Hello everyone! As your new Australian Breathwork Association (ABA) President, I wanted to reach out and introduce myself.
My name is John Stamoulos and I live in Adelaide. My first encounters with Breathwork occurred over 25 years ago when, in my early twenties, I discovered its profound healing power on a personal level. Ever since, I have had the amazing good fortune to travel throughout Australia and worldwide working with groups and individuals alike to promote the wisdom and power of this life-altering process.
In the past three years, as a member of the planning committee of ABA, I have had the distinct privilege to work with many deeply dedicated leaders in the organization whose efforts have kept ABA at the forefront of the growing Breathwork movement in Australia. It has been a rewarding experience and I am honoured to now step into the role of President to continue the legacy of others’ efforts and to further advance the growth of Breathwork’s message of love, transformation and healing.
I look forward to working with everyone in ABA and welcome your support, input, and conversations to help us all maintain and expand the supportive initiatives that the previous executives have generated.
The team welcomes this year, Joshua Wrest who will joining Margaret Schoonveldt, Liisa Halme, Jennylee Taylor and myself.
With deep appreciation especially to Cindy Aulby for her tireless efforts at ABA and in sincere gratitude for your continued support.
By outgoing President Cindy Aulby, Breathwork Trainer, Hobart
It’s been another big year for our little Association!
The Association has continued to work on the priority areas determined at the 2019 Inspiration meeting. We will hear more details of these tasks in the reports coming up from our wonderful subcommittees. But here is a brief outline of the priority areas we agreed to focus on, and what we’ve been up to:
Working to raise awareness and credibility of Breathwork, particularly through research and data collection.
We have begun with a focus on gathering experiential information from practitioners and clients, collaborating both with the International Breathwork Foundation research team, and with Australian Michelle Crawford, who has developed a model and a series of questions to determine whether desired outcomes are achieved.
Running the organisation – clarifying organisational processes, continuing to build the website.
The processes for new and renewing membership are now online – forms can be filled in, documents uploaded, and even Paypal is finally working online!!
Mailchimp newsletters are regularly flowing to approximately 300 members and friends, our policy and procedure documents are complete and filed very accessibly online, and we have completed training standards and endorsement processes and used them to endorse practitioner and group facilitator trainings, including one international training.
Community and collaboration – promoting our members, providing the Breathe Australia Conference, marketing and connecting.
Many member videos and articles are being showcased on the ABA Facebook page and YouTube channel. One area of focus has been reaching out to the very large yoga community and differentiating conscious connected breathwork from pranayama; this meeting agenda suggests we include a new membership category for students to attract ABA membership right from the beginning of practitioner training; we’ve worked on finding sustainable ways to provide the annual Breathe Australia Conference, and we have created a new public event called the ABA Big Breathe.
The ABA worked with Robyn Fernance who kindly committed her time to bring the Breathwork Family Tree up to date. Robyn is mapping the lineage from all current and past members back to the original trainers by sifting through past records. Part of this is recognising and honouring all of the Breathwork Schools, colleges and individual trainers regardless of whether they are currently connected to the ABA. Tracking the Breathwork Lineage is an important part of the ABA vision as the keeper of the ABA records in Australia. As an association it is important to be respectful of the past and all the members, committee members, trainers, elders and supporters and their contribution to building the foundations of what we have today
Education for members and for the public
The new member mentoring sessions are in place and being very well received, our website and social media platforms are regularly offering articles and information about Breathwork; our Facebook page has over 900 likes and followers.
Being the Peak Body for Breathwork in Australia
The ABA has taken massive leaps over the last few years to increase the professional standing of Breathwork and of our professional members. In the changing Australian Qualifications Framework arena, it has become far less possible for Breathwork Trainings to be government accredited, so the ABA has stepped into the role of being the peak body for Breathwork in Australia. We have developed minimum training standards for practitioners and group facilitators in consultation with the ABA’s Trainer members and aligned with the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance. We’ve used those standards to endorse the training programs which meet those standards.
Personally I’ve been working with the Training Standards subcommittee, the Training Endorsement Subcommittee and The Green Book Subcommittee, diligently encouraging and supporting our trainers to have their trainings endorsed, and gathering, clarifying, writing and formatting the association’s policies and procedures – and overseeing the work of the Committee and Subcommittees.
