Episode 271

Find Clarity through Breathwork with Amy Kuretsky

October 19, 2021

We could all use a little deep breath while running a business these days. But something that can have a huge positive impact on our everyday lives is breathwork meditation. In this episode, Emily chats with Amy Kuretsky, a breathwork facilitator and acupuncturist for business owners, on how to use the breath for clarity, and creativity. They discuss the benefits of breathwork, what it does for our well-being, and how to get started with breathwork in a safe, stress-relieving way.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Breathwork clears us for the deeper work but it also inspires us for the times when we have creative blocks."
- Amy Kuretsky

Discussed in this Episode

  • Breathwork benefits: what it is and why people use it
  • Amy’s experience when trying breathwork for the first time
  • Physical results of breathwork as it relates to stress and trauma
  • Amy’s theory of how breathwork mirrors a sequence of tarot cards
  • Why should creatives and business owners practice breathwork?
  • How often should you do breathwork to experience its benefits?
  • How to start using breathwork in your personal life and in business
  • Everyone has access to their breath— we just need to learn how to use it for our physical and mental health by using guided breathwork
  • Things to do to prepare yourself if you’re new to breathwork

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[00:00:00] Emily Thompson: Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And in this episode, I'm joined again by my friend and fellow boss, Amy Kuretsky, who first appeared on this podcast way back in episode number 77, she's back after five years to

[00:00:23] talk about breathwork a fascinating modality for healthcare and self-care sharing what it is, how it works, why it's a must have in the tool belt of all bosses for managing stress and finding clarity and how you can dive into it too. You can find all the tools, books, and links we reference on the show notes at www.Beingboss.club.

[00:00:43] And if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the show and share us with a friend.

[00:00:50] As a boss, you know, that starting and scaling your business are two very different things, but we have to dive into both first, starting then scaling, and you're going to need help all along the way. And since you're obviously a podcast listener, I recommend checking out the Entrepreneurs On Fire podcast as another resource to help you on your path. From episodes on getting funding, to building businesses based on creative ideas, it features amazing conversations, strategies, and tools that help you tap into your entrepreneurial spirit

[00:01:21] no matter where you are on your journey. Listen, learn and grow with entrepreneurs on fire on the HubSpot podcast network at hubspot.com/podcastnetwork.

[00:01:35] Amy Kuretsky is a breathwork facilitator and wellness coach for mind, body and business, working on occupied and unseated, Dakota and Anishinaabe territory. Her work is focused on helping radical business owners thrive in the liminal space between work and life. She believes that the health of our physical and emotional bodies are inextricably tied to the health of our businesses and that when we work in this overlap, we can build businesses that are heart-centered and healing for both the individual and the collective.

[00:02:05] Amy uses the breath as a tool for healing in both private business coaching and public group healing sessions and has led in-person breathwork groups all over the U S. She completed her breathwork training in 2017 and is currently organizing for more anti-oppression and trauma informed training as part of the breathwork for the people collective along with her coaching.

[00:02:26] She also has a background in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and Cohen's constellation acupuncture and healing arts based in downtown Minneapolis. When she's not supporting others, she's hiking in the woods with her pup playing nerdy board games or pulling tarot cards. 

[00:02:42] Amy, welcome back to Being Boss!

[00:02:46] Amy Kuretsky: I'm glad to be here. 

[00:02:47] Emily Thompson: It's so good to see your face. 

[00:02:50] Amy Kuretsky: So good to see your face, you know, the last time. Well, the last time I saw your face was virtually like several months ago, before that it was in person literally a week before the pandemic broke out. 

[00:03:00] Emily Thompson: You are my last brunch. 

[00:03:03] Amy Kuretsky: It's wild. 

[00:03:05] Emily Thompson: Yeah, I know. I think about that.

[00:03:07] I think about that trip. I was in Palm Springs for, for Alt Summit. You were there just 

[00:03:15] Amy Kuretsky: with, cause I liked early in the winter cause I live in Minnesota. 

[00:03:20] Emily Thompson: Yeah. And we, I don't even remember how we knew we were both going to be there. I don't remember those details or we went and had brunch together and it was so nice and it was my last brunch.

[00:03:34] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. So lovely brunch. 

[00:03:35] Emily Thompson: Right? Oh, what a treat that was. Well, it's good to see you now here. So actually a month after that you came to the Being Boss conference and did some breathwork with us, which is what we're here to talk about today. so it has been a minute since I've seen you and it's, I wish we were brunching, but this will do.

[00:03:55] Perfect. So let's, let's I guess do a little bit of a catch-up. We it's been since June, 2016, since you were on the show. That was a lifetime ago. At least I feel that way, bosses here of like, they know all the shit that I've been through along the way and all the things I've done. I would love to know what's happened with you since, since we talked five years ago.

[00:04:24] Amy Kuretsky: I mean, that really is wild when you say that. And it makes me think of so much change that has happened for both of us in those five years. And before I get into what's shifted for me over the last five years. I think that it's so funny because the last time I was on the podcast, right after we concluded the interview, you and Kathleen and I stayed on Skype because, you know, we were all like interviewing on Skype and it was like pre zoom.

[00:04:50] And we chatted for like a good hour or something. And I think a lot of the conversation had to do with like how all three of us were really leaning into these magical practices that we all had. And we were all kind of like, how much should we like lean into this publicly versus privately? And I think that I ended up doing a reading right there.

[00:05:12] And then for you and Kathleen, and with the question, something around, around like, should we really full on embrace the woo in Being Boss? And the answer was like, hell fucking yes we should. Like, absolutely. And now look here. It is like five years later and you just did a conference that was basically focused on magic.

[00:05:33] Emily Thompson: Right? 

[00:05:34] I mean that, I remember those days very, very well. I guess we were a year, about a year and a half into the podcast and we were just like, we'd already done our first vacation, maybe even our second vacation. And whenever we went to these vacations, all the bosses were like tarot readings and crystals.

