breath is doing. Notice what your mouth is doing. Notice what your belly and ribcage is doing. And they'll come back to me the next week and say, oh my god, like, I really noticed that when this is happening in my life, I'm holding my breath. Right? So how many people aren't aren't even breathing during but
how many of us find that totally stressful email or that, you know, we're stuck in our heads thinking about this conversation or this argument that happened. And we're trying to relive the past and and rework the situation until it's until it's more pleasing to us. And we just hold our breath, because we're so caught up in the mental, the mental chatter, the mental aspect of being. So that is so huge in terms of scanning through the body, but then also, can you bring your breath awareness into every activity that you're doing? So while you're sitting at your computer working? Can you once in a while drop in while you're cooking dinner, while you're vacuuming the house? While you're interacting with your kids or your loved ones are with your colleagues? While you're interacting? Can you be aware of what your breathing is doing? And while you're doing things like interacting with others, is there ever a time where you notice your breathing is changing? Is it getting more shallow? Is it getting more fast? And if so, why is that happening? There's something about this interaction with this person make you more anxious, making more stressful? Do you feel unsafe around this person and starting to connect the dots between your your mental perception, your emotional centre, how your body is opening or recoiling to the things around you, and this basic physiological function of breathing, because it's all comes down to eventually nervous system conditioning, right? So when I'm training my, my clients now, I always remind them, okay, guys, we're gonna be doing this breath practice. But what I'm really doing with you here is nervous system conditioning. And sometimes some of the techniques that I teach are more designed to elicit more of a stress response, like we mentioned earlier, but then most of them are really designed to down regulate, get people into true relaxation, true rest and recovery. But since so many of us struggle to get there on the day to day, we tend to be stuck in this heightened stress, or we tend to be stuck in this heightened stress response. Sometimes it's nice to meet the nervous system where it's at before you ask it to do something else. So when I'm training people in, say, a 45 minute breath session, or something like that, will take the nervous system up and down and up and down, and up and down. Okay, we're going to put it into optimal stress. Okay, and now, can you get control of your breathing immediately? Can you send the signal to your brain that you're safe, that you're secure, that it's okay to relax, that there's nothing chasing you that your life is not being threatened right now? Can you get into that slow the nasal breathing right away. And so in taking it through these different levels, it's just conditioning, it's conditioning, its conditioning, and then eventually, hopefully, when you encounter that major stressor in your life, that major stressor in your environment, now, you've been practising in a safe space. Now, hopefully, you remember, okay, that was stressful, but I have tools now to get myself back into a place of safety, to calm my mind to calm my body to calm my nervous system. I can shake it off. You know, if you watch animals in the wild, especially like prey animals. You know, once the chase is over, if they escaped with their life, you see them shake it off, literally, right? They shake it off, and now okay, I'm gonna go back to nibbling on the grass, right? Like, everything's good. Now, I'm fine, you know, and now I'm gonna go back to eating and I'm calm, and I can digest and assimilate my food. And that thing is in the past, it's behind me. I don't even recognise it anymore. But humans, we love to take the past with us, right? We're on this.
Tony Winyard 33:41
And we think we're the intelligence species!
Tara Bianca 33:48
Yeah, so it's really nervous system conditioning. That's what I find myself kind of preaching the most lately. And because it seems to be the most valuable to a global audience, you know, all of us are going through that. We're just modern humans just stick themselves in this mental preoccupation with everything from the past, the present the future. And we are all stuck in this heightened stress response, just so many stimuli coming at us all the time, bombarding our sensory organs, and not really having the tools to turn it off, to down regulate, to go into total rest and recovery mode. So we really have to practice true rest and true relaxation, otherwise, we're not gonna be able to do it.
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Tony Winyard 34:53
People you're working with, when they initially come to you, Are they aware that a A lot of what you're going to help them with is going to be around the breath, or do they come with you with a specific issue, and they're not quite sure how you're going to help them? And maybe they get surprised by how doing something as simple as adjusting their breathing helps their issue?
