“…I’m in a Zen-like refuge in the hills of Lanzarote, being lulled into a meditative trance by Alan Dolan, one of the world’s leading mind-body practitioners. I’ve just had the best craniosacral massage of my life…
On top of Alan’s reputation for being no-nonsense, breathwork can be life-changing. One of the strongest well-being trends of the past year, its devotees (including Kate Hudson and Naomie Harris) swear that it eradicates stress, improves digestion, boosts energy levels and helps with trauma and emotional upheaval.
What’s more, between twice-daily ‘conscious breathing’ sessions at his sellout Breathing Space workshop, there are volcanoes to hike, delicious veggie meals, and world-class massages and bodywork sessions from Martin Cairoli plus individual counselling sessions from Donna Lancaster. It’s the Rolls-Royce of wellness breaks and, I’d thought, the perfect one to pop Sean’s cherry…
Alan rouses us, and everyone apart from me gently moves, opening their eyes, starry-eyed and blown-of-mind. Including Sean. ‘I really don’t understand what just happened, but that was amazing,’ he says, softly, and takes my hand…”
“…Go to a breathing workshop at the Landmark London’s newly revamped spa. The Marylebone hotel’s red-brick exterior and fabulous glass-ceilinged atrium, complete with towering palm trees, are like something out of a Wes Anderson movie, but the spa is decidedly modern, as is its partnership with the Breathguru, Alan Dolan. “Conscious breathing” is tipped to be one of 2018’s hottest wellness trends, promising to banish anxiety, cure insomnia and alleviate stress and depression. Dolan’s approach is brilliant if you’re normally too fidgety for traditional meditation methods. His “connected breath” technique – mouth wide open, long inhale and shorter exhale, with no pause in between – not only fills the body with energising oxygen, but also requires considerable physical focus (which stops the mind meandering back to unsent emails).
Unlike many modern-day “gurus”, who create dependency on their services, Dolan promises he can teach you this life-changing technique in just one session (though when you meet him, you can see why people keep going back). You’ll walk out feeling not only relaxed but inexplicably lighter, as though your lungs are somehow larger…”
“…‘Breath is literally life,’ says BreathGuru app founder Alan Dolan. “When you breathe better, you live better.’ Which makes the fact that most of us only use 20% of our lung capacity a priority issue.
‘Degenerative diseases, cardiac problems and cancer are linked to oxidative stress and cellular free-radical damage, and breath is a key factor in prevention,’ says Dolan. When the breath is out of kilter, your body’s fight-or-flight mode is heightened. But get the breath right and cells are flooded with oxygen, so the body begins to recalibrate and release toxins. Research shows that breathwork also relieves stress and depression.
‘Breath is as unique as a fingerprint, but 80% of us are shallow, upper-chest breathers,’ warns Dolan. To test, place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest, close your eyes and inhale deeply through the mouth. Whichever hand moves most shows whether your breath is upper (chest) or lower (belly) – good breath is a balance of both…”
“…The hour vanishes, leaving me extraordinarily light and relaxed. My eyes feel wider, whiter, my lungs somehow larger, somehow cleaner on the inside. That night I sleep instantly, deeply – rare for me – and have crazy, vivid dreams.”
For mums and daughters in need of a break from the everyday stress of urban life, this breathing retreat might be the perfect answer. “Breathing guru” Alan Dolan teaches the art of meditative breathing at a private villa in Oasis de Nazarat. The only planned activities are two daily breath sessions, and the rest of the retreat is totally up to the guests. Options include personal training, massages and even volcano climbing, but each visitor’s experience is totally unique.
“February: Breathing Space Retreat, Lanzarote, Canary Islands..
“February sees these Spanish islands at their greenest, with reliable winter sunshine and early wildflowers – so it’s a perfect time to escape the grim British winter and book a retreat with the “breath guru” Alan Dolan. He’ll teach you the art of “conscious breathing”, which helps you access the full potential of your lungs to reduce the effects of anxiety and stress; it’s one of the most powerful therapies I’ve experienced…
“Courses are based at a private villa in Oasis de Nazaret, a peaceful area 10 minutes from the beach at Famara. Each day includes one individual and one group breathing session (with a maximum of four others), poolside relaxation, star-gazing from the hot tub, holistic treatments and vegetarian meals. Island tours can also be arranged.”