[00:05:51] And like, let's talk about intuition. And we were like, guys, we're here to talk about branding and marketing, whatever it is. But like, we'll talk about that. We'd love to, and so we were though, we knew Kathleen and I were having these conversations behind the scene. We knew that it was very much so a part of us, and we were starting to ask the questions of like some of our like favorite listeners in some of the bosses that we were connecting with.

[00:06:14] Like, if we were to talk about this stuff, would you think that we were off our rocker and everyone was like, no, we want to hear it. And so I, I do remember that. And I remember that being such validation and it was funny. I can think of multiple tarot readings that I've had since then that we had along the way where we were, asking questions about how far should we dive in?

[00:06:35] You know, what does this mean for us? And all of them were always like, absolutely. 

[00:06:40] Why aren't you already,

[00:06:42] Amy Kuretsky: I mean, the fact that people especially in the beginning, we're asking you for a lot of this stuff, you know, it just goes to show that they really do hold hands so well, like the practical and the magical, if you want to say.

[00:06:56] And like, that really is what has changed for me so much over [00:07:00] the last five years as well. So, you know, I think when I was on here last, I I'm an acupuncturist for those of you who don't know me. Hi, my name is Amy. I use she, her pronouns. I'm an acupuncturist and a breathwork facilitator and a coach and many other things, but, You know, soon after that recording, I actually ended up merging my acupuncture practice with my now work wife, Kim, and we expanded and hired a team and did that for several years and actually, and then, you know, live through a pandemic, and survived a business through a pandemic, shout out to the profit first business model because holy shit, I don't know if we would have like, you know, the fact that we had that we felt so confident moving through the entire pandemic, even when we had to close our doors completely for a couple of weeks.

[00:07:47] And we were able to like still stay a profitable business. So appreciate that. But yes, we actually just recently in the last month moved into our newer, larger space. We tripled the size and we basically tripled the team. we just hired our 10th employee, so we have a really busy bustling thriving, clinic that we focus on, affirming healthcare for all here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it's mostly a Chinese medicine clinic, but we do also have, some other complimentary services as well.

[00:08:20] So that is what has changed a lot in one of my businesses. And then, on the other side, when that clinic merge happened. And the expansion happened. I really kind of allowed my coaching practice to, to be kind of my side hustle. In some ways you can say, because running, a business that has 10 employees definitely takes up a significant amount of my time in a lot of ways.

[00:08:44] And I love that business, but I'm not quite as much there, physically in the day-to-day clinic work. Because a lot of times I am at home working over zoom on my computer here with clients from all over the world, using [00:09:00] breathwork and other, practices such as tarot and, coaching and space holding in general to support, successful business owners.

[00:09:09] Who've kind of either lost their way or fell out of love with their business, or are just moving through a challenge that they need extra support on and are feeling like they're at a crossroads. And they're not quite sure which way to go with. I mean, who of us? Haven't hit a crossroads over the last 18 months where we didn't necessarily know which way to go.

[00:09:30] So it's helpful for so many of us. 

[00:09:34] Emily Thompson: I appreciate that update. It's been fun watching you make all the moves that you're making. I also feel like I remember some of those first conversations around your first hires of like making this up and these days I very much so like him, that first hire to like the leap of like taking that first leap into, should I start my business?

[00:09:55] Right? The next one that you have is should I make my first hire? Like, it's just as like big and scary of a thing. So now to hear that you're at 10 people. Congratulations. 

[00:10:05] Amy Kuretsky: Thanks. I mean, it's definitely one of those things where like, yeah, you, when you have your own business and you're a solopreneur, like you have a business from like a legal and taxable perspective, you have a business, but when you actually are

[00:10:19] responsible in a lot of ways for other people's income and livelihood, you have a business. And it really feels that way at that point. And it was, you know, within the last couple of years that I really started to feel that shift. 

[00:10:35] Emily Thompson: Oh, nice. Oh, again, such a pleasure, such a pleasure to see it and to hear it and to witness it and know that like I've gotten to like see little peaks along the way.

[00:10:48] But today I want to talk about breathwork. That is like why I brought you in. I feel like you're right over the past 18 months, we've all been, been confronted with crossroads where it's not just four but 18, right? 18 different options lied before laid before us, or just like stress and anxiety and like all the responsibilities and just like, am I going to die?

[00:11:12] If I go to the grocery store? 

[00:11:14] Amy Kuretsky: I mean, all of us are we, so many of us have been in fight or flight. Yeah, or more than fight or flight. All of our nervous systems have been on high alert in so many ways. And there are people out there, there are business owners out there who are struggling. There are businesses owners out there who have closed, who have not survived the pandemic, for various reasons.

[00:11:36] I mean, of course let's not even make light of the fact that like, people are dying out there. Like this is a damn pandemic. And the fact that, you know, the fact that some of us are struggling with making a decision, that to us feels really big, but in the big scheme of things, like there's so many, troublesome things happening out there because of this pandemic and it sucks.

[00:11:59] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Yep. 

[00:12:01] Existential crisis. Everyday 4:00 PM. 

[00:12:05] Amy Kuretsky: Totally. 

[00:12:06] Emily Thompson: I'm totally there. And I know that so many bosses are too. And I also know that you've been practicing breathwork and facilitating breathwork for years, even before the pandemic. So I'd love to just like dive into that. What is breathwork and what benefits does it have?

[00:12:24] Like, what's the purpose?

[00:12:27] Amy Kuretsky: I made it such a like simple, but also complex question at the same time. The term breathwork is as my friend, Jenny Patterson often says it's an umbrella term because really it is, I mean, the word breathwork means anything from what you might do as you're giving birth, when you're doing Lamaze to like what you do in a yoga class.

[00:12:50] Like any time you're intentionally breathing with a specific pattern or a specific purpose, you're doing breathwork. The breathwork that I [00:13:00] practice, has its roots in Southeast Asia for this style. It is similar to like a pranayama and it intentionally moves energy. It intentionally moves emotion.

