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Taos News

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Photo Courtesy Alexander Feliciano

Lighter, deeper, longer — what Ru Chao really wants is for you to just breathe. As a multifaceted musician learning to bridge the arts with the healing arts, Chao knows firsthand the positive effects of air and frequency. Whether the melodic harmonies of an instrument being played or the expressive force of our own internal vibration; breathing is healing. Her next breathwork workshop will be held on December 10th at Joy Yoga in Arroyo Seco and is open to all members of the community.

"I love meeting and building the community. Offering this practice helps everyone because it's an accessible and easy method with so many benefits," said breathwork facilitator Ru Chao. "Benefits include relieving stress, improving the digestive system, the immune system, and our overall well-being along with the integration of past unprocessed experiences and emotions. Breathing can increase our creativity, inspiration and deepen the connection with ourselves."

Chao recently completed a 200-hour course and received certification as a Trauma Informed Breathwork Facilitator, an easy bridge following multiple human-interest degrees, including an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master's in public health. Chao has always been intrigued by what makes people tick and recent years have pulled her toward what helps people heal.

"It’s amazing to me that we have the innate tool of breathing within us that can yield such profound benefits. You don’t need any tools, training or medicine meaning we all have the tools for self-healing within us," Chao said. "We all breathe all the time, we don’t even have to think about it to breathe though when we bring intention and attention to our breath, we can take it to a much deeper level, accessing the parts that we store in the shadows. These include the unprocessed traumas, unexpressed emotions and scary memories that stand in the way of our fullest potential for joy and fulfillment. I have found breathwork to be the most powerful tool to do this deep work."

Ru Chao's segue into healing arts came serendipitously; her entry to breathwork began while exiting full-time work in the corporate world. Reflecting on her first experience with breathwork, she hopes to introduce the healing process to others as it was shown to her.

"It was a huge event space with hundreds of people and we were all laying down and breathing together. I remember how my body was changing during the session, and it blew me away how powerful the breath is. That made me curious to explore breathwork," Chao said. "I was in this transition point of my life in figuring out what to do next, and I found it to be really powerful."

Music, a longtime passion of hers, soon found its way into the healing practice as she began to play the tongue drum during sessions. Chao grew up playing piano and violin before teaching herself guitar and ukulele. Receiving her first tongue drum in 2019 from a musician she met while jamming in a park in New York, Chao has found the drum fortuitous in helping both hers and others transform.

"I write songs on the drum and will play those during breathwork. Playing a live instrument is an extension of me, and I can improvise and respond to the group while guiding through my music," Chao said. "They're all frequencies and the drum itself has super low hertz. This lulls people into another state of consciousness. That plus the breathwork can really take people on a journey."

For those with stress or trauma, breathing deeply may be hard. In some cases, people realize they don't fully utilize their breath and often don't breathe fully into their abdomen. Doing so can spark a revelatory process, opening new mental pathways and clearing physical blockages. After each breathwork session, participants are invited to share their experience with the group.

"You don't have to be alone to heal. There is so much power in the collective and when we can all breathe and release together there is so much impact in that," Chao said. "When we are able to share our stories during integration afterwards, that in itself can be healing to hear what other people experience. To know that we are not alone in our healing journey."

As preparation, Chao recommends avoiding a heavy meal up to a few hours before a session, as it can cause fatigue. In some cases, breathwork can feel intense or overwhelming to a beginner. In these instances, Chao advises to slow down or pull back until a level of comfort resumes. The practice is not intended to be "too much." In most cases, safety remains a top priority within breathwork circles, allowing participants the capacity to relax and let go, going deep into their own breathing experience.

The next group session will be December 10 at Joy Yoga in Arroyo Seco, from 4-5 p.m. Joy Yoga is located at 482a NM-150, Arroyo Seco.

Written by Lindsey Rae Gjording

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