Ep #181: How Breathwork Can Help You Actively De-stress with Samantha Skelly

We can all benefit from actively de-stressing and taking actions that help us process our emotions from the day so we can feel better naturally. So today, I’ve got entrepreneur, speaker, author, and wellness coaching expert Samantha Skelly joining me to share some ideas on how to do this in a positive and effective way.

Samantha has revolutionized the weight loss industry by examining the underlying causes of food, body, and self-love issues. Listen in as she shares how to use breathwork to de-stress, the science and psychology behind breathwork, and why it works to help us unhook and clear the mind so we can access our intuition.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What breathwork is and how it helps.
  • Examining intention behind consumption.
  • How Samantha found breathwork and her journey to facilitation.
  • The science behind breathwork.
  • How you can better access your intuition.

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Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 181.

Welcome to Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, the podcast where busy doctors, like you, get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight so you can feel better and have the life you want. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Well, hey there, my friend. How are you? So glad to have you back. I am really excited about the guest that I have for the podcast today, but before we get into that, I want to just remind you that I have a number of great resources for you that are on my website. If you just go to katrinaubellmd.com/resources, you’re going to find a digital book there for you. You’re going to find my six steps to jump start your weight loss. It’s just a real quick six steps. Pick one, start applying it to your life kind of thing. There’s just a whole bunch of things on there to help you get started. So have a look at that and start taking some action toward getting the results that you want in your life. Now, one reason why I brought on my guest today, Samantha Skelly is because I know that for so many, well basically every human being on this earth, but for sure, the physicians who listen, we all need to be actively de-stressing.

We all need to be taking actions that actually help us, like in a meaningful way to process our emotions of the day, be able to reduce our stress levels and just allow us to feel better naturally just from doing those things. And so there’s so many different ways that you can do this, but I find that a lot of people kind of check a few of them out and then they’re like, that’s not really for me. I don’t really like those things. And so they just go on doing nothing. And so I think it’s really important for me to expose you to different options, just different things to try that you might not have heard of. And so you’ve heard me talking about tapping before. Of course, I’ve talked about meditation before, you know, some people love doing yoga, some people find that through exercise, they really feel like they’re processing a lot of emotions.

And then of course there’s thought work and actually looking at what’s going on in your brain, asking yourself how you feel and all of that, which I teach, but in the last year or so I met this woman, Samantha Skelly, Sam Skelly, and I learned what she does. And it was just super fascinating to me and I’ve tried it out as well. I think it’s a really awesome way of dealing with emotions and actively de-stressing that is more active is something that you have a little more control over, and I think that you might be really interested in checking it out and learning more. So let me just give you her bio information just so you know a little bit more about her. Samantha Skelly is a seven figure entrepreneur, sought after international speaker, bestselling author, and wellness coaching expert. She founded both Hungry for Happiness, a movement that helps people experience true transformation and happiness through trained certified coaches who utilize emotional and energetic coaching techniques and Pause Breathwork, which has a mission to unite humanity by helping people breathe, feel and thrive.

Samantha has revolutionized the weight loss and self-help industries by examining the individual and underlying causes of food, body, and self love issues. She has shared her mission on an international platform with appearances on global TV, Shaw, NBC, CBC, and BBC. She’s also been featured in various publications, such as Forbes, the Huffington Post, the Elephant Journal and the Prevail Project. Samantha continues to spread her message and transform the lives of tens of thousands of people through her programs, worldwide international retreats, motivational speaking engagements, her popular Hungry for Happiness podcast and her bestselling Hay House book Hungry for Happiness. So I’m super excited to bring you my conversation with Sam Skelly. She is someone that I met through a kind of a different program that we were both in, and I was just super curious about what she did and checked it out myself. And I wanted to share all of that with you as well. So please enjoy my interview with Sam Skelly and I’ll talk to you next week. Hey Sam, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Samantha Skelly:         Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here.

Katrina Ubell:      All right. So let’s just start off with you telling us a little bit about who you are, but then also your story of how you came to find breathwork.