As most of you know, I’m stepping down from the committee at this meeting, so I’ve committed to leaving the foundations strong and making it as simple as possible for others to step into the helm. We now have a highly functioning organisational structure, with clear policies and procedures – it’s a strong container, a bright light and a firm presence standing in the essence of Breathwork.
My three years as President have been very rich and fulfilling, and at times a great laugh – the committee welcomed me with the grand title of Madam Poobah, which changed quickly to Madam Boombah, and have recently grown in esteem with the official title of Right-Pain-In-The-Bum (I think my attention to detail can be a bit annoying!!) I’ve loved the role, and I’ve particularly appreciated the strength and support of the executive committee.
My sincere thanks go to the ABA committee, to the subcommittees, to our members and to all who have been involved. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you all.
I send my heartful blessings for a healthy thriving ABA ♥
ABA Members enjoyed an informative and inspiring mentoring session with Ann Harrison this month on the morning of the AGM. Ann said "she thoroughly enjoyed the Breathwork conversations" about "Flavours of Breathwork" and was inspired by the group that interacted during the mentoring. Ann went on to say "Breathwork is in great hands moving forward" after listening to the passion and questions from the participants.
We were joined ONLINE by a range of member Breathwork Practitioners from a cross section of Breathwork schools and various locations throughout Australia. Based on member questions and organic conversations we delved into other topics such and strategies to support breathers in sessions and the ethics of caring.
ABA Member Mentoring is such a powerful addition to member support and continuous learning as we build our practice in Breathwork and attracts CPE points in accordance with the ABA Guidelines for continuous professional development.
The ABA Committee are pleased to be able to offer this service.
If you have a burning topic you would love for a Mentoring Session to cover or you are a trainer or elder in our community who would love to participate as a Mentor, please contact Jennylee at email@example.com
We were joined online this year for our AGM and thank you to all who attended or sent their apologies. It's a different feel having this type of meeting over the airwaves rather than face to face and we made the most of it by encouraging AGM "parties" at various central hubs.
Joshua Wrest and the Canberra gang (Amber Nomchong and Lisa Petheram) gathered and could be seen munching on dip and celery. Jennylee Taylor hosted a group in Newcastle (Robyn Fernance and some student guests), and Alakh was happily set up in the Northern Rivers area also snacking throughout the proceedings.
Congratulations to your newly elected committee for 2020:
President – John Stamoulos
Secretary – Jennylee Taylor
Treasurer – Margaret Schooneveldt
Membership – Margaret Schooneveldt
Committee Member – Liisa Halme
Committee Member – Joshua Wrest
We particularly welcome John Stamoulos into his new role of President and Joshua Wrest as the newest committee member!
SAVE THE DATES 2020:
2 February 2020
Birth Memory inside a Breathwork Session
23 May 2020
Paddington Town Hall, Sydney
Breathe Australia Conference
5-8 November 2020
Govinda Valley Retreat, Otford, Sydney
2019 Committee and subcommittees met very regularly over the past year and here are some of the reported highlights for the 2019 year:
In the blog "Aussies Fly the Flag at GIC 2019", Mirabai Vines gave us a heads up that the IBF had ratified definitions of Breathwork to better describe the various forms of Breathwork. In the past few years the ABA committe also wrote letters of support and input to the process. We were excited to receive the official definitions from the IBF this week. Thanks to the IBF team and Mirabai and all the people involved in the long term process of getting to this historically significant point in time.
republished from IBF Newstletter 31/8/19...
Hi Australian Breathwork [Association]
In a historic meeting of the AGM in 2019, the IBF community discussed and agreed upon a series of working definitions. This represents a huge step forward for our community and brings together over 25 years of discussion and debate on the subject. The long consultation by IBF involved our community, the founders of Do As One and the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance. The agreement to move forward with these definitions means that we are a big step closer to establishing breathwork as a word in the dictionary and grounding the field and the profession in the mainstream. We are very proud to share our definitions with you.
You can find more information about Breathwork and these definitions on the Breathwork pages in the new IBF website.
Conscious Breathing : Conscious breathing is the practice of breathing with awareness, intention and attention to your inner experience, in the present moment.