“…Breathguru, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, retreat – a scenic island setting is home to retreats and workshops on detoxing and fitness-enhancing techniques, led by “breath guru” Alan Dolan himself….”
“…It’s Alan Dolan’s breathwork workshop that has enticed me to 42 Acres, though; I’ve read rave testimonials by actors such as Naomie Harris, sportspeople like Paul Sampson,
and mindfulness gurus like Jody Shield. Within wellness circles, ‘conscious
breathing’ is garnering serious buzz, presented as a virtually idiot-proof mindfulness technique with the potential to banish anxiety, restore clarity and process deep-seated issues. I love yoga but have always been too restless for most meditation techniques. Yet under Dolan’s expert tutelage, I master this yawningly open-mouthed belly-breathing technique and finally “get” mindfulness; I emerge from each session feeling stress-free, with flashes of insight. Dolan normally runs sell-out courses at his own retreat centre in Lanzarote, so this is
a rare (more affordable) opportunity in the UK…”
“…Alan Dolan, otherwise known as the ‘Breath Guru’, agrees. ‘You can survive without food and water for days. The world-record holder in free diving can hold his breath for something like nine minutes, but mere mortals can manage only a couple of minutes,’ he says from his swanky Lanzarote pad, where he runs Breathing Space retreats. ‘We’ve got these amazing lungs, but we’re not accessing them.’”
“…I feel in control of myself, my future. Everything in my life has slowed right down and I can not only manage it all again, but do so with ease. I am lighter. It all seems so much simpler; I can almost taste the positivity coursing through my system.”
“…Today Alan brings his Conscious Breathing techniques and breathing exercises to clients in private 1-1 sessions in London, Dublin and Brazil, as well as in groups or ‘retreats’ at his luxury and peaceful Breathing Space villa in Lanzarote.
The breathing exercises and techniques he teaches are safe and easy to do, whilst anyone can reap the stress relieving benefits just like he has.
‘Conscious Breathing brought the magic and mystery that I experienced as a child back into my adult life.’ Reveals the former PR manager.
‘Life had become very black and white for me and I was on a career trajectory which was mostly about perceived status and money.
‘I’d lived with depression since my early teens and had got by using tobacco and alcohol but once I discovered Breathwork my 20-30 cigarettes a day habit ceased.
‘My alcohol consumption reduced massively and I cleared the depression in 12 weeks.
‘That was fourteen years ago and since then I’ve continued to refine and no longer do caffeine and I’m mainly vegetarian.’
Over the last decade Alan’s successes in offering stress relief and transforming his clients lives through Breathwork have been many…”
“…‘Many people in highly demanding roles understand the importance of taking time out to exercise and eat well to maintain good physical health, but very few pay attention to how they breathe, which is just as important,’ says Alan Dolan, a ‘breath guru’ who teaches a technique known as conscious breathing. ‘This involves really focusing on infusing the body with oxygen. It’s a safe and effective way of recharging our own, often depleted, systems to work to their healing capacity.’
As a former PR manager in the aerospace industry, Dolan had been suffering from executive stress himself when he discovered conscious breathing while on a sabbatical in 2004. Its mooted benefits include a reduction in stress, an increased ability to learn and a clearer mind. What’s more, you should start looking healthier, as there will be more oxygenated blood getting to your skin.
‘Most people use only 25 per cent of their breathing capacity, but virtually every condition can be improved simply by drawing a fuller breath,’ says Dolan, who now runs regular ‘breathing space retreats’ and workshops in the UK and at his home on Lanzarote…”
“…The Landmark London has partnered with alternative practitioner Alan Dolan – founder of Breathing Space – to launch a new service as part of the reopening of the hotel’s spa and health club.
Dolan has created a special package for guests looking to “transform their lives” through improving their breathing techniques.
‘Conscious breathing is a powerful and safe way to infuse the body with oxygen and energy and recharge one’s systems to the maximum healing capacity,’ Dolan said. ‘Breathwork can lead you to enjoy optimum health, mental and emotional clarity and experience an ever-deepening relationship with yourself.’