Samantha Skelly:         So I grew up as a dancer and a child actress so my entire life, I was either on a stage or in front of a camera. So it was my whole entire life. I was a ballerina. I trained 30 hours a week and it was an intense upbringing as a child. So I basically stopped acting and stopped dancing when I was 18 years old. And from then I developed like an intense, unhealthy relationship with my body and with food. It was a time in my life where I was on over 50 diets in less than four years, trying to figure out how to eat like a normal person, how to really handle my relationship to food. I can remember those days where I would wake up in the morning and the first thought on my mind was how, like, I can’t wait to go to bed tonight because my thoughts were just racing and racing and racing and racing. And so I kind of sought out life coaches and mentors and things like that.

Samantha Skelly:         And everyone and their dog would be like, just meditate. Just take some time for yourself. Just slow down. And like the thought of slowing down back then was like, I hated it. Like, I’m like, I’m going on speed a hundred. I don’t care. I’m just going. And so I remember I would try and meditate. I would sit down, I would try and meditate and my thoughts were just like racing like crazy. And I would get up 20 minutes later feeling even more anxious and even more stressed out. So basically I read the book. Have you heard of the book Eat, Pray Love?, Like 10 years ago. It was like really-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, yeah.

Samantha Skelly:         … 10 years. Yeah. So, so I read-

Katrina Ubell:      Elizabeth Gilbert.

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah, it was like, I think that was like one, I don’t know was that like one of her like early big ones, I think Eat, Pray, Love was?

Katrina Ubell:      I think that was her second book. I feel like she had written one book before that. And then she went and did this one and then, you know, nobody expected it to be, certainly not her, she didn’t expect it to be as big as it was, but I remember she was like on Oprah. It was like a really big deal.

Samantha Skelly:         It was crazy. It was busy. So I read that book and I thought to myself, well, I’m just going to go to Bali then. I’m going to go to Bali. Bali is going to fix all of my problems. So I packed a suitcase or a backpack and got a one way ticket to Bali. And I was like, you know what, maybe I’ll try meditation in Bali, maybe it’s different here. I don’t know. You know, it’s like, wherever you go, there you are. But I was intending to go to this meditation class. I ended up missing the meditation class and I didn’t have anything else to do that afternoon so I landed in this breathwork class. And I went into this breathwork class and the man, the man came up to me and he was like, are you ready to go on the ride of your life?

Samantha Skelly:         And I’m like, what are you talking about? And he was like, he’s like breathwork will allow you to feel all sorts of different things that you’ve never felt. At that point in my life, again, I really only felt anxious or anxiety. You know, I had no connection to my intuition. I didn’t know the difference between an emotional hunger cue and a physical hunger cue. I had no idea what the sensations of my body meant, because I just completely blocked them out and I was up in my head all the time. And so I was like, ah, this bro does not know what he’s dealing with. Like, I don’t know how to feel at all. Like sure, try your like hippie stuff on me, but I don’t think I’m going to be a candidate for this. So I lie down and he asks us to breathe in this very particular way.

Samantha Skelly:         And within moments I was like, oh my gosh, like I am feeling my body feeling activated in a way that I’ve never felt before. My mind is clear for the first time in so long, I’m actually feeling the vibration of my heart, which is something that I’ve never felt ever. And so I left that class and I went up to him and I was like, what was that? And how does the world not know that this exists? And I remember him telling me at that time, and it’s ironic now, 10 years later that I actually do this for a living. But he did say at that time he was like, maybe you’re the one to tell them. And I have that memory, I have that moment etched in my memory forever because I think it’s just so ironic how the universe just lines things up all the time. That seed was planted then, and now 10 years later, this is exactly what I do.

Samantha Skelly:         But my first company Hungry for Happiness, where we help people who struggle with emotional eating and binge eating, I started to test out some of the breathwork methods with them. I did every facilitator training on the market at that time. 10 years ago, it was very limited, but I did every single one. And I began to just support my clients who were struggling with emotional eating and binge eating. I started to teach them breath work. And they were like, “Oh my goodness, I had no idea that I could feel, I had no idea that I could tell the difference between an emotional hunger cue and a physical hunger cue. I didn’t even know that I had emotional needs until I really got in my body and became embodied.” So that, that work started to progress with, with my clients in Hungry for Happiness. And then two years ago we started Pause Breathwork, which is, you know, a brand of its own.

