April 7


Breathing educator Joel Jelen gives breathwork masterclass at recent Liverpool Wellness Expo”

“As healthy human beings we take many things for granted. Breathing and breathwork being one of the least obvious (until we hit respiratory problems).” These are the words of Joel Jelen, a breathwork expert based in Liverpool who runs workplace wellbeing company Sniff Sigh Yawn.

“We typically breathe around 24,000 times a day too but it is how we breathe that is just as significant as the number.” Joel runs breathwork events in Liverpool in many guises for corporate businesses, SME’s, community organisations, schools/colleges as well as private clients.

“I know from many years in breathwork that physicians will tell you that the majority of us now breathe dysfunctionally, albeit hidden. This eventually catches up with us. It will end up affecting your exercise performance, mood and focus at work, your sleep, and the ability to handle stress alongside our digestive system. Fortunately, there are more family doctors and HR’s aware of the issue but without the expertise to advise on specific breathwork protocols.

Jelen continued: “For example, lifting weights on the inhale spikes people’s blood pressure and raises their heart rate to unnecessary levels. It’s why people can suffer vertigo and other ill-effects. Breathwork should be covered in, for example, every basic PT qualification. A recent Sniff Sigh Yawn client, a power lifter, went through all of that suffering before needing breathwork to perform again at international competition level. Also, when performing holistic exercise like yoga and Pilates, resist the habit of tensing up,” says Jelen. “Especially the core because you’re likely to be doing that anyway at work and in everyday life without realising. “Lying down and performing a Yoga Nidra move allowing the tummy to rise up on the inhale is a good way to practise breathwork.

“Similarly, running and breathing from the wrong locations, that is mouth and chest, just adds to the stressful breathing habits people bring from their place of work. Breathwork involving breathing slow into the base of the lungs and the lower abdominal muscles is where it’s at. That’s where the term ‘deep breath’ comes from. It should never be a big breath. Humming when you run works for many because it represents an extended exhale.”

Aside from his Liverpool Wellness Expo presentation on April 19th, Jelen has delivered talks throughout our city on the virtues of breathwork to an impressive list of clients. These include hundred of lawyers at Hill Dickinson, Everton In The Community, the Knowledge Quarter, Daisy UK Inclusive, Novotel Paddington Village and Wirral Met College amongst many others.

He explained how breathwork plays a key role in our lives whether socially or at work.

“There will be a reason why publications like Harvard Business Review are talking about the subject right now. Breathwork used by, for example, US Navy Seals and the military generally around the world share similarities. They are all geared to driving more oxygen, CO2 and nitric oxide into the cells. Subject to the type of technique employed, these can either relax or serve as an energy driver for the beneficiary.”

Jelen senses that sleep issues will be one of the biggest sources of demand from breathwork specialists like Sniff Sigh Yawn in 2024.

“Having helped many teams with sleep clinics and receiving all the positive feedback, the gap in sleep advice is typically breathwork-based. More people need awareness of the huge influence on our sleep based on how we breathe during the day. Operating on a heightened sense of anticipation all day and then expecting to enjoy eight hours of restorative sleep is unreasonable. Science tells us this.

“Sleeping is an event and needs to be seen as such. Breathwork involving breathing light fifteen minutes before sleep and entering bed half an hour before sleeping is recommended.”

“Also be aware of your breathing through the day,” adds Jelen. “Hidden breathing dysfunction at work often creates our stress and causes us to make bad decisions, further exacerbating our stress. Gain an awareness of breathwork. We only need to breathe around six to eight breaths per minute. The average adult does twelve to eighteen per minute.”



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