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Published: April 10, 2020 | Updated: April 10, 2020

Sit quietly and just breathe – meditation could help you get through these troubled times…

Sam Heaton-Wright and Ollie James of Bournemouth Meditation.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Meditation and breathwork could help many people – especially in the business community – cope with the fraught times we currently find ourselves in.

That’s the view of Sam Heaton-Wright and Ollie James of Bournemouth Meditation.

They’ve been running groups, workshops and retreats for more than two years and have built up a 5,000-strong community of ‘experiencers.’

Picture: Piotr Raczkowski.

Now, in response to the current crisis, Sam and Ollie are adding two new services – meditation workshops online and pre-recorded meditation – to the existing four online groups already operating.

Ollie, 39, said: “At the very least, current events have shone a light on the work we do.

“We as a society have tended to disconnect from each other and replaced the gap with a lot of noise.

“At this moment in time there is a lot of pain, sadness, grief but, above all, fear.

“Silence, and just being alone with ourselves, can be a great comfort.”

Ollie, who leads the group sessions, is a body led psychotherapist and breathworker.

A breathworker is someone who uses breath and breathing techniques to help people connect with their subconscious, heal trauma and boost health and wellbeing.

Ollie, who is the author of The Big Book of Breath, said: “Everything is in the breath.

“There are ten segments, a little like the different stages of watching a wave in the water.

“You can tell someone’s emotion from their breath and whether they’re sad, angry, happy or joyful.

“I’ve travelled the world researching the subject and talking to people and all types of experts.

“Our mantra is ‘breathe anytime, anywhere’ and this is reflected through our groups.

“Each session demonstrates simple, powerful ways our breath and body can be used to naturally encourage health and wellbeing in our lives.”

The current lockdown – and the need for many people to self-isolate – has led to Bournemouth Meditation moving all its groups and services online.

Currently they are:

  • Monday: ‘Calibreathe’ – a high energy, active meditation session. Strong breathing techniques are mixed with energetic movement and challenging posture holds. It’s aimed at people with active or stressful lives as the practices engaged more easily soothe an overactive mind (to connect with the body).
  • Thursday: ‘Unwind, Undo, Un-Everything’ is softer with more stretching and gentler breathwork. The class is considered best for people who are starting out, feel unsure or want an introduction to the work.
  • Sunday: ‘Silent Meditation’ – A silent space for people to practice their own meditation over a one hour period. Sam and Ollie say people who attend this group speak of how touched they feel to be silent and yet connected to others.
  • ‘5 at 5’: Tuesday and Sunday sessions of breathing at 5pm on Facebook Live. The premise is “A Community That Breathes Together, Stays Together”. Participants are led through (at least five minutes of) simple breathing and grounding techniques.

Realising people may want to learn techniques on a deeper level at this time, Sam and Ollie have put together two hour workshops.

They are separate to the week’s usual offerings and are designed to provide a simple introduction to breathing and meditation.

Picture: Piotr Raczkowski.

Each two hour workshops will cover different themes ranging from

  • Introduction to Home Meditation
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Improving sleep
  • Developing fitness at home
  • Safeguarding the respiratory system (techniques to improve the health and hardiness of your respiratory system)
  • Selfcare in isolation

As for the pre-recorded meditations, Ollie said: “We believe everyone is beginning to feel the importance of engaging with life differently at the moment and how essential it is to keep moving, finding ways of keeping our spirits up and, of course, breathing.

“With this in mind, alongside our live groups, we are creating pre-recorded material so everyone can maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit when they need it most. ”

In order to encourage everyone to feel able to join in, Bournemouth Meditation has changed its pricing model with a range of free material through to large reductions to join all its groups and workshops.

Sam said: “Like everyone else we’ve had to change in recent weeks but we feel that we have something to offer which will really help people at this difficult time for so many.

“We’ve certainly noticed a greater interest in what we’re doing.”