[00:13:14] It's I like to call it an active meditation because whereas many of us do have a more passive style of meditation when we are really trying to subdue ourselves, calm our nervous systems, ground ourselves in, and kind of like zone out. This is more about zooming in. So it's about, using the breath to like elicit a non-ordinary state of consciousness that then helps us do so many things, for healing

[00:13:46] and for ourselves.

[00:13:48] Emily Thompson: I love that you brought up breathing during pregnancy. Cause I also thought of like hyperventilating panic attacks, like all these moments when you were like, sort of losing control, but need to be in your [00:14:00] body. Right. Breathwork is what we all very innately go back to. 

[00:14:06] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. And like, it's, I love that you brought up like panic attack and that sort of hyperventilating.

[00:14:11] Cause a lot of people there is this like fine line between, okay, where am I hyperventilating and where am I actually like harnessing the breath? Because from the outside it can look somewhat similar. And a lot of times, and a lot of times when we're working with the breath, it's about reclaiming our own sovereignty over our body.

[00:14:34] It's about reclaiming, you know, safety in our bodies, which isn't something that everyone innate. Isn't something that someone necessarily feels currently in their body. And it's about being able to reclaim that with our breath. And I think that, you know, there's a lot of ways to practice breathwork and we can get into this later about like, you know, finding the right facilitator and how to get started and everything, but

[00:14:59] the breath is so powerful. And I think that we don't give it enough credit because if we're just kind of going into it Willy nilly and like, yeah, I'm going to, I'm going to lay down and like do this YouTube video and like, not necessarily know what we're getting into. It can easily turn into, from a space of intentional breathing for healing to a space of like retraumatization in some ways.

[00:15:22] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Right. And I also see it as like, I mean, I actually wonder what your thoughts on this are, but like almost like taking back control. Right. If you can control nothing, you can control your breath. 

[00:15:36] Amy Kuretsky: Yes, totally. And there's so many times in our life where we feel like we have to be in control, especially those of us are like type A or business owners or we feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders and

[00:15:55] grasping for control is often then a form of, it's our coping mechanism in some ways, when things feel out of control, like the world does right now, we try to control everything that we can instead of leaning into practices that help us foster more trust in ourselves so that while we might not be fully okay with things being out of control, we're able to be more resilient through those moments when things are out of control.

[00:16:32] And so like a lot of what breathwork does is it helps us drop out of the brain and into the body because like our brains, they're so smart, they do so many things. You know, we use them all the time, but our brains really, they like to keep us safe. They like to keep us small, you know, the, your brain is that voice in your head

[00:16:53] that's like, you know, don't speak up because someone might not like what you had to say, or like your brain a thing that's like, don't, don't launch that new thing or don't quit your job and start your business because you're never gonna make any money and you're gonna lose your rent or your house.

[00:17:12] And like be homeless. You know, there's all sorts of ways that our brain tries to keep us safe. But just because the brain is trying to keep us safe, doesn't actually mean that it has our best interests at heart all the time. And so when we're using breathwork, we're actually like calming down that voice in our brain.

[00:17:28] And I like to often think of that voice in our brain as like our little kid that lives inside of us. Like little Amy is having a bit of a tantrum because like little Amy doesn't know that big Amy has like the skills and the wherewithal to keep her safe. And so little Amy is freaking out.

[00:17:48] And so oftentimes in breathwork, what we're doing is we're actually like trying to soothe and calm and support that brain or that inner kid voice so that we can actually like take the leaps or make the decisions, or take the path in life that actually we're meant to take little.

[00:18:10] Emily Thompson: Little Emily has all kinds of shit to say for real, right.

[00:18:14] Oh, that's fascinating. I never really thought about it in that way, but as you're saying it, I can completely connect with that sort of result of practicing breathwork. So breathwork is here to get you out of your body. Out of your, out of your brain and into your body. Are there any other sort of benefits that come to body and, or mind from breathwork?

[00:18:40] Amy Kuretsky: I mean, I could talk for an hour just about breathwork, so I'm gonna do my best to keep it concise. But some of the benefits that I would say like business owners love talking about, are they, the benefits that they love seeing are like, it really helps develop our intuition. So it helps develop the clairs, you know, if you're familiar with like clairaudience, clairvoyance, claircognizance, clairsentience like, there's so many different ways that our intuition can come through and breath 

work work definitely

[00:19:09] and strongly, really just like develops that sense of self, that sense of trust, that sense of intuition. You know, my very, very first time that I did breathwork, very first time I was doing it online with a teacher that was out in New York. I had no idea what I was getting into. I had like heard about it through an acupuncturist, blah, blah, blah.

[00:19:35] And I like laid down to do it. And all sorts of wild things happened in my body like physically. And it was really cool and I was feeling energy and she moved my body in ways that honestly, I had never even felt an acupuncture before, but one of the most impactful things that happened during that session was that

[00:19:52] I started up how to vision and I've never been very like clairvoyant. I've always been much more of like a clairsentient, claircognizant even a little bit like clairaudient, but like visually was, that was never a thing. Even when I do meditation and they invite you to like visualize things in meditation, that's always been really difficult for me, but in this breathwork session, I straight up saw myself and like eight other female identified folks in Joshua tree, like in the desert at night around a bonfire.

[00:20:24] And I was just like, huh, what's that about? And then, soon after I just got the download those you're supposed to do a retreat out in Joshua tree and there's going to be eight other bosses there to be at a fire pit with, and lo and behold, about six months later when I really stepped into that courage of okay, this is a thing that spirit keeps telling me, I'm supposed to do.

[00:20:48] I guess I'm going to do it. I honestly sold that retreat out in like, I think under four days and without like any real social media presence or anything, I just like, boom. It was just meant to be, it was the easiest thing I ever sold. had the most amazing, magical transformative time, like out in the desert holding this retreat.