Samantha Skelly:         And our mission with Pause Breathwork is to decrease human suffering and increase human consciousness through the power of breathwork. And it’s super exciting. It’s super exciting. It’s the most beautiful thing with breathwork is it’s instant and it goes right to the source. You know, we don’t have to meditate and work and take it slow and just wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. We’re directly in the pocket of where we want to feel into. And another big difference with breathwork is we don’t have to think about how to feel better. We just go right into the energy of what work, we just go right into what we’re experiencing. We begin to feel through it and heal through it. So that’s sort of my journey with it. I healed myself with my eating disorder through breathwork. I then supported my clients after I healed through it. And now, now I’m teaching it and facilitating it and training facilitators and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So it’s been my journey.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. And so by eating disorder, it was binge eating disorder is what you-

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      … deal with?

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah. Like I restrict and overeat, restrict and overeat, yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay. And then just totally curious, because you know, the whole dance and acting, you know, like that’s such an intense, you know, kind of industry anyway, and of course completely centered around what you look like. And I was curious, it really was you stopped and then started having that problem. Did you start gaining weight because you weren’t so active anymore? I’m just curious-

Samantha Skelly:         Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      … thought that it would have, if I had to guess I would have guessed it would have started while you were doing it.

Samantha Skelly:         So the body image issue started as young as 12. So I was always like hypercritical, hypervigilant around my body, but because I was an athlete, it didn’t take a hit on my food. I was very conscious. When I was 18, I stopped exercising. I stopped dancing. I stopped doing everything. I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m not active anymore. I got to go on a diet. Actually the first diet that I ever went on was the Cabbage Soup Diet where I, have you ever heard of? The classic.

Katrina Ubell:      The classic.

Samantha Skelly:         They should just brand that diet called the classic. And I remember my mom went on that diet and lost a bunch of weight. And I was like, “Oh, this sounds like a good idea.” And you know, it was just diet after diet, after diet, after diet. I actually ended up in the hospital for a period of time when I was about 19 years old because I just was not feeding myself. You know, I wasn’t getting the nutrients that I needed. And it was really bad. I actually, I wrote about this in my new book that’s coming out, it’s called My Diet Depression Phase, where I couldn’t eat like a normal person. Everything had to be calculated and measured and I would write down everything. And if I, I always had to hit a deficit in order to lose more weight. And then I had a really unhealthy relationship with exercise, you know, exercise addiction, and was like-

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, we can talk about that. I want you to talk about, because you did fitness competitions for a while. And I want you to talk about that just really briefly because I have definitely had people, not necessarily so much my clients, but people who have listened to the podcast have emailed me and said, like, I know I’m going to be able to do this, and it’s my goal to be able to compete in one of those fitness competitions. And the more that I’ve learned about what that is like, the less supportive I am of people. And I’m just really curious for you to share your personal experience with it, but also what you saw just within that whole-

Samantha Skelly:         Definitely. I mean, with anything that we do in life, we always have to ask ourselves, what’s the intention behind why I do this? Even when it comes down to food, right? Like what’s the intention as to why I’m having this piece of chocolate cake? Is it to just enjoy it because I am like celebrating and I’m connecting with friends or is it coming from this place of fear? Because I want to numb my emotionality, right? So it’s like intention behind consumption. Are there people who do fitness competitions and they do it for like the art of it or the sport of it?

Samantha Skelly:         I’m sure there is, but I can guarantee you that that number is probably less than 5%. I did that to cover up the fact that I was really struggling with my eating disorder. I was really struggling with food, really struggling with my body. And so it was a socially acceptable way to manage my food and exercise in a very disciplined, structured way that came off to the world as, like, everything’s cool, but really, deep down, the only reason I did it is because I didn’t trust myself to not go on that journey. And if left to my own devices, I would eat down the house and I wouldn’t exercise or whatever. I wouldn’t exercise or I would completely overdo it. Like there was no just like, hey, we’re just going to move our body because it’s healthy, you know, none of that.

