The Modern Day Mystic - Sunday 2nd at 9.00

So……I am excited!  After three years of reading libraries of books, undertaking some deep, deep practices and fascinating research, and scribbling away furiously, I am going to reveal some of the material from my new book at a lovely festival called Breathe in August. This festival is organised by someone very special who I have known for a long time and she has  invited the top International teachers of Breathwork to run workshops and talks there (in amongst some other fantastic offerings – including an outdoor swimming pool).  It’s going to be quite an experience…unforgettable…unmissable!

As many of you know, I am a Doctor and lecturer in Psychology (expertise in self-awareness), an author and the Director of a social enterprise called it out). I am also an inspirational speaker, a very loving mother and over the last few years people have been starting to refer to me as a modern-day mystic… Ooooo fancy!  To be honest I am not particularly fond of titles as they lead to all sorts of pre-conceptions and the idea of a mystic certainly brings up all types of associations and imagery. For example, that I am going whip out a crystal ball and appear shrouded in a purple mist (although that might be quite entertaining).  But….as the mist starts to dissipate what emerges is nothing ‘all singing and dancing’ but actually something rather private and something really quite humble.

The etymology of the word Mystic, we can trace to The New Testament and the verb muoand this simply means ‘shutting the eyes and mouth to experience mystery’.  That’s pretty nice…and something softens in me when I hear this.  We are also pleased to discover that whilst religion is exoteric i.e. it comes externally, that Mystic is esoteric i.e. it is internal or contemplative. Grand narratives, or being told what to do, or what to  believe (externally), have become increasingly difficult for many of us and therefore religion problematic for many modern-day seekers.  We are talking about unseen forces here and as we have seen again and again in the past these have been exploited.  It becomes difficult to know what to believe, it is sometimes difficult to know your new-age bullshit from the life-changing practices. Moreover, these unseen forces have been side-lined and mocked by traditional Western Science, but …these forces can never be ignored or pushed away even if they are obscured.  We are in a new epoch and these unseen forces are creating (as Nikola Tesla predicted) the greatest of revolutions.  And, this is not just in quantum mechanics (where the unseen forces are kicking ass) but within each one of us.  In the book I call this wonderful internal transformation, The Silent Revolution of the Self.

Each of us has a different and unique understanding of our own internal worlds, of our own belief systems.  If we choose to tune into our internal world, transcend the chatter of the mind and recognise the life-force within as a deep intelligence we are stepping into the mystical realms.  The words of the ancient mystics become so beautiful and profound and they touch us so deeply that they bring us to tears. We learn to sense and develop an internal barometer to gauge and be guided by the unseen forces (and to sniff out the bullshit).  A more beautiful world of many different realms then opens up. We become the Christopher Colombus of our own internal world, embarking on an adventure of a life-time.  We thrive…,life becomes more simple, we become more humble and everything all of a sudden makes just perfect sense.



What to expect in a Breathwork session...

What is it?

·      Breathwork is a general term used to describe any type of therapy that utilizes breathing exercises to improve mental, physical, and spiritual health. Many forms of breathwork therapy exist today, each with their own unique methods of using breath for healing purposes. Drawing from Eastern practices like yoga and Tai Chi while also incorporating Western psychotherapy techniques in order to bring about self-awareness, breathwork can include elements of talk therapy, breathing exercises, art, music, and bodywork. This therapy can be used with individuals, couples, and groups and should be facilitated by a certified professional.


The Breathwork at Breathe – A Festival of Life

·      By using a simple, gentle conscious breathing technique. We learn to breathe more fully, freely and naturally again, the natural healing processes that we all hold within us are activated. With inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content of the experience is unique to each person and their intentions and needs. 


How is it done?

·      A private session is usually broken into three parts, around 30 minutes talking and exploring issues, up to 1hr of breathwork and then another 20 minutes or so of integration and talking, depending on the session

·      The conscious breathing session is usually done lying down in a relaxed and comfortable place

·      You learn to consciously connect your breath so that there are no pauses between the inhale and the exhale. The breathing is full and also relaxed. Slowly you are guided to find your own rhythm, probably slightly faster and fuller than you are used to.

·      There might be music playing


How does it work?

·      It is based on the belief that the body wants to heal itself and it has everything it needs to be able to do this. It will always be working towards that state of balance, and by accessing this healing space within ourselves our awareness is brought to whatever needs to be resolved. That is why every session is so different.

·      So the breath acts as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious, between the mind, body and the spirit. By connecting with the breath we can tune into our deep intuition, which will always direct us to the best outcome. 


What happens?

·      Through breathing continuously in a balanced cycle without break, your body takes in more oxygen than usual

·      Activation of vivid memories, pictures, emotions or body sensations can surface to be reviewed, released and integrated. These can come from as early back as your birth.

·      You will always know where you are, you are merely observing yourself, as an onlooker.

·      Through conscious connected breathing you accumulate life force (prana, chi, ki) which starts to move freely through you body (experienced as tingling, energy rushes or waves).


The breathwork practitioner

·      Will be there to hold the space for you and to guide the breath & the journey

·      To help you integrate whatever comes up in the session

·      They will be non-judgmental and compassionate

·      It is important to be able to form a trusting relationship with your practitioner

·      Whatever comes up for you is the most important for you at this time. It is important to trust that you will only experience what you are ready to explore




What is Breathwork?

‘Breathwork is the use of Breath Awareness and Conscious Breathing for healing and growth, personal awakening, and transformation in spirit, mind and body.’ This is a definition by Dan Brulé, in his book ‘Just Breathe’.

We all breathe, even if we were not consciously aware of it all day long, we are definitely breathing! As human beings we can take conscious control of our breathing to our benefit. Such capacity has the breath to transform our lives! Yet we all too often do not maximise the use and benefits of this amazing system. In fact, it is very common to even hold our breath as we go through every day life, especially when we are stressed or angry or sometimes just thinking. Go on try it……. Stop for a minute and notice your breath…….where does it go in the body? Are there any areas that feel tense…….just take a moment to be still and notice