Tara Bianca 35:14
That's a really good question. So back in the day, when I had my private in person practice, and I was more manual therapy based, then the breathing would have been more of a surprise, right. But now I really market myself primarily as a breathing coach. So people are coming, because they are in the position I was in years ago, where they know breathing is important, but they have no information about why or how to change it, what makes it dysfunctional versus functional, and they're looking for tools. So I find a lot of people are coming to me with a very open mind, because they don't know what to expect, actually. And, and overwhelmingly, they are floored very quickly, because the breathing just cuts to the point immediately, and you can get very quick results. You know, it's not years of therapy, this is I'm going to give you the tools. And now you just have to practice them every day and you've got it. And they just get it right away. Well, if they're going to get it, they get it. If they don't want to get it, they're not going to get it. But when they get it, they get it. And they want to implement it into their day because they feel so much better. And because they feel the shift. And it could be subtle things. Oh, I'm sleeping so much better. I'm waking up with so much more energy. Oh, and by the way, my low back pain is gone, or my digestion is better, or whatever it is. Because our nervous system impacts everything that happens to us during the day, emotionally, physically and mentally.
Tony Winyard 36:40
We've mentioned a couple of times about dysfunctional breathing, I think maybe we need to define it because there's probably some people thinking, what is dysfunctional breathing? How would you define that?
Tara Bianca 36:51
That's a really good question. So I usually give people a list of things to look for that could be making their breathing dysfunctional. So I mean, oxygen advantage instructors, we're really team nasal breathing all day as much as possible during exercise during sleep. So from our perspective, anyway, we will say that mouth breathing is completely dysfunctional, and has very potentially detrimental effects to the body and to the health long term. So mouth breathing, number one, especially at rest, and especially during sleep, if your mouth is hanging open during the day or during sleep. That's rule number one, we got to work to get the lips closed and get you breathing back through your nose. This functional breathing is also in the mechanics of the ribcage and the diaphragm. Right? So are you able to get the breath all the way in and get expansion in the lower ribs or in the belly? Or when you put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly? Do you only feel breath coming into the upper chest? Right? So what is the difference? If the breath is coming into the upper chest primarily, or mostly, you're always going to get some movement in the diaphragm. But let's say you're primarily an upper chest breather, you're using so many what we call accessory muscles to breathing. Right, so your primary muscle of respiration is your thoracic diaphragm. That's the big dome shaped muscle in the middle of your body along with the intercostals between the ribs, okay. But if you but you do have other muscles that assist with expanding the ribs in case you need them, this is doing intense bouts of exercise or things like this so that you can get more movement through the lungs and more air into the body if you need to. But if you're at totally at rest, and you're breathing, upper chest and using the small muscles of your neck and your your pecs your upper chest muscles to get the breath in, it's not only completely inefficient, you're not pulling oxygen into where you need to the alveoli are not being optimised for gas exchange. So you're sacrificing your oxygen uptake and delivery. But also, evolutionarily, if you are breathing, upper chest using those small muscles, that sends a signal to your brain that you're running from something or that you're very sick, right? So it is it's intrinsically inextricably linked to your sympathetic response. That is your fight or flight response. Whether you are running and sick, or whether you're just sitting at rest and your breathing is dysfunctional. Your body doesn't know the difference. It just feels like oh, she's breathing upper chest, she's using those accessory muscles, something must be wrong. I'm either running for my life, or I'm fighting off an infection something is up. So if you're a quote unquote healthy person, and you're breathing at rest, and you're breathing with those muscles, instead, your your nervous system is getting the signal up stress stress response fight or flight response. It's going to keep you stuck in this continual stress response until you fix that. So that's dysfunctional breathing. And then the the depth of it then is part of it. Right? So I guess that we just covered the depth. So the speed of it is going to be the other thing right? Are you breathing fast? Are you breathing slow? So we would like the resting respiratory rate to be about maybe 10 to 14 breaths per minute And I think a lot of adults are breathing much faster than that, unfortunately. And so we start to call that hyperventilation. And so now what happens when you're hyperventilating chronically, is that you're blowing off a lot of co2. And now this balance of blood gases in the body is really critical for how oxygen gets delivered around the body, particularly to the organs like the heart and the brain, which the body is going to prioritise at all costs. So if you're, if you're allowing your co2 levels to elevate just a little bit in your body, this sparks something that we call the bore effects, right. So as the co2 in the blood starts to elevate, it sends a signal to your red blood cells. And it allows the oxygen to actually leave the red blood cells so that it has a chance to enter the more peripheral tissues, the origins, and then places like the brain and the heart. Now, when you are not able to allow that co2 to elevate, which happens during hyperventilation, during hyperventilation, you're blowing off a lot more co2 than you need to be doing. Your co2 levels drop low. And now instead of the oxygen, leaving the red blood cells to go nourish your body, it stays stuck in those red blood cells and just keeps circulating around the bloodstream. And you start to sacrifice optimum oxygen levels to the brain and the heart. So not only is this a long term potential cardiovascular situation, but it's also going to lead to exhaustion, mental fogginess, you know that brain fog, lack of clarity, a lot of yawning during the day potentially or sighing feeling like you're not getting enough breaths, feeling breathless feeling that air hunger. So these are the the primary things that I think sum up dysfunctional breathing, mouth breathing, shallow breathing, fast breathing, loud breathing, effortful breathing is the other one I would put in there, right? So if you are sitting at rest, and you're hearing your breath, we have to start to investigate what's going on? Why is it so effortful? Why is it so effortful for you to breathe? Right? The breathing should be almost
indiscernible right, you should be able to sit there, and you shouldn't be hearing your breath. And you should almost not be feeling it should be so gentle, you just feel this little bit of expansion to the lower ribs in the belly, and then it just passively leaves your body, she takes zero effort for this exhale to happen. The inhalation is the active part of breathing, the exhalation is completely passive. That's the total relaxation zone of your breath.