The introduction of the new service is part of the relaunch of The Landmark London’s spa, which has undergone an extensive redevelopment programme…”
“…Tell someone that you’re spending your summer holiday learning how to breathe and you’ll inevitably be greeted by raised eyebrows. But breathwork is one of the strongest wellbeing trends of 2017, with devotees – who include Kate Hudson and Naomie Harris – swearing that it eradicates stress, improves digestion, boosts energy levels and helps you process trauma and emotional upheaval.
‘The majority of people only use 25% of their breathing capacity, but virtually every condition can be improved simply by drawing a fuller breath,’ explains Alan Dolan, Europe’s leading breathwork teacher. He runs his sellout Breathing Space workshops at his tranquil retreat in the hills of sunbaked Lanzarote, just a short drive from Famara, the most strikingly beautiful surf beach on the island. Alan has a cult following among celebrities, sportspeople and burnt-out city workers for his practical and refreshingly no-nonsense approach to a tried-and-tested technique.
Between the twice-daily conscious breathing sessions, there are volcanos to hike, delicious vegetarian meals to devour and world-class massages and bodywork sessions on offer from Martin Cairoli. Even if you’ve never been able to sit still long enough to try meditation, and apps like Headspace lurk unused on your iPhone, Alan’s easy-to-master breathing techniques promise to quieten that voice in your mind, relieve tension and leave you grounded and focused. Expect to return to reality with a brand new healthy habit in your armoury.”
“…The ethos is that Conscious Breathing can change one’s life…”
“…This is warrior work – You can literally shift how you feel one breath at a time. Conscious breathing is a powerful and safe way to infuse the body with oxygen and energy, recharging our own (often depleted) systems to work to their healing capacity….”
“…When Dolan comes to my side, I am tight and nervous. He softly, intuitively feels along my clavicles, ribcage, abdomen – and I am surprised when he touches a spot that makes me gasp. I feel embarrassed and try to hold it in, but it’s no use; and, instead, he guides me in breathing through it. It is uncomfortable but, as I learn during my stay, discomfort and resistance are telling us something, and we need to get better at listening.
I spend 30 minutes struggling with the process – feeling light-headed, as though the breath pattern is too shallow, which makes me feel anxious. And then, unexpectedly, everything loosens up: my neck relaxes, my jaw stops feeling taut and tense, and I just breathe. And lose time. Twenty minutes later, I become conscious of feeling light and happy – and rested. Remarkable…”
“…Where? Lanzarote (there are also sessions and workshops in London, Cambridge and Dublin). Best for? Spiritual types – you’ll meet ‘breath guru’ Alan Dolan, who has a villa in the hillside village of Oasis de Nazaret, and learn how to breathe properly to boost health and wellbeing. What’s involved? Two breath classes a day, plus a one-on-one session in which you learn new breathing patterns to reduce stress and increase energy. What’s to eat? Health-conscious Dolan favours organic and local produce…”
“…While this ‘connective breath’ is billed as a form of self-healing, the best way to master the technique is at an introductory workshop. They take place regularly across the UK, with trained ‘facilitators’ on hand to whisper affirmations in your ear and gently apply pressure to areas such as your shoulders to help release what are termed ‘blockages’.
A one-to-one session with breath coaches can make for a more powerful practice, but to experience TB in true style, head to one of Dolan’s retreats in Lanzarote. They take place in a stylish villa with views of the island’s volcanic landscape. Guests who have raved about their stay include Bond star Naomie Harris and England international rugby ace Paul Sampson, who credits TB with helping him combat exercise-induced asthma…”
“Conscious breathing is one of the most liberating therapies I’ve ever had – and I’ve had a few… If you have an issue to sort out, or just an underlying feeling that something in your life just ain’t quite right, you can book a private retreat in the village of Oasis de Nazaret with Alan Dolan, the man who brought conscious breathing to the UK… During a conscious breathing session, you’re asked to breathe in and out through an open mouth (‘to access 100% of your respiratory system’), while the therapist does a spot of acupressure and encourages you to release any blocked physical, emotional or psychological trauma by making sounds or moving your limbs. The idea is you move through an emotion that comes up, rather than getting stuck in it. It feels odd at first, but because the combination occupies you on both a physical and mental level, you can’t just switch off or rationalise your feelings. It was so powerful for me that, during one session, I re-lived the birth of my now five-year old daughter in a compelling, all-consuming, tear-filled experience.”