Breathwork : The experiential field of study and practice that encompasses a variety of breathing techniques utilised individually and in groups, to cultivate self-awareness and the enhancement of physical, emotional, cognitive, or spiritual well-being.
Conscious Connected Breathing : Conscious Connected Breathing is a breathing pattern in which the breather intentionally connects the inhale with the exhale without any pauses.
Conscious Connected Breathwork : Conscious Connected Breathwork (CCB) is an experiential field of study and practice that uses conscious connected breathing and body-mind techniques to support the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels of being.
Breathwork Practitioner : A qualified breathwork professional who has been certified with a breathwork qualification (training and apprenticeship) that meets the minimum requirements set out by their national/international organisation or training school.
Conscious Connected Breathwork Practitioner : A qualified breathwork professional who facilitates individual and/or group sessions. They are certified with a conscious connected breathwork qualification (training and apprenticeship) that meets the minimum requirements set out by the Global Professional Breathwork Alliance.
With love and light,
The IBF Executive Team
Tucked away in this corner of the world the Breathwork Community is alive and breathing!
When our breath and minds turn east there is a Breathwork community in New Zealand which we have been mutually reaching out to every now and then to strengthen the Breathwork community overall in this region.
At the recent Breathwok Global Inspiration Conference in California our attending team met Louise Waswo a Breathwork Practitioner for New Zealand. Eli Thomas described her recently as "one of us" after meeting and breathing with Louise in California.
Since then Louise has contacted the ABA:
"Hello, I have just returned from GIC and delighted to meet some of the Australian breath workers. I am interested in possibly coming to the Australian Breathwork conference. If you can forward dates and information that would be great. I would like to forward to you also the details of our Retreat in New Zealand for those that may be interested. Thank you Arohanui(Big Love)"
It is with great pleasure that the ABA introduces you to this community "over the ditch".
You have been invited to attend the NZAB Conference 13-15 September 2019.
At the time of writing registrations are still open until 30 August 2019. Patricia - Conference Co-ordinator (Auckland/Taupo) firstname.lastname@example.org
There is so much talent among the Breathwork community in Australia and one of those little gems comes in the form of Rebecca Moore.
Some may remember Rebecca from a Breathe Australia Conference in 2014 when she played some of her beautiful music to entertain us. Rebecca started her relationship with Breathwork when she was 14 after finding a book on Breathwork at her Aunt’s place which had a huge impact on her. In 1999 Rebecca first saw Claire Belton for Breathwork sessions in Fremantle, Western Australia. She began her relationship with the ABA through an associate membership as a "friend" of Breathwork. In 2017 Rebecca commenced her Breathwork Practitioner Training with Claire Belton and graduated in April this year after moving to Perth to complete the training.
Well Rebecca has also been up to other things.
In April this year she released a new album called "Return". This is what Triple J Unearthed had to say about Rebecca's work:
"Western Australian artist Rebecca Moore is an award-winning singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her songs traverse the plains of psychedelic rock, blues/roots and alternative folk.
She has supported many great artists including the Afro Celt Sound System at the Sydney Opera House, Xavier Rudd, Christine Anu, Archie Roach, the John Butler Trio, Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus), Jon Stevens and The Backsliders. She won an APRA Professional Development Award in the Rock category for her debut album ‘The Uluru Concept’. She is the co-ordinator of the Myanmar Orphans Concert Series, which raises funds and awareness for Orphans in Myanmar.
Rebecca's new album spans a decade of touring the songlines both in Australia and the UK. It was recorded with David Sparks at Pirate Studio’s in Tathra, NSW and Martin Russell of the Afro Celt Sound System in London. Her record titled ‘Return’ was released on the 19th April 2019."
Breathwork is a big part of Rebecca's life and when I contacted her not long after the album’s release she wrote: "The Breathwork training was instrumental in my process around the album release, to the degree that I don't think it would be coming out now if it wasn't for that!" The Breathwork training has also been a huge factor in Rebecca’s healing journey with a chronic illness.
You can check out the amazing Rebecca Moore here: http://www.rebeccamooremusic.com
On 4 August 2019, the ABA launched the inaugural Online Member Mentoring Program with John Stamoulos. The mentoring program is intended to provide a way for ABA members to connect with other members and provides a forum for Breathwork peer discussion and guidance from Breathwork trainers and elders in our community. The program also attracts 1.5 CPE points for each mentoring session
John has run successful Breathwork and bodywork practices for many years from his base in Adelaide and Melbourne. He has also held a community Breathing Circle for the past 15 years in Adelaide and travels 5 months of the year delivering Breathwork training in Asia and other countries.