Tony Winyard 42:34
And I guess something for for listeners to think about in relation to what you just said, if you imagine the sound or how effortless a baby is breathing is and how you can't hear a baby's breathing at all. And then at the other end of the spectrum, if you think of someone in their 80s or 90s, and especially if they're very sick, and how their breathing, and how hard it is for them to breathe.
Tara Bianca 43:00
Yeah, I think it's a nice analogy. And I would only say the only caveat is that there are some babies who are dysfunctional breathers, you know, and there could be sort of a nasal obstruction issue there or tongue tie or something happening in the mouth, that is occluding their airways a little bit also. So I don't think it's a given that you're born with perfectly functional breathing. And I do think that your environment can also shape how you're breathing. Depending how your parents are swaddling you, if the room is too hot, all these different things, you know, I think it makes a big difference. You know, a hotter room will tend to spark hyperventilation, faster, more shallow breathing. So I think all those things play a big part. And I think, though, that in modelling, well how our parents are breathing or in modelling other people in our immediate environment, it does play a big role in how we're going to take on a breathing habit. And if we're conscious of it, if we're focused on it, if it's a priority for us, just like, how are you eating, you know, that really gets determined by your immediate environment? What is the quality of the water that you're drinking? What is the quality of, you know, the, the agricultural land in your area, you know, it becomes sort of a, like a societal viewpoint, you know, all of these things are really shaped by where you grew up, geographically speaking. So and that's why I said some people are never are never going to question their breathing because they don't come from a space where anyone would question their breathing. It's just not on the radar as a thing to worry about. There's so many other things to worry about.
Tony Winyard 44:35
I think I feel it in some ways, we've already blown a number of listeners minds already, just with some of the different types of breathing we've mentioned, but I'm going to take it one step further and blow them even more, because I'm going to ask you to explain what Holotropic breathing is?
Tara Bianca 44:51
So I've only ever really had a brief encounter with Holotropic breathing and I am not a Holotropic practitioner, so I don't want to step over the line and speak for that. community because I'm sure they would describe it very differently than I would. I've had a couple Holotropic sessions in my life, maybe two or three of them. And I actually did not have a great experience with it, which is the other reason I probably shouldn't be speaking on it too much, because my opinion is going to shape the words that go out of my mouth. But um, in my personal experience with Holotropic, it is a hyperventilating technique, right? So we were just saying how, hyperventilation is dysfunctional breathing, right, and I get that, however, there are hyperventilating, hyperventilating techniques that we do for short bursts of time, very consciously choosing to do it. And that consciousness part makes a big difference, because we are taking again, conscious control of the nervous system. And we are sending the signal to our brain like it's okay this time, because I'm allowing us to go through this so that we can see what's going to happen. It's not this subconscious, automatic dysfunctional breathing. And so I think why a lot of people do this Holotropic breathing is for the the mental psychological breakthroughs, right? And in my experience doing hyperventilated techniques in the past, that is, the big thing that comes from it is that, for me, not so much during the session, but at the end of the session, you've gone through maybe an hour of the stressful breathing, it's really stressful breathing, it takes work, it's challenging, it's effortful. It's all the things I just told you guys not to do. And at the end of it, your body so much more easily goes into relaxation, and rest and recovery. It's almost like you forced yourself to chill out, you force yourself to give in, you force yourself to let go, you can't fight anymore. And now anything that wants to come up anything that was buried, all of a sudden it can come to the surface, right. So if you have a lot of physical holding patterns from past trauma, because trauma definitely has a physical component, it definitely gets locked in the tissue, I can tell you from being a manual therapist for so many years, you can unlock trauma by touching people easily. So the breathing is almost like an internal massage to the body, which can start to liberate constricted areas in the