Samantha Skelly:         Like yesterday, you know, I’m at my cabin right now, so there’s no workout gear here. And so yesterday I just put a playlist on for half an hour and I just danced for half an hour. I would never let myself do that in this diet depression phase because it wasn’t strenuous enough. It wasn’t hard enough. I didn’t kill myself while doing it. So the whole journey of being in the fitness competition industry or I don’t even know if you’d call it an industry, but I had to, like, I worked out for two hours every single day. If I didn’t work out for two hours every single day, then I would feel so much guilt and so much shame. I remember I could have six almonds a day and I remember eating each one, like soaking the almond in my mouth, letting it melt so it became mushy so I could enjoy that bite. Like, are you freaking kidding me?

Katrina Ubell:      Getting like every ounce of possible pleasure that you could get out of that one almond?

Samantha Skelly:         Oh my God. Yeah. I remember there’s this brand up in Canada. I’m originally from Canada. There’s this brand called David’s Tea and there’s this one particular brand of tea that’s called Birthday Cake. And it’s just tea. Like there’s nothing else in it, but there’s these tiny little flakes of like, I guess they’re like sugar or something like, they’re, whatever. There’s like a little tiny bit of a sweetness, like maybe one gram of sugar for like 10 cups. But I remember drinking that and then feeling so guilty that I had that tea that had a little bit, like it was so, it was so intense. And then I just got real with myself and I’m like, man, the only reason I’m doing this is because I’m trying to cover up this disorder and I really need to get to the bottom of this because this disorder is getting in the way of literally everything, my romantic relationship, my work, my business, everything. You know, it’s like my 80% of my mental capacity on a daily basis was spent worrying about my body and food. It was so insane.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. Wow. And like, just because of Eat, Pray, Love, right? You were like I’m going to go to Bali and because you missed a class and you just showed up. Isn’t that amazing? I love that.

Samantha Skelly:         You know what? It’s the easiest things in life, the lap drop things in life that are like, I’m like, all right, that was like a gift from the universe. Like, because if I didn’t do that-

Katrina Ubell:      Just like saying yes to things, because you could have been like, dude, that’s okay. I’ll come back tomorrow for the next meditation class.

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah, exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      You easily could have said, oh no, I’m not here for breathwork. I’m going to leave.

Samantha Skelly:         A hundred percent, and I even judged it like so hard. I was like, breathwork, I’m like, that sounds stupid. And the class was three hours. I forgot to tell you that. The class was three hours.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh my God.

Samantha Skelly:         I’m like, three? Like I’m going to sit there and breathe for three hours. Are you guys whack? And so I’m like, you know what? I came all this way. I might as well. So yeah, I did it and it literally changed my life. It really did, but breathwork has this amazing ability to change my life every single time I do it, which sounds like so crazy, but you’ll get it once you start doing it. Like every single time I do it, I’m like, oh, there’s another realization. Oh, there’s another thing that I need to let go of. Oh, here’s another, I don’t know, it’s just so cool.

Katrina Ubell:      So, it’s basically like another way for you to tap into your emotional life to figure out what’s going on for you. Would you say-

Samantha Skelly:         That’s it.

Katrina Ubell:      … that that’s a way of describing it?

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Because I know a lot of people listening are going to be like, this is really woo, and also still, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So I just want to share what my experience was, because I met you-

Samantha Skelly:         I love it.

Katrina Ubell:      … And I found out what you had and then you have like a free breathwork meditation. Well, it’s not meditation, breathwork. What do you call it? Breathwork?

Samantha Skelly:         A breathwork journey, yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Journey. Thank you. Okay. And so I started doing it at home and so I’m doing it. And I start noticing like how I’m feeling in my body. And immediately my brain goes to doctor brain and is like, this is stupid. Why? Like, literally that was my first thought of this is stupid and why am I intentionally hyperventilating? And so without going into, and then I shared that with you.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m like, I think you’re great. And I’m sure it’s amazing, but my brain is like this is stupid so can you help me understand better why we’re doing this?

Samantha Skelly:         Yes. I love it. I remember that text. I think we were in Hawaii at the time, weren’t we? Or I don’t know, I can’t remember.

Katrina Ubell:      We were, and I would love for you to explain a little bit more about the science behind it. Like what is actually happening when you breathe in this way and you know, what, like what is the purpose to what we’re doing?.