[00:21:08] And so it was a straight up vision. Like I had a clairvoyant vision and, you know, now it's been years and years since then. And I would say my intuition just keeps getting stronger and stronger and I really attribute that to breathwork. So that's like one of the big ones. But you know, breathwork can really help with, feeling confident in our voice.

[00:21:33] Like I'm sitting here talking to you, holding a crystal Cola stone because, you know, as you and I both know, it's like really great for the energy of the throat and for feeling like confident in speaking up. But so many people out there, especially like business owners really struggle with finding confidence in their voice, whether that's through like more of the written word or actually like using their voice and getting interviewed on a podcast or speaking their rates that they want to have with their potential clients.

[00:22:08] You know, there's all these reasons why people feel stuck right there. And when we're using the breath, we're literally moving energy in our throat for a good 30, 45 minutes. You know, we are breathing in and out of our mouth when we do this style of breathwork and it is moving energy in the throat, and it's creating this open channel in that area.

[00:22:31] And when I'm leading breathwork I'm like a sailor. So I like swear all the time. I'm like encouraging people to yell and laugh and people, you know, you're not just like laying there breathing the whole time. You are like having a experience and you are being vocal. And I always let people know that when we're doing like big online classes, like you're all muted.

[00:22:54] You can be as loud as you want. And no one's going to hear you. And like every single time after class people are like, wow, I did not know that I needed to let that much out of my throat. So like, that's a huge thing right there. So I'll just leave it with those two right out of start, but I can go on forever.

[00:23:14] Emily Thompson: I think that's perfect. I think it's funny. I've heard some crazy stories about the things that people have experienced in breathwork, especially those first couple of sessions. I think once you sort of get, once you get in it, things like we'll usually like, even out and it just becomes like this, like really sort of, what like nurturing practice, but usually has first couple it's like, it's whack.

[00:23:38] Amy Kuretsky: Like there's been some stuff in there. So here's what I like to say. one of the things that I'll often and talk about when I'm describing breath, work to people who are new, is that what we're doing is we have all of these stories. We have all of these emotions. We have all of these traumas and experiences that we tend to hold in our body specifically around our belly or our reproductive organs, or like in that general area, that's the area where we

[00:24:05] self-identify with like who we are in the world. And we have all sorts of stories about what those things mean. And one we're doing breathwork. We are breathing those up through the heart space to wash them through and like tenderness and self-compassion and just to be like nice to ourselves during those.

[00:24:23] And then we're like letting them out with the breath. And wouldn't it be nice if all of these things that we've consumed over our lifetimes, that we could just ship them out. Like we did food, like, wouldn't that just be great if we had just like went to the bathroom and we were like, all of this pain or suffering or fear or grief or anything that I'm holding out my body and I just like poop there, it goes by flush it down the toilet.

[00:24:48] Emily Thompson: That would be a really great poop.

[00:24:52] Amy Kuretsky: But that's not how it works. And so in order to release it, we actually have to like, let it come back up and experience it, which isn't necessarily fun by any means, but it's incredibly necessary. And so those first couple of times that we do breathwork there's years, or even generations of emotions of stories of trauma that we've held in our bodies.

[00:25:20] And to allow that to come up and out takes, takes a lot of bravery, but it also takes a lot off of our shoulders in so many ways. 

[00:25:30] Emily Thompson: Yeah. 

[00:25:31] Ooh, you making me, I'm going to go do some breathwork. It's been awhile.

[00:25:36] Amy Kuretsky: I think you've got one of my recordings in your inbox that you can do that.

[00:25:40] Emily Thompson: I have a couple of rounds.

[00:25:42] I have like a nice little buffet. I'll choose perfect. Oh, I okay. So if anyone needs convincing further than that, just rewind and listen to it again, because we are all in these places, right? Where feeling stuck, dealing with so much stuff. And unless you have been the most false person on the planet for the past 18 years, but also your entire life of just like processing all of the things 

[00:26:10] you need to do some breathwork, right.

[00:26:12] Amy Kuretsky: I mean, so here's the thing like the, the benefits of breathwork are for everyone. Like every single benefit of breathwork is available to everyone. And yet the reason why I really love using it for creative entrepreneurs and for business owners is because, business owners are human beings.

[00:26:35] And so often we forget that. So often we treat ourselves like robots. We treat ourselves like productivity machines. We treat ourselves in all sorts of way that we would never treat another human being and to actually tap into a practice that allows ourselves to feel depressed and to be angry and to grieve and to, ask spirit for support or for inspiration or for the muse to come.

[00:27:05] Like any of those things, like it gives us permission to be human in that moment. And I think business owners need more of that. 

[00:27:12] Emily Thompson: Yeah. 

[00:27:13] I also think that there is, you sort of touched on this a little while ago, this idea that, you know, sometimes we're making decisions that feel huge, like the hugest decisions we'll ever make, but like in the grand scheme of things is actually pretty small and we should probably take it a little easy on ourselves.

[00:27:27] Right. And I also think that we're all, especially after the past 18 months in places where our perspectives have gotten. 

[00:27:35] So weird. I mean, like on one hand we see things like broadly in a way that we've never had to before. And that in itself is mindblowing. Right. But also because we're in our own little boxes, the little things that we're doing feel massive when really we should just go easy on ourselves.

[00:27:55] So I also love this perspective giving, sort of by-product of this to make it easier for us to just generally navigate through the responsibilities that we've claimed for ourselves. 

[00:28:08] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. Have I that's reminding me of like the benefit of breathwork that is a lot of clarity that comes from breathwork and it's making me think of, have I ever shared with you my theory about how breathwork mirrors, the second line of the major Arcana?

[00:28:26] Emily Thompson: No, but I'm here for it. 

[00:28:27] Amy Kuretsky: Okay. So there's, you know, there's a flow to the second row of the major economy, when I say second row it's I think what Rachel Pollack, or was it Mary Greer one or the other originally came up with this theory where you like, take the fool out and 

[00:28:45] Emily Thompson: just we're talking tarot here.