musculature, restricted areas in the fascia that have been quote unquote, holding these emotions for potentially decades, these might be areas of your body you have never accessed, right, and that you've been holding tension and painful memories and subconscious wounds in for God knows how long. And now you do this internal sort of breath massage to your body, and all kinds of stuff is coming up for you. And so I find the magic of those sessions for me personally happens at the end when I'm exhausted, and in the total rest and relaxation. And, and yet, I'm still feeling safe. And all this stuff starts to surface. And I can have a lot of epiphanies and breakthroughs, and maybe even more clearly see a behavioural pattern or a thought pattern or emotional pattern that I've been running for decades. And it's just that aha moment of like, Oh, my God, you've been doing this to yourself for years. Are you ready to let it go now, you know, and so I think that work can be very beautiful. And I've had so many magical experiences with clients doing that style of work, not Holotropic. But something similar. One case comes to mind of a male client of mine, middle age, and he had lost his wife probably 15 years prior. And they were still young, she was probably only about 30 or 35 years old. And he had done so many different therapies around it. And it wasn't his fault. Obviously, it was a freak thing, some kind of horrible illness that came on fast. And he always felt guilty though, you know, he couldn't help but feel guilty like he was somehow responsible for her death. And I did an hour session with him like this. And the type of breath work I used to do was the hyperventilation technique, a little more gentle than Holotropic. But I would also do hands on body work while they were doing the breathing, which I think was really powerful for people. Because if they can't find where to breathe on their own, you put your hands there and you encourage them to go deeper.
And he came out of that session. I don't know during the session, I took my hands off of him and he actually sat up, I still closed, still doing the breathing. And I watched this man have a conversation with his wife who had passed 15 years ago. And when we close the session, he said to me, that was the first time I actually felt forgiveness. He's like, I've intellectually forgiven myself so many times over the last decade and a half. But that was the first time I actually felt forgiveness. And I talked to her and I saw her and she said I forgive you and to just go on and live your life. Like it was a beautiful moment and I really watched it happening. You know, he was like, mumbling to himself talking to her with his eyes closed while he's still in the session. So I saw it happening. And yeah, it was such a beautiful experience. I mean, it's it's kind of impossible to explain and I can imagine some people listening are calling bullshit on this whole thing. But your breath is powerful, you know, as human vessel souls read contains so much stuff. There's so much contained in here, you guys all feel your emotions, you all experience thoughts? Where are those housed in your body, they're there somewhere, you can't put your finger on it. But these are tangible, palpable things that exist inside of you at all times. And just because you haven't discovered necessarily yet how to access those consciously, voluntarily, doesn't mean that it's not possible. And, and people are getting more hip to it, you know, I think people are, are tired of wearing masks and tired of putting on the facade and tired of not being genuine and tired of having to constantly suppress their feelings and their emotions. And so this style breathwork, I think, is becoming popular because people are ready to be free, you know, they want to free the mind, they want to free the body. I know, we're not the first generation to use this language. People have been about this for a long time. But you know, it tends to get suppressed by mainstream thinking, whereas I feel now mainstream thinking is more readily accepting these types of practices. I see people embracing it more openly, with more genuine curiosity with without being so weirded out by it. So yeah, so I, you know, you should have a whole a tropic practitioner come on sometime. Because they'll give, they'll give a clear explanation than me that I can only share again, my personal experience with that work.
Tony Winyard 51:24
That probably will be happening at some point, we were speaking before the recording started; a few weeks ago, I drew out a list of all the different experts on different topics that I wanted to have on as guests on the show. And the list was endless. There will be someone at some point, but I wanted to get your take on it. Because I think if I remember rightly didn't you do a video recently to mention Holotropic breathing?