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah, yeah. So I’m going to, I’m going to answer this question from two ways. I’m going to answer it from like a scientific point of view and I’m going to answer it from like a personal development, spiritual development point of view. So at any point in time we have three pillars of connection. So we have our mind that is feeding us information. We have our emotional body that is feeding us information. And then we have our intuition that is feeding us information. So when someone says to you, follow your intuition, you’ve got to fight through the mind. You’ve got to fight through the emotions in order to get there. Now unless we spend hours and hours and hours on a mountaintop meditating with no distraction, that’s a really tall order to ask of someone, which is why we’re all so confused and lost because we don’t have a connection to this intelligence in our body.

Samantha Skelly:         So what breathwork does is through an act of practice, we’re using the breath in a very connected and continual way. It unhooks the mind. It clears the emotion and we get direct access to our intuition. So what that’s doing is, so even like a lot of the emotion that we’re feeling in our body is not ours, especially for those people, and I’m assuming a lot of nurses and doctors and people who take care of people are highly empathetic. They can take on people’s emotions fairly easily. I’m sure. So what we’re doing with breath-

Katrina Ubell:      What we do is we learn how to not do that because otherwise we would die.

Samantha Skelly:         Actually. That’s true.

Katrina Ubell:      We learn how to just lock that, you know, and squash it, and just tuck it away for later because you couldn’t even go about your day otherwise.

Samantha Skelly:         That’s actually, there you go, that’s a good point. That’s a good point. But do you think the natural essence of someone in that role is, like, they care, that’s why they got into it-

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, yeah. I mean, they-

Samantha Skelly:         But then they, they’ve gone-

Katrina Ubell:      I think it’s very, very few and far between, like, any person who goes into healthcare, especially being a doctor, you know, coming at it totally as like, I want to make a ton of money. Like it was, you know, a couple decades ago where people were like, yeah, yeah, this is fine, but really I’m in it for the money. I mean, you have to have some sort of connection to actually caring about people wanting to help them, you know, like having a servant’s heart to go through the whole, like all of it, of like what’s involved, to go through the process of even just becoming a doctor and then, you know, doing it.

Samantha Skelly:         But then it gets to a point where you’re like, okay, I need to like, not be emotional about this because I got a job to do so I need to be very logical and structured, yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. And then, you know, no one teaches us how to feel our feelings or even words to describe our feelings or how to process that or how to take care of ourselves. So when you spend all day, like, just imagine, you know, like I always that, some of the specialties in particular that come to mind are like someone working in an ICU, someone working in an emergency room, someone I always think about, you know, our obstetrician-gynecologists who are on the labor or they’re going from like, think about a doctor who’s going from having to tell this family that their baby is not viable or that their baby has died and they have to figure out how they’re going to process that and deliver this baby.

Katrina Ubell:      And then they have to walk out of the door and go into the door next door, like the room next door, where there’s like a normal, healthy pregnancy happening. And they’re about to deliver a baby. And then you want to be like, all happy and joyous, and celebratory with them. And you literally are acting in a lot of ways, like Glennon Doyle talks about like, you’re sending in your representative. I think that that’s such a good way of talking about it because sometimes it really is like, if I show up as me right now, it’s just not going to work. I have to send in my representative, but then we don’t know how to actually tap into it.

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah, because you’ve been so conditioned to act as that avatar, as that representative, that person it’s like, it becomes conditioned.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh, it totally does. And then when you’ve done it for so long for so many years, and let’s not even gloss over the fact that, you know, while you’re learning to do this, you’re also a student so you’re getting all these messages from the people above you about like, you did this wrong, you screwed up on that. Like, I mean, this is, you know, especially like, I mean, I don’t want to necessarily like generalize, but in surgery and maybe it’s even gotten better since I went through all my training, but it’s not unusual to have the attending surgeon yelling at the resident while they’re operating. Because they screwed something up or didn’t do it the way they liked it or whatever.

Samantha Skelly:         Oh my God.

Katrina Ubell:      And there’s just, like, so much pressure and then scuffing that, and then no one teaches you how to deal with it. Like I’m always like, of course you’re eating to feel better and drinking alcohol, are you freaking kidding me? What else are you supposed to do? No one’s helping.

Samantha Skelly:         That’s why they got you. They’re like, “Help! Help me feel my things.”