[00:28:47] I want to give some personal, we're talking taro and in tarot, there are four suits and the, and those are the minor Arcana. And then there's the major Arcana. Everyone's going to know the full death, the devil there's lots of them, but those are the ones that everyone's going to know.

[00:29:03] Amy Kuretsky: Right. And, and some of the, not all of the big cards, but some of the big cards come in that second line, some of the more uncomfortable cards can come in that second line of the majors. 

[00:29:15] Emily Thompson: So how, how are, what are the lines? Cause I know this in my head, but I don't think I've ever like heard the theory behind the lines of the mainstream.

[00:29:23] Amy Kuretsky: I'm like probably gonna not be able to explain it as eloquently as like Lindsay Mack would be able to do, but I'm just gonna like, try to get out of there, but basically you take the fool out and then you've got like one through seven and then what, eight through 14 and then 15 through 21. And that first line is the, like, it's a lot of, I am statements.

[00:29:45] Like I am the magician, I am the Empress, I am the herefa, all these things. And it's very like, almost like little kid, like claiming their existence in the world. Like, oh, look, I am this, I am this. And then we get to, when we get to the chariot and we actually have to like step out of the chariot to like face the, the lion in strength and actually like go forward in the world and like take a risk in some way.

[00:30:12] And so the line too is kind of this more underworld journey, actually, Lindsay Mack, and I created a whole workshop about this a couple of years ago. You can still find it on her website somewhere, but she talks about the whole second line of being the underworld journey. And then I lead a breathwork session with it.

[00:30:28] That was recorded. And so we start in strength and that's like the beginning of breathwork where we're like kind of nervous to do it. Like what's the fuck's going to happen. I don't really know what I'm getting into, but I'm going to like take this, you know, I'm going to face my fear and do it anyway.

[00:30:44] and then we get into the hermit and we like really kind of go inward in our experience. And we're just like, even if we're in a group of other people breathing, we're like really just in our own experience. And that's very like solo journey thing. And then we get into the wheel of fortune and things start to get spinny and we're like, wow, like shit's going wild.

[00:31:05] Like everything just feels like it's turning a little bit. And then we get into, justice and all of a sudden we have this like moment of clarity and we're just like, wow, this is, this is what's true because we have stories about what's true. But like we have this moment of pure clarity and breathwork where things just become really clear about what is or is not true.

[00:31:29] And then, and then wait. That's. Yeah, so that's 11, so that's justice. And then we go into the hanged one in 12, and that's this moment where we realize we don't have control. Like when we're in the hanged one and we're upside down hanging from our foot. We're like, we don't have control of anything. And we are realizing like how our place in the world and that we actually like don't have control over so many things.

[00:31:54] And that can be a really scary place for people. And it can be scary and breath or two, it can be this moment where like, we have to choose whether or not we are going to hold on for dear life. Even if that means that we're going in the quote unquote, wrong direction, even though there's no such thing as really a wrong direction, but we have this moment and, or if we're going to let go and just trust that spirit has our back, we're just going to trust that we are okay in this world.

[00:32:23] And, it's kind of like a precursor to the death card. We have to actually go through the, like, the struggles, the internal struggles before we can actually. Be in the death card where we grieve and we let go and we cry or we yell or whatever we need to do to shed all of that, that we've been holding on to, and through that shedding in the death card and through that shedding in the crying or the releasing or the shaking that might happen during breathwork, we then get, and death is 13.

[00:32:58] And then we get to temperance at14, where we have this overwhelming sense of connection with ourselves, with spirit, maybe, maybe with another person, maybe with a guide or an angel, or just the connection to our business, even a connection to our work and our, to our creativity. And there's usually so much joy and comfort and serenity that comes up during that time.

[00:33:23] And so like the arc of the second line of the tarot is the same arc of breathwork. 

[00:33:30] Emily Thompson: You just blew my mind. 

[00:33:33] Just blew my mind. Cause I can totally see that. And as you're, as you were sharing that, I was thinking about several experiences that I've also had through breathwork or the moments when I feel called to use it, it's to accomplish literally what you just, what you just walked us through.

[00:33:48] Holy cow. 

[00:33:50] Amy Kuretsky: That came to me in the bathtub one and that was like a new moon or something. I'm like doing a little bathtub. I'm like, oh shit. 

[00:33:59] Emily Thompson: That's amazing. Okay. Okay. Then I take back what I said earlier. If you still need convincing you go back and read, listen to that one for sure. Oh, that's fascinating.

[00:34:11] I'm going to be, I'm going to be sitting with that quite a bit. One of the things that came up for me as you were talking about that is I can recall very clearly, probably in sort of like a turning point in burnout for me. I remember being at my grandmother's on the farm in Northern Indiana, so flat, right.

[00:34:30] Very quiet landscape. I remember going out for a walk by myself and I walking down a very flat straight road and I could probably see two miles in front of me. And I was like, I'm walking to the end and turn around, walking back and I box breathe the entire thing out there and back. And I remember, I remember while I was doing it thinking like I'm doing something, you know, and whenever I came back, feeling so much more at peace, and again, I recognize that I still recognize that as one of those turning points in my burnout was that four mile walk box breathing, the entire thing.

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[00:37:03] Amy Kuretsky: Well, I love that you brought up this specific story cause have you read that book burnout by what is it that the Gosky sister 

[00:37:12] Emily Thompson: I have read, probably a third of it. Some of it, I have it. I've read some of it. I think it's great. I don't remember why I didn't finish it.

[00:37:19] Amy Kuretsky: It is great. And I really love how they talk about, you know, that burnout often happens when we are consistently unable to complete the stress response.