Tara Bianca 51:55
I don't think so. I try not to just because it's not my specialty. I don't want to misspeak, you know, I have a lot of respect for what different practitioners are doing. So
Tony Winyard 52:03
I remember seeing a video that you did, and thinking, I definitely want to ask her about that. And I must be getting confused. I thought it was holotropic, clearly it was something else,
Tara Bianca 52:14
it might have been something else. I don't know. Maybe we'll discover later what it was. But I will say this. So in the in the studies that I did with that hyperventilate of technique that I was doing, it really really was a good practitioner, you know, like my safety was not taken into consideration in a group a couple times. And I actually blacked out from this type of breathing twice. And one time I hit my head really badly also, because it was not being organised and sustained in a nicely in a safe way. So when you do take on these more stressful practices, in particular, please make sure you do your homework, get really solid practitioners who really have your best interests at heart and put your safety first. Because it is a bit of a journey, it's a bit of an adventure. You know, a lot of people come to that style of breathing out of the psychedelic community or the plant medicine community, because they're going through the experience. But now maybe some people in my experience, some people don't want to do the plant medicine anymore, their body needs a break, but they still want that kind of breakthrough. And so they turn to this style of breathwork because they feel they can get a similar if not the same type of breakthrough. So that is really, I feel those two communities are very much tied together. And so really just make sure you find someone who who cherishes that space and makes it a safe for you as possible, because it is a journey, it is an exploration and things might pop up that you are not expecting. In fact, I can almost guarantee that they will.
Tony Winyard 53:41
More than 50 minutes gone. And there's so many other things that I would like to explore. But I want to be respectful of your time. So I'm going to change it to two questions that I always ask everyone. One, is there a book that has really moved you?
Tara Bianca 54:08
If I can be honest with you, Tony, I've been dreading these two questions that I hear you ask everybody, because I've read so many books in my lifetime, and I'm sure there's a million but it's like when the spotlight is on and you ask me I get so scared. And I'm trying to think you know, so in preparation thinking that you might ask me this. It's so odd because there's one book popped into my mind. And I don't really know if it's the answer you're looking for. But the book, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is the book that came into my mind, even though I've read so many books in my life. This book I read. Well, it's interesting, probably around that same time that I started to have those digestive issues. I probably read this around the age of 15. It was a book we were required to read for school. And if you go back, I haven't read it since I just remember the feeling that that book gave me it hit me in the heart hard and I I was a very dysfunctional reader as a kid I could not read, I not dyslexia. But I'm one of those people that was a little bit ADHD as a kid, and I was much more about moving, I couldn't sit and read a book, I'd read the same page over and over and over, I couldn't absorb the information. And this was the first book that a teacher had given me that I really poured through. And I felt so connected to. And so last night, I just went back and I was reading the synopsis and what it's about. And this book was totally like, socialist propaganda, like this is the socialist like manifesto of this book, right. And so it was interesting to me, because at the age of 15, or 16, I had no sense of geopolitics whatsoever. In fact, I was very analytical, I was like a total math nerd. And I didn't like things with nuances. I had a lot of social anxiety, I didn't have a lot of friends, I was very isolated. And this book hit me so hard, because this was about social and economic justice. And I won't say that this book shapes me, but those two things are so primary in how I want to be of service to the world, and the things that I am most passionate about. And so it's interesting to me to see that at 15, I had already formed a sense of the world as being an unjust place, you know, this. Sorry, guys, the interview is gonna take an ugly turn right now. So at that age, I had such extreme social anxieties, such extreme isolation, I had already felt like the world was treating me unfairly, I already felt like I was at the bottom of the barrel and that my life didn't have value, I had such a low sense of self worth. And this book was all about immigrant rights, how people are treated differently, depending on where they are born in this world, it was all about socio economic class. It's about the meatpacking industry. So it's all the horrendous things that happen in an industrialised agricultural environment. And it's all about, you know, the most wealthy corporations being the most corrupt, you know, and whether you believe those things or not, they do happen in the world. And that was really my viewpoint back then. And I still have that viewpoint, except as, in my current way of being in the world, it's very important to me to not focus on those in justices, as much as I want to focus on bringing more light to the world. You know, instead of focusing on the negative things that I know are happening, I want to highlight the things that I know that are happening that are so positive, and that can be so impactful in people's lives, because I can't control all of those in justices, right. And it's kind of devastating to your human spirit. So put all of your energy towards focusing on things that you cannot control. So now I focus on what I can control. And I do my best to try to be the, the counterpoint to a lot of the unfairness that I see happening in the world.
Tony Winyard 57:51
If people want to find out more about you Tara and your, your amazing YouTube channel, and so on, how Where do they find it?