Katrina Ubell:      So I was like, I need me, that’s how I came into this role. So yeah, I think if you look at it like every day there’s going to be emotion to be processed, then you’re open to how to do that. And I think that sounds like what you’re saying. Like with breathwork it’s like an avenue into that.

Samantha Skelly:         Absolutely. Yeah. I call it the door in. People have many different doors into spirituality and you know, you talked about, before we started recording, like how you love, just like walking by the creek and like that’s your way of like connecting with nature and like maybe that’s your door in for, you know, maybe meditation is some people’s door in. It’s definitely not mine. Maybe dance as therapy is someone’s door in. But we need a door into that like spiritual, emotional world that otherwise remains silenced and muted for a lot of people, especially doctors, for sure. So breath in Latin, so breath and spirit in Latin mean the same thing. So when we intentionally use breath, we’re able to tap deeper into our spirit. So for me, it’s like my door in is like super easy access to my spiritual world, every single breath pattern as well is connected to an emotion.

Samantha Skelly:         So if we know through the power of breathwork, how we want to feel, we can literally manipulate our breath patterns in order to achieve a certain felt sense in the body. So relaxation is one particular breath pattern versus anxiety is a completely separate one. So if we are present and aware of what is going on with our breath, and say we are feeling anxious and we want to tap into relaxation, well, we know exactly how to breathe in that particular breath pattern in order to activate that energy, that vibration in the body. So it’s, it’s deep. It’s deep. Now, from a what is actually happening as we’re breathing, we’re exhaling more CO2 than normal. We’re creating more, the blood is becoming more, we’re going into respiratory alkalosis. The blood is becoming more alkaline.

Samantha Skelly:         The brain is actually seeing things in a new way. When we are fixated on fear and we’re so wrapped up in fear, we are focusing on one thing which is rooted in fear, which is creating an activation of fear in the body. And that’s just creating a feedback loop all day long, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, which we know creates a lot of physical ailments in the system as well. So if we release the mind, shift the pH of the body, allow the brain to see something in a new way, oh, I feel a new sensation, a different sensation in my body. I’m now experiencing contentment. Okay. Well, what are the thoughts that go with contentment and how can I create a positive feedback loop under this energy of contentment, not fear? So we’re able to really shift the energetics and it’s really, my philosophy is always the bottom up approach. So really starting in the body, starting with the energetics, shifting the energy at a very core level and then allowing the mind to catch up versus the other way around.

Katrina Ubell:      Got it. Yeah. That’s so interesting. That’s so interesting. And I just love it as an opportunity, just like you’re saying, like for the people who have like, listen, I’ve tried all the meditation apps, I’ve done it all. Like I really tried and it’s just not my thing, rather than looking at it like, well, there’s just no self care, you know, kind of, I always call it like, you know, active de-stressing like things that you can do that are active to actively process what’s going on for you. Because we think, you know, I’m just going to like de-stress with my glass of wine in front of Netflix, except that is not at all what happens to us when we do that. So I just think having the exposure to another opportunity is amazing for that. So, okay, so you have taken, I mean, I loved it. I think you told me once, you’re like, “Oh, I spoke at a real estate convention,” and like, because right. Because like people I think, and I, myself included, I’m like, this is like a super woo-woo thing and I don’t know. It’s kind of like it’s a little out there, but like real “normal” people are doing this, right?

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah. It’s so interesting. So, my audience is normally women age 25 to 45 who are kind of into personal development already, you know, they read the Eat, Pray, Love books, they listen to podcasts, that kind of thing. So that’s who I normally speak to. So, I get a call last year from this real estate conference. They’re like, “Hey, we have a group of 3000, mostly men, you know, 95% men at this conference. We’d love for you to come in and do breathwork.” And the first thing I thought of was like, are you freaking kidding me? Like, okay, I’m really comfortable with speaking to women about this because like, they kind of get it already. But like this group of men, like, okay, this is, this is going to be, this is going to be work. But anyway, I’m like, yeah, sure.

Samantha Skelly:         You know, saying yes to life, right? I’m like, yes, sure. I got it. I can do it. I’ll knock it out of the park. Yeah, I’m like, let’s go. So I show up in LA at this swanky hotel and I go into the room and some real estate dude is on stage talking about how you could just make more money and hustle and grind and go. And I’m literally next. I’m like, this is crazy. And actually this event really holds a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons. But after me was Kobe Bryant. So I got to meet him before he passed away, which was like, yeah, I was like, he, and he just, he’s an amazing person, but it was this like hustle, go, go, go, go, go, dude. Then it was me. Then it was Kobe.