[00:37:31] Yeah. Like that's kind of their basis as of a lot of their thesis of their book. And, and they talk about different ways to complete the stress response. Because if we don't complete it, then we're stuck in either fight, flight or freeze. We're in one of those, and that's not a sustainable place for our nervous systems to reside.

[00:37:50] And yet that is where so many of our nervous systems are on a regular basis, but, you know, they, they kind of, I forget all of the different measures or ways that they talk about completing the stress cycle, but the two that they talk about, First our exercise and breathwork. And if you think about it, you know, exercise any sort of slightly higher intensity exercise, you're getting your heart rate up and your lungs are breathing at a faster rate.

[00:38:17] So you are moving a lot more breath. And both of those things, they help complete the trauma response. They help complete the stress response. And you know, when we complete those, that is what lets our nervous system and our brain, because our brain is part of our nervous system, know that we are safe and that is so important.

[00:38:39] Emily Thompson: Yeah. 

[00:38:40] Oh, okay. Wonderful. Thank you for all that little journey you just took us all on. I feel like we've touched on several of these along the way, but I'm going to pose the question in case there's like more specifics or more do you have to add to it? And that is this, this, you wonder, like why, in case anyone needs further convincing.

[00:39:02] Why should creatives or business owners slash entrepreneurs practice breathwork? 

[00:39:08] Amy Kuretsky: Well, it's so funny. I actually wrote an entire newsletter. Not that long ago. I think it was like seven reasons why seven minutes of breathwork is what you need. If you're a creative entrepreneur. And it's basically like this exact question, but, you know, a couple of my top reasons are like, I really do feel like breathwork, brings our brain to a place where it can actually do deep work.

[00:39:37] And I feel like deep work is something that's really missing a lot in our current culture because we are on high alert all the time and we are putting out fires all the time. you know, I love what Tara McMullan has been talking about lately about, what does she call it? It's a certain type of content where she's like, it's, it's all about depth as opposed to like, you know, lots of short form content.

[00:40:02] It's all about like really going deep and to create that sort of depth in our content and in our just creation in general, we have to be able to like clear out the cobwebs of our brain and to really focus and a lot of what I've been talking about up until this point with these really big experiences and that whole like, you know, arc of breathwork that's, I'm talking about that more in terms of like a 30 minute breathwork practice, where you lay down and it's like a healing session because like first and foremost, I'm a business owner, but I'm also a healer.

[00:40:38] Like this is what I do is I help support other people find the healing that they have within them. And those sessions are a bit longer. However, you can do 7, 10, 12 minutes of breathwork in the morning at the start of your day and not be in a puddle of tears afterwards, but instead be clearheaded, be focused, be inspired. 

[00:41:04] I have on many occasions, you know, woken up it's Tuesday morning, shit. What am I going to send out in my newsletter today? I've literally written nothing. For one reason or another. So I lay out my Nat, I laid down, I put my little eye pillow over my eyes and I turn on Spotify to like one of my favorite playlist.

[00:41:25] And I breathe for like two or three songs and boom, every single time I get a bolt of inspiration about what I should talk about, or like a story comes to me that has, a new layered meaning that I think my audience really wants to hear about or like every single time. So it, it, it clears us for that deeper work, but it also inspires us for one, we're just having writer's block, like plain old writer's block.

[00:41:54] you know, I also love breathwork because, because it is breaking us into this altered state of consciousness, or this, like instead of that, maybe I would rather say like a non-ordinary state of consciousness, but it's in that sort of space that we've created on our own without outside pharmaceuticals or psychedelics or anything like that.

[00:42:18] It puts us in that space where our subconscious is a little bit more malleable and we really can start to rewire the brain and change the way we think. And I know that we have all, you know, lots of people have different ways of doing this, whether it's like NLP or it's through hypnosis or like, these are all wonderful tools and breathwork is another one.

[00:42:39] And so, I really encourage my clients to use their voice and breathwork. You know, like I said before, they're going to yell or scream or laugh or something, but I also encourage them to talk to themselves and maybe use affirmations or, you know, imagine a mirror and like talk to themselves in that way.

[00:43:02] And oftentimes a really profound changes can happen about what we believe about ourselves and what we believe is possible, and that happens through breathwork. I could keep going again. 

[00:43:17] Emily Thompson: Y'all if you need more convincing a million reasons. No, I think you've hit on some major ones. And the one that I really want to sort of highlight here, one of the ones is I feel like every boss I talk to, if I'm like, how are you feeling?

[00:43:32] Like if I really get them telling me how they're feeling scattered, but it's like the one word I hear most often, or this idea of like, I, or what do you, what do you want to take from this actually at the gathering last week, we always do intention setting before any, like at the beginning of any event.

[00:43:50] And one of the things that was coming up in the, in the chat feed, as I was saying, like set your intention, share it. Like, what do you want to get out of this? clarity, clarity was a thing that came up over and over and over again. I think we are all hungry for this, like for clarity and light and this sort of separation from the feeling of scatteredness.

[00:44:12] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. And like decision-making is a huge part of what I do with my clients. I really come at coaching from a, maybe a slightly different perspective than your average business coach, because I don't, even though I have 10 years of experience in business, I really come at it, with taking off my expert hat and instead putting on my like facilitator hat or something where I'm holding the space, with breathwork.

[00:44:42] And also I use tarot a lot in my coaching sessions. Like we'll, if we are feeling stuck on something, I'll like pull a card because, but I don't use it in a predictive, like, oh, the card says this, therefore you need to do that. It's more like, here's what the card is usually about. What do you, what does that bringing up for you?

[00:44:59] Like how do you feel that's applicable in this way? Like, I like to use it more as a mirror so that people, like, some of my clients can actually be like, oh, wow, that reminds me of this thing. That makes me think of this thing. That then helps me get way more clarity about this decision I want to make.

[00:45:14] And, and breathwork in the tarot, I feel like they go similarly in that, because what they're doing is they're, there's zooming back there kind of, getting we're so granular all the time, like how you were saying before. We're so zoomed in that we think that every decision is like the biggest decision ever.