Mentoring participants ranged in experience from freshly graduated practitioners, to practitioners who have been in business for up to ten years all looking to gain some connection and insights into being a practitioner. Reasons participants joined the online mentoring:
"I have literally just graduated as a Breathwork Practitioner and am looking to start my practice. I thought is was a great way to tap into the knowledge and get some tips"
"I practice in another well being modality and have not yet found a way to bring Breathwork into what I currently do. I am looking to stay connected to Breathwork and other practitioners"
"I have been in business for 7 years and am looking for insights into specific client issues"
"I am 3 years into starting business and looking for ways to grow and learn more from those who are already doing it".
John covered tips for starting up in practice to mentoring around client examples and his experience with breathing circles and client work. It was an open forum so that participants could ask questions relevant to their stage. The session is supported by a person who makes sure everyone is heard and w stay on time.
The Online Member Mentoring has been recorded in ZOOM and will be available to all members in the future. We are looking to grow participation and are seeking feedback as to the format and topics.
Ann Harrison has graciously agreed to lead the next Online Member Mentoring.
Mentor: Ann Harrison
When: Sunday 3 November 2019
Time: 9.30 - 11.30 am AEST
Where: ZOOM link provided closer to the date via email
All members welcome.
Contributed by Jennylee Taylor
In 2016, at the ABA Committee Inspiration and Planning weekend I was sitting with Cindy Aulby (current president) and Mirabai Rose (past president), Robyn Fernance (then membership officer) and the rest of the committee at the time talking about the depth of the Breathwork lineage in Australia. We had just worked out that Mirabai and I could have the same “grandparents”. My lineage belongs to the Breathwork Family Tree that started with Ahrara Bhakti who trained Michael Adamedes who teed up with Quentin Watts to train Robyn Fernance who was my trainer.
Mirabai’s lineage also started with Ahrara Bhakti who, as stated above, trained Michael Adamedes who teed up with Quentin Watts to train Denise Burgess. Denise teed up with Michael and Quentin to train Jonine Lee-Gabay who in turn trained Mirabai. During her training, Mirabai was also supervised by Karen Daniel – Ahrara’s daughter, through whom Mirabai says: “I feel the lineage through her so strongly, its an honour to work with her.”
In July, nine Aussies attended the GIC (Global Inspiration Conference) in Joshua Tree USA (Mirabai , Anne , Fey, Josh, Lisa - Canberra; Eli - Melbourne; Alakh, Ghislaine - NSW and Russel - Perth).
I have been attending the GIC for a decade and have loved every single one.
The GIC was attended by almost 300 people, many new to Breathwork.
Asked about the highlights.... I would say that definitely it is the community of breathers, who come together every year and share, reconnect with the breath and inspire each other. We fill each other up for the year ahead. I am so nurtured, nourished and held. It is delightful.
The speakers this year largely focused on conscious connected breathwork and I enjoyed that SO much. It was good to reflect on the foundations of connected breathing practice, and to hear different ways of demonstrating CCB (Conscious Connected Breathwork) and holding space. There were also workshops on working with people with trauma, and also teaching teachers to use conscious breath in classrooms.
I had a lot of fun of an evening, drumming, ecstatic dancing in community; and morning breath practices with the breathairians who taught me so much about life and prana. Truly grateful for their wisdom.
Lastly, I have been chairing the AGM for a few years and it is THE BEST way to engage with our peers. At the AGM the IBF voted in a new definition of Breathwork - which relates specifically to Conscious Connected Breathwork. The IBF recognises that the term 'breathwork' is used as a blanket term for various breathing practices. Given this, there is a need for a term/definition that refers more specifically to our profession. The term Conscious Connected Breathwork was agreed to (although we are open to suggestions for a less clunky name!) and a working definition was approved. Phew! At last...we can EASILY answer the question 'what type of breathwork do you do?'
I invite you all to join us in Sweden in 2020 - reconnect with breath, with spirit, and with our breathing community the world over.
Love xx Mirabai
The ABA committee