Samantha Skelly:         And I’m like, okay, this is, I feel so out of place right now, but I’m just going to go with this. So, I hop up on stage and I just do my thing and I made pretty much the entire room ball their eyes out. It was crazy, dude. I got off stage and all of these men like flooded and they wanted to talk to me. Every single story was like, I haven’t cried in 30 years. This was amazing. I finally forgave my dad. I’ve hated myself my whole life and you finally, I finally felt self love in my heart, like over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Samantha Skelly:         So, when it comes to breathwork and my intention and my vision and my mission with Pause with my company is to mainstream it and make it so basic that people get it and they do it, and they’re not sort of like, they don’t poo poo on it because it’s like spiritual or woo-woo because it’s so powerful and it gives people such incredible transformations so quickly. But, like myself, I also was like, breathwork, this is like bull. Like, I’m not going to do this. Right? Same thing with you.

Katrina Ubell:      Forcing myself to breathe this way. I felt actually the resistance to doing it. My body being like, stop hyperventilating. Stop doing this. You don’t need to breathe so fast. Like that was my experience the first time doing it. And then when I texted you and you were like, yeah, push past that. I was like, “Oh, okay.”

Samantha Skelly:         Because we also have to figure out, is it the mind or is it the body? Right? Like was that your mind speaking to you or was that your body? Like, we should definitely listen to the body if the body is like, because I know through breathwork, I can bring in a lot of energy in my body through breath. And sometimes my system is like, okay, that’s it, we’re good now. But when I first started breathwork my mind is like, stop this, stop this, stop this. This is crazy. So, it might’ve been your mind versus your body.

Katrina Ubell:      Well, probably. I would guess that if I had to make a bet. I would bet it was on that. Yeah. So, okay. So now, you know, I mean you speak and whatever, but like right now people aren’t traveling and like, you know, so the good news is that you have, like, a home program that you can get and I have it, and it’s great, and you basically can do this on your own guided by you. So talk to me a little bit more about that.

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah, definitely. So it’s a six week program. You can go through it at your own pace. Every single module is a video teaching plus a breathwork audio plus a workbook. So you can listen to the teaching. So I teach you all about breathwork, et cetera, et cetera. Then you listen to the audio and then fill the workbook. And along with that, we have a community as well that you can hop into and ask questions, and really, really engage as well. But it’s like, it’s a starting point. It’s a starting point for people who have never tried breathwork before to just get amongst it and just like begin to learn, understand how this method can work for you and how you can see the shifts and the changes in your body so rapidly, especially for someone who has been emotionally constipated for their whole life like I was. So, it’s very digestible. It’s very easy to use and it gives you a foot in into breathwork and what it is. And obviously there’s lifetime access for that. So you can just keep using those, those audios as you want to.

Katrina Ubell:      Those audios again, yeah. And I think it’s just such a good accessible way of trying it out.

Samantha Skelly:         Definitely.

Katrina Ubell:      And it’s not like I have to fly across the country and do a week long retreat to be able, you know, or go to Bali, for God’s sake, to learn how to do this. It’s a way that you can explore it and you know, like I said to you, I just think it’s great to offer just different ways because people are going to, if you’re willing to try enough things, you’re going to find that thing that really, really works for you. And it’s just, it’s not enough to just be like, oh, these things I tried didn’t work. Like you have to find the thing, whatever that is for you.

Samantha Skelly:         Absolutely.

Katrina Ubell:      Like, you have-

Samantha Skelly:         Whatever your door in is.

Katrina Ubell:      … to find that thing that is going, yeah, exactly. Whatever your door in is. So, yeah, I think that’s so awesome. I can’t wait for everybody to try it. I think, I think it’s going to be really interesting to see because I can already, like, in my mind’s eye, hear the pulmonologist being like, “Okay, so wait, you’re becoming alkalotic on purpose?” And the answer is yes.

Samantha Skelly:         Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      Again. This is not like a new thing. Like this is-

Samantha Skelly:         No, no, no, no, no, no.