[00:45:33] And what breathwork does is it kind of pulls us back to see the bigger picture. What tarot does is it pulls us back to see a wider landscape. But I think that those things are so important when we are making decisions in our business. And every single time I've made a big decision in my business. You can bet your ass that I've laid down and done some breathwork first before I made that decision.

[00:45:55] Emily Thompson: Right. And I also love this idea that I feel like we're also so like overthinking everything because again, in a lot of ways, our lives have depended on it on us. Like really seeing everything from every angle over the past 18 ish months. But I love this idea that both of these tools gives us the space

[00:46:17] to just be curious and not like a curiosity that we're betting our logs on. Right. But this space to just like ask ourselves questions, look at things from different angles, open ourselves to inspiration or those little like, you know, little sparks of something that shows up. I love that both of these tools just gives us base.

[00:46:39] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. I mean, exactly. Like, I feel like. You know, when people are not feeling creative, it's usually because they've stifled because we're all creative. We all are innately creative. Like think about the kid whose favorite toy is a box that they can just like play with for hours, even though there's all these expensive toys around them, you know, like we are innately creative beings.

[00:47:03] And what happens is that chipped away over time through social conditioning and capitalism and you know, all of these things that, basically put our creativity on a leash and then like, get it closer and get it closer and reign it in. And I feel like what breathwork really does is it takes your brain and it lets it off the leash for awhile.

[00:47:22] So it can like roam around and see what's out there. 

[00:47:25] Emily Thompson: Oh, I like that too. Perfect. Then let's talk about what it looks like to actually get started. Let's say someone's listening to this. They're like, this sounds fascinating. Let me do it. Where do you start? 

[00:47:37] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. Great question. You start with someone that you trust basically, because I really believe that breathwork is incredibly potent.

[00:47:47] It's incredibly, has huge potential for healing and also that it can create harm. Like I will just say that that, because breathwork gets us to a more vulnerable state in our subconscious that if you do not trust the person that it can, that trust can easily be broken or disintegrate and harm can be created in that way.

[00:48:11] So I do think it's important to start with someone you trust. I generally say that if you are someone that has never experienced, significant trauma or PTSD or anything like that in your life that you, you can go online and do a YouTube video. Like I have a video, even on my website, I've got like a free 10 minute practice that I lead by video on my Amy, Amy Kuretsky website.

[00:48:39] You can do one of those. I generally think that anyone who does live with, you know, chronic trauma, or PTSD symptoms, that's, working with a facilitator one-on-one there are plenty of facilitators out there, but having someone hold space for you. For that session, I think is really important. But there's, there's also like books out there

[00:49:02] my friend, Jennifer Patterson created a book it's called the power of breathwork. I always recommend that one. she wrote it from a very trauma informed, and anti-oppression lens. And that one really talks about breathwork in that umbrella term where she's teaching the box breath along with the style of breath that I practiced.

[00:49:25] She's someone that trained under the same person I trained under and then, her and myself and some other folks last year, did some organizing work around, trying to make that training, more, inclusive and anti-oppressive in different ways. so that's a really great place to start. I also, what else do I want to say about that?

[00:49:51] I think that one of the things that I love about the breath, the most that I think is really important to state is that we all have access to the breath inside of us, every single one of us. So no matter who you are, no matter what your income level is like, you can find breathwork that is accessible to you.

[00:50:16] Cause we all have it. And it's just about finding the person that you feel most comfortable with to teach it to you, but then you have that forever and ever, and ever, and no one can ever take that away from you, which is why it's my favorite healing method ever. Why? I think it's the most accessible healing method in the world, just because we all have access to the breath.

[00:50:37] We don't need a single tool or stone or crystal or like acupuncture needle or anything like that. But so those are some of the things I would start with. You're welcome to go to my website. I've got a ton of information there. I lead group classes every couple of months or so the next one is coming up mid November.

[00:50:57] I think it's like November 21st. So I lead group classes that I do as sliding scale, so that they're really accessible for everyone. 

[00:51:08] Emily Thompson: Love it. I want to note this trusting situation. I remember getting here about 10 minutes into a YouTube meditation once, and then this idea floated across my mind of like, what if I'm being hidden and not hypnotized into doing something dumb.

[00:51:24] I became terrified. I feel like that was my Kathleen moment of like, I'm just going there. Right. You got is hugely important because you don't want to take that stuff, that stuff into there. And what are your thoughts about, I mean, I know like in-person is a little like iffy at the moment. Right.

[00:51:43] But what are your thoughts about like, why should someone choose something virtual or prerecorded versus joining a group class or doing something in person? 

[00:51:55] Amy Kuretsky: Well, first I say I'll first start by saying that, I would change [00:52:00] that question to be. somewhat self-directed or like prerecorded self-directed versus facilitated, because I think that, in-person facilitation and online facilitation is equally as successful and effective.

[00:52:16] When the pandemic started, honestly, it was like no sweat off my back in some ways, when it came to my coaching and breathwork practice, because I was already doing it over zoom and I long believed that the effectiveness of doing it over zoom is equal to the effectiveness of doing it in person.

[00:52:33] But the reason why you'd maybe do a recorded one versus a group session versus a private session would be this. Like I said before, if you have a history of complex trauma, You would want to do a facilitated session first, because you want someone to hold that space for you and you might need someone to help process afterwards.

[00:52:54] And also if that's the case, you also want to, I want to really strongly [00:53:00] state that breathwork practitioners are not therapists and they are not trained as therapists and they are not regulated as therapists. And so if, while breathwork is a wonderful tool to move trauma through the body. It's still important to have someone to cognitively and verbally process with.

[00:53:15] And so, if you have a good, breathwork facilitator, hopefully they would ask you if you have a therapist to work with through these things as well. So that's one reason also, if you just do better with a lot of one-on-one attention, which like some of us do, I know for me that I like a group class, but I, I am more likely to get a lot out of a session if I have the full attention of the facilitator.

