Denis Ouellette, a certified optimal breathing development specialist from Montana, said most people only breathe at 20 percent of their capacity.
Ouellette works to help people correct their breathing patterns for better overall wellness. He is planning a seminar to help people improve their breathing at the Minot YMCA Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
"Most people are high-chest breathers, instead of diaphragmatic breathers. When your breathing is off, or too shallow, it compromises every aspect of your health and can lead to more serious disease," Ouellette said.
Submitted Photo - - At a seminar, coordinator Denis Ouellette shows a participant how to do a breathing assessment to determine if they are a chest or belly breather.
"Once you know what good breathing looks and feels like, you can easily retrain your internal breathing pattern by breathing the right way about 1,000 times. That may seem like a lot, but it's only 100 times a day for 10 days. Considering that people unconsiously breathe 15,000 to 18,000 times a day, it's not too hard to do," he added.
Ouellette began breathwork in the late 70s and trained with breathwork pioneers in California. He is currently a holistic-health practitioner, doing breathwork and bodywork in the Bozeman area. He conducts his Integral Breathwork Seminars internationally. He also publishes a regional health magazine called, "Natural Life News."
Breathing work, breathwork
Breathing practice has developed and evolved over time, Ouellette explained. What he now calls Integral Breathwork is a combination of two different sciences, "breathing work" and "breathwork." He starts off with breathing assessment and improvement exercises to optimize the breathing pattern, and then leads the group in a lying-down, transformational breathing session.
"In the early experimental days, some people would practice breathwork and not enjoy it because it was unpredictable," Ouellette said. "Some people got cramping in their hands, or they would experience psychological or energy states that were uncomfortable for them. These happened because people were doing a lot of breathwork without first doing the corrective aspects of the breathing work. The way we're doing it now is safe, more gentle, predictable, and always beneficial."
He explained that this work is becoming more accepted by medical and psychotherapeutic communities, especially by practitioners who have integrated the sciences of the east in combination with traditional western medicine.
"Eastern health practices, like Tai Chi and Yoga, have always incorporated breathing techniques for overall health and prevention. For centuries, they have understood the importance of good breathing. With western medicine, we have often overlooked the implications of better breathing and tended to ignore it, because it is automatic," Ouellette said.
"But the breath can be consciously controlled as well. This creates a doorway into the maintenance and repair of all our internal systems," he added.
While Ouellette's seminar is open to the public, he is offering additional training this weekend for health-care providers interested in incorporating breathing work into their practice.
"Breathing is the best thing I know of to combine with bodywork and massage for the release of tension. In fact, better breathing is the most important thing you can do to enhance any self-healing work you're doing," Ouellette said.
What to expect
Participants in the seminar will receive personal breathing assessments, take-home skills and tools, do several breath-expansion exercises, understand breathing physiology and psychology, and take part in the extended breathwork session.
"The seminar isn't just for people with breathing difficulties. It's for anyone who wants to increase their health, vitaility and longevity," Ouellette said.
"People will notice the benefits immediately. However, those with asthma, sleep apnea and other problems will find answers too."
"Oxygen is the body's main food and main source of energy. The exhalation is the main mechanism through which the body detoxifies itself. Breathwork clears or flushes all the systems of the body," he added.
Ouellette explained that participants can even feel transformed during a seminar.
"All these marvelous changes start to happen when you fully oxygenate and detoxify your body. It can be quite transformational for people. You can feel a lot of new energy, euphoria, relief from pain and tension, and a lot of shifts happening in the body," he said.
Saturday's seminar costs $75, or two for $120. Ouellette will also be available for private sessions on Sunday. For more information and to preregister, contact Marcia Preskey locally at 720-5220, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Ouellette's work can be found at (www.IntegralBreathwork.com).