Tara Bianca 57:58
Yep, so my, my everything is belighttt, there's three T's because my company's name is actually be light transformative therapy. So either belighttt.com, my YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/belighttt And if you go to my website, I have a lot of freebies, for people, I have something called the breath basic six day challenge, which is an awesome free introduction into basic breathing principles, you get 1 15 minute video each day, that gives you access to a different breathing technique, you also get a guided five minute practice each day, it's really manageable to fit into your life. And it's a great exposure to this idea of how your breath directly affects your nervous system, your mood, your physiology, your mental state, all those things. I also have a free long COVID video workshop up there that people can take advantage of if that resonates with you. There's there's a lot of goodies. So belighttt.com/ There's so many fun things on there that you can take advantage of totally for free,
Tony Winyard 59:02
and where did Be Lightt come from?
Tara Bianca 59:08
Um, yes. So you know, in 2016, I was not in a good place. So it's coming off of about a year and a half of injury and feeling really depressed and really dragging myself around. And I really needed a change. And I had the courage to drop my business in New York, and go down to Miami for about six months. I just needed a change of environment, I needed a healthier environment. And three days after making that decision to take this massive action that could potentially affect my business and everything else. I call him my angel. He just fell into my life. I decided to take some clients down there and do like a little body work while I was down there and this man just booked an appointment and came for a massage therapy session. And he saw something in me, you know, he's he's a coach. He's like a transformational coach. And if he saw something in me, he said, You know, I think I can really help you. And he let me. He teaches coaching to like, you know, major CEOs of major corporations and I was just meeting my little cells back then he let me study with him for free for about three months. And then I continued with him for over a year, with like a 90% discount, he just like had so much faith that I could transform my whole life. And it was my first exposure to this idea of mindset coaching, how I have been running, letting my self limiting beliefs run my life, my whole life, how I've been playing the victim, how I haven't been taking responsibility for anything that happens to me how I only see the negative how I'm so cynical, and how I am perpetuating a life, exactly the way that I imagined it in my mind, I'm calling in exactly what I expect to receive, which wasn't much back then. And he was the first person to blow my mind open. And really helped me to see that there are actually limitless possibilities for every human being if we give ourselves the chance and give our bodies and our minds exactly what they need. And so out of that was when I first established the company name be lights. Because that's what he did for me, you know, he was the first one to spark the flame. And like helped me to see that there's light in all of us that really can shine forth.
Tony Winyard 1:01:20
Cool. Wow. Well, we're just about finished. And I think you know, the question I'm about to ask you, because you've already alluded to it. Is there a quotation that you particularly like?
Tara Bianca 1:01:36
Yeah, so the, you know, there's so many quotes that I see during the day that I just love, and I forget them immediately. But the one that's always stuck with me throughout my life, probably because I was exposed to it's So Young is this one from the Little Prince. My mom was a foreign language teacher, as a kid, mostly teaching French. And so this book was always in our life. And my mom used to always highlight this one quote, and I want to make sure I get it right actually. And the quote, somewhat translates to, it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. And, you know, as a kid, it always stuck with me of like, okay, you know, my mom would always say, like, don't judge a book, by their cover, beauty is on the inside. And I always kind of put it in that category. And now as I've been more on my journey of holistic health and massive transformation, massive, massive personal transformation, I really realise that being heart centred is so important to me, and that my real passion in life is really needing to be a service to others and the world. And I don't know. And so there's this quote, which I had not really thought about until you asked, What is a quote that is special to you, I realise that it really does hit me pretty powerfully. That that is how I want to exist in the world. And that's how I would like to be seen by others also was heart centred space, and not judging each other by the masks that we wear.
Tony Winyard 1:03:08
Tara it's been an absolute delight. So thank you for your time and sharing your immense wisdom around so many different areas. So yeah, really appreciate it
Tara Bianca 1:03:19
was such a pleasure to do this with you, Tony, thank you so much for having me on. I appreciate it.
Tony Winyard 1:03:26
Next week is episode 47. With Brooke Simonson, she had a weight loss and health journey in her late 20s, which led to her having a real kind of yo yo dieting going up and down in weight. And she then decided that she wanted to try and get her hands on as much evidence based information as she could, and eventually enrolled in the Institute of transport, transformation or nutrition and became a certified nutrition coach. And so we talk about her journey and weight loss and diets and so on. So that's next week's episode episode with Brooke Simmonson. If you know anyone who would get some value from a lot of information, great information that we share this week by Tara Bianca. Please do share this episode with them. And hope you have a great week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tony winyard.com See you next time on that habits and health podcast.
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