[00:53:41] So that's why I generally choose to do one-on-one work. Group work though is great because it creates community and sometimes people really crave that community. And they want to know that their experience, that they're not alone in that experience. And by doing a group session, even if it's an online one, you know, sometimes my online groups have like 20 people in them.

[00:54:03] Sometimes they have like 80 people in them and always there's deep connection and community forming within those sessions. And so that could be a reason why you would want to do a group session or for financial reasons if, you know, because of the pandemic, finances are extremely tight right now, a group session is usually a more affordable option.

[00:54:23] And then I generally find the recordings are great when you've already done a little bit of breathwork. If you're not a newbie and you're like, I've done this before. I know what I'm doing. Great. Use all the recordings in the world. You can use the same recording every single day. If you wanted to, recordings are wonderful.

[00:54:41] However, they're better. If you know what you're doing. 

[00:54:44] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Perfect. And we will be including all the links to all the things mentioned in the show notes, everything on Amy's website, all the things. So that's all there. Next question for you for, getting started with this. Is there anything that you should do to prepare yourself, especially for your first sessions?

[00:55:02] Amy Kuretsky: The only thing I really think that is, well, I'm just going to say by start by saying that everyone's different, so everyone has different needs. And I just, like I said, about how I feel that this, the best healing modality, because it's the most accessible one. It's also the most flexible one where like really, you can make it work to whatever your needs are.

[00:55:27] So like for me, what I like to do when I'm doing breathwork is I like to have the house to myself because I want to be able to like yell or scream and like not have my partner downstairs, be like, what is she doing? I know that that's not necessarily available to everyone right now, especially if you have children or if you have roommates, but that's some, you know, having at least a small amount of privacy, I think is important.

[00:55:54] Also other than that, just like somewhere where you can be comfortable. I used to really preach that we needed to be like laying down. Cause that's like how I was taught by my teacher, but you know, not everyone can lay down. I'm someone that lives with chronic pain and have had multiple surgeries for that pain in my life.

[00:56:09] And like sometimes I can't lay on my back and I need to get on the electric recliner and just like recline back until I can. Or, you know, if you're late stage pregnancy, maybe you need to lay on your side instead of your back. So I don't think that there's anything like that. And other than that, just like creating a safe, creating a space that feels safe for you.

[00:56:29] So maybe that means having your favorite stuffed animal nearby or lighting some incense that you really like or finding your favorite rose quartz and holding onto that during the session. 

[00:56:39] Emily Thompson: Wonderful. So easy and accessible again. Super love it. All right, then let's talk about, let's sort of wrap this up with

[00:56:47] what a breathwork practice looks like. So how often should you practice? Is this something you recommend doing every day or a couple of times a month? And any tips for working it into a routine? 

[00:57:01] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah, I mean, once again, incredibly flexible. I can tell you what I currently do as an example, because I don't think that there is like a should with this.

[00:57:10] I will do a shorter, like seven to 10 minute practice at least once a week. Maybe more than that kind of like, as I need it, like I did a little bit today. Cause I knew I was going to be here with you. And then I'll do like a longer session either one-on-one with someone or maybe I'll join someone's group and I'll do that about once a month.

[00:57:33] And that's what my practice looks like when, before COVID I was like doing a lot more in-person stuff with, there's a, another gal here in town, who does it and that we would, you know, do sessions for each other a lot. You know, things are a little different now with COVID, but I generally will do like a longer session a month and then shorter.

[00:57:52] However, I do have some clients, that will take some of the recordings that I've made for them and listen to them every day. Like I have a client that took a 30 minute recording that I made for her and she listened to it every single day for 30 days. And then I got an email from her after the 30 days being like, holy shit, this, these are all the things that have shifted, transformed for the better for me in those 30 days since I did this every single day.

[00:58:18] So like there's not a right or wrong.

[00:58:19] Emily Thompson: Yeah. I love that. Okay. Perfect. How and where can people find more about you and what you do? 

[00:58:27] Amy Kuretsky: Yeah. So if you want to learn more about breathwork, you can find that at amykuretsky.com and if you're local to the twin cities and you want to check out our acupuncture clinic, we would love to have you over in Northeast Minneapolis.

[00:58:38] And that's that constellationacupuncture.com. 

[00:58:42] Emily Thompson: Perfect. And then the final question for you is what's making you feel most boss? 

[00:58:48] Amy Kuretsky: I finished a New York times crossword puzzle the other day. Pretty awesome. After I did that. 

[00:58:58] Emily Thompson: That is maybe the most bossy answer I've ever heard to that question. 

[00:59:02] Amy Kuretsky: It wasn't a Sunday or anything like that, but I was still really impressed with myself.

[00:59:05] Emily Thompson: Nice, congrats. How many times did you google? 

[00:59:08] Amy Kuretsky: None. No, this is like none.

[00:59:10] Emily Thompson: Legit. Congrats. That is boss. 

[00:59:14] Amy Kuretsky: It was like a Tuesday, but still. 

[00:59:15] Emily Thompson: Still that's nice. Perfect. Thank you Amy so much for coming to hang out with me. This has 

[00:59:20] been a treat.

[00:59:22] Amy Kuretsky: Thank you, Emily. 

[00:59:25] Emily Thompson: All right, boss, because you're here. I know you want to be a better creative at business owner, which means I've got something for you. Each week

[00:59:33] the team at Being Boss is scouring the news, the best entrepreneurial publications and updates and releases of the apps and tools that run our businesses and is curating it all into a weekly email that delivers the must know tips and tactics in the realms of mindset, money and productivity. This email is called Brewed.

[00:59:50] We brew it up for you each week to give you the insight you need to make decisions and move forward in your creative business. Check it out now and sign up for yourself at beingboss.club/brewed. That's beingboss.club/B R E W E D. Now until next time, do the work, be boss .