“I Took A Class With Australia’s A-list Breathwork Guru”



You’re probably doing it wrong. Don’t worry, I’m doing it wrong too. The average human breathes about 25,000 times a day and there is a very good chance that your breathing is “dysfunctional.” That’s why, on a wet, unusually cold spring Sydney night, I’m lying on a floor surrounded by 20 strangers, all of us taking incredibly deep and fast inhalations. I later wonder what we must have looked like to anyone who had wandered past – a hyperventilating pod of urbanites in coordinating monochrome activewear?

In and out, you might think. In and out. Breathing is arguably the most instinctual thing a human being can do. However, according to a new breed of practitioners and proponents of breathwork, there is so much more to it. And right now, everyone from oat milk-drinking yoga hipsters to CEOs want in. There are now breathwork clubs cropping up across Australia; influencers schilling its myriad benefits across social media; and breathwork classes being offered in more inner-city gyms than you could poke a Lululemon tote bag at. For the go-big-or-go-home crowd, devotees can even invest in a breathwork holiday (Breathless Expeditions offers trips to Mt Kilimanjaro, the Snowy Mountains, and New Zealand’s South Island, the latter two done in minimal clothing for the full Wim Hof).

Out of all of this, Warnock has emerged as a bit of a star, the name to know in this increasingly crowded space. His classes book out; he regularly flies around the country coaching the sorts of people who can blink and move the ASX 200, and he is an official ambassador for Lululemon and Puresport.

“It was one of the most profound out-of-body experiences that I’ve ever experienced. And I don’t say that kind of thing lightly. I felt joyful, I felt strong, I felt empowered…I remember sitting on my mat, laughing and crying at the end of the session and just thinking, ‘what the heck just happened?’”

– Rory Warnock, breathwork coach

Here’s what a lot of us are currently doing instead of breathing properly: Taking short, shallow breaths through our mouths, which only part-way fill our lungs. (Some of us even hold our breath on occasion.) This not only affects how much oxygen is in our bloodstream, but it can also create stress responses throughout the body. And when this happens, “your mental health, your physical health are at risk,” Warnock explains.

Breathwork, on the other hand, helps people “[tap] into the nervous system” and fuel cognitive and athletic performance. And Warnock should know; as an ultramarathon runner, he once ran 250km across the Atacama Desert in six days.

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Read Daniela’s very funny and enlightening story on the “new meditation” at PRIMER.


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