Katrina Ubell:      … around. The roots in this, right, like are super deep.

Samantha Skelly:         Oh yeah, this has been a practice for… ever, forever. Just like meditation, right? Like yeah. Meditation. We were born with the ability to do this. We’ve just forgotten. Right? Like we were all born with the ability to understand how to use food for health and hunger, but we forgot. And that’s why we need people like you to re-teach us how to do that. Right?So, same thing with breath. Like we were created with this mechanism to deregulate our nervous system, to live a life of wellbeing and happiness. We’ve just forgotten. We’re all jacked up, emotionally constipated. We’re not breathing. And so we got to get back down to truly basics, truly basics.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, and mean, I noticed the two of us, we were talking about when I’m stressed, I’m holding my breath so much. And my breath is so shallow. Like, I don’t actually really breathe. I don’t utilize my lungs in the way that they are meant to be utilized. And, and yeah. I mean, you know how, I don’t know if it’s the Buddha said that like, you know, meditation is just like one conscious breath, something like that. I’m totally like, you know, very much taking liberties on that one, but like, you know, if you ever do take, you know, just take one moment and you just like take a good cleansing breath or whatever. Like it really does change everything. It changes the way you feel, you feel more connected with yourself. You feel more calm. It’s just, it’s amazing. So if that is the case, then why couldn’t something like this work?

Samantha Skelly:         Absolutely.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s why I’m always like, I just like to be open minded to things like let’s look at this. Right? Why not?

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah. That’s how I’m like, still. Like breathwork is a hundred percent my thing, but I’m still like, all right, teach me. What other kinds of weird crap can I make myself feel good with?

Katrina Ubell:      And what’s cool, you know, it’s like, you always have the ability to do it. You don’t need like, you know, you’re always breathing hopefully. Right. So you don’t need to have any special equipment, you don’t need to have anything, you can totally just do it on your own.

Samantha Skelly:         We’ve overcomplicated how to feel good.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, exactly. Tell me, just because I’m curious, what your personal practice is with breathwork?

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah. So I, so in the morning I do five minutes continual breath in the morning. And so one of the breath patterns that I’ll teach you in the course is called the halo act of breath, so it’s two breaths in, one breath out. The breath is looping, it’s connected. So I do that for five minutes in the morning with a hold at the end. So I’ll do five minutes and then deep breath in through the nose, hold at the top, and then relax.

Samantha Skelly:         What that does, is it clears out any energy that has been kicked up through my dreams because I’m a very active, I like remember all of my dreams, and of course, when we’re dreaming, it’s creating reactions and sensations in our body. And so to start my day fresh, I just do five minutes in the morning and then I do the same thing at night, five minutes at night as well. Three or four times a week, I’ll do a 20 minute to 40 minute session lying down on my mat, breathing with some really beautiful, intense music to help guide my body through the experience. So yeah, I’m obsessed. I love it.

Katrina Ubell:      Anyway, it’s not like a hugely time consuming kind of thing we’re talking about. That’s fine.

Samantha Skelly:         No, no, no, no, no, no, not at all.

Katrina Ubell:      Cool. Okay, Sam, where can people find the specific course?

Samantha Skelly:         Yeah. So, if you go to pausebreathwork.com/journey, you will be able to find the six week course there. If you want to read all about it and read the story, the Hungry for Happiness story, you can go to hungryforhappiness.com/buybook. We are in presale for the book now. And then, yeah, if you have any questions, reach out to me on Instagram. I got you.

Katrina Ubell:      Yay. That’s great. And yeah, what’s your handle on Instagram?

Samantha Skelly:         @SamanthaSkelly.

Katrina Ubell:      All mushed together. Okay. Well thanks. Thanks, Sam. Thanks for sharing breathwork with us.

Samantha Skelly:         Of course. Thank you so much for having me.

Katrina Ubell:      Did you know that you can find a lot more help from me on my website? Go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.


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  • laurie

    LOVED this episode, loved Samantha. My good friend had told me about this breathing technique last year, and the podcast re-peaked my interest in this. Will definitely try. Loved Samantha – loved her spirit, how real she is. My favorite thing she said – find your door in. Second favorite when she was thinking “are these people wack!”

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