By Nevsah F. Karamehmet

I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT breath techniques were no different from pyschological drugs. People nowadays somehow choose addictions instead of real healing. Practicing breath techniques for me is like eating a banana every single day. You get addicted to the state the technique is providing and soon become a state dependent person. I have tried maybe hundreds of different techniques including diaphragmatic breathing, rebirthing (which is chest breathing mostly), pranayama, kriya, transformational breath, sufi breath, art of living and many more and yet somehow could not find what I was looking for.

Why? Because I don’t eat bananas each and every single day either! For me, being and staying at a certain state does not feel good or free. I like eating and tasting everything in life. Life is such an adventure, such a colorful expereince. Why should I stay on one state of being when I can experience endless states of my being? I have been into breathwork (even if I dont call it ‘’work’’ anymore) for 15 years. After trying, learning, getting certificates on different breathing techniques, joining different workshops, groups, organisations and teaching most of the techniques, I realised that all of those were right and wrong at the same time. Somehow ‘’the choice of being in one state’’ was the main problem. And that was a dysfunctional breathing habit, a breathing problem. Breath is such an endless, unpredictable, free, spritual being. It just can not be controlled or put down to one specific figure. It just can’t. When we practice one kind of breathing, it not only becomes our dysfunctional breathing habit but also limits the way we view, experience, understand and enjoy life. Life is also endless, just like breath. How can we stick to one kind of living habit as we do in breathing?



After 15 years of working with breath, analysing, testing, learning, researching, talking to doctors, trainers, clients I learned that each and every single person builds a different dysfunctional habit after 3 years old. Dysfunctional habits somehow get triggered from many situations in life.

Such as:

Social: specific people, social situations, authority figures, intimacy,

Environmental: physical locations, times of day, environment changes,

Travel: meeting new people, airplanes, elevators, unfamiliarity,

Tasks: public speaking, test taking, driving, playing an instrument,

Emotions: stress, fear, anger, frustration anxiety, depression, worry,

Behaviors: initiating sports, going to sleep, changing posture,

Symptoms: fatigue, headache, pain, breathlessness, asthma, arrhythmias,

Cognition: expectations, specific thoughts, memories, intentions, beliefs,

Physical changes: exercise, breathing sensations, hunger,

Physical challenges: allergy, medical condition, effects of drugs,

Self: responsibility, self-esteem, self confidence, vulnerability.

So we as breathworkers have to ‘ to not work with the breath’’. Instead of doing exercises around it, we have to learn to analyse the breath, figure out the dysfunctional breathing habits learned in our client’s childhood and coach them to learn a new healthy breathing habit. Practicing breathing techniques is nothing more than taking a pill when we feel bad, stressed or when we have aches. It is not going down to the core of the problem and healing the cause. We need to find the cause of the discomfort our clients are experiencing and work on changing it, not practicing some technique thats going to be useful for awhile. People have dysfunctional habits and they get stressed because of stress not because stress stresses anyone, but because they have the dysfunctional breathing habit and they just cannot handle stress. Practicing a technique won’t help them cope with stress untimately. It is going to make these people dependent on the technique. We did not heal them, we taught them a method they can use when they are stressed, to get rid of the discomfort they are experiencing. But we did not dig into the main cause which is the dysfunctional breathing habit and heal it.




Breath is not something to be worked on, or manipulated or controlled. We can and should let the breath be as it is, and surrender to whatever is going on in our breath. Every manipulation, every technique, every ‘’work’’ we do with the breath leads to dysfunctional habits which are the cause of many problems we are facing. We do not need breathing techniques, we need to relearn our dysfunctional breathing habits and learn new healthy habits in our everyday life. And that would be by working with a breath coach who can really, truly analyse the client’s breath, dysfunctional habits, breath chemistry, pyschology, behaviour and physiology. •

Nevsah F.Karamehmet has led more than 100,000 people in her seminars in Turkey and Europe and trained thousands of breath coaches.

Nevsah has nine best seller books and many awards. She will be speaking and doing workshops at the NewLife Expo in New York City, March 16-18,

2018. For information, call 516-897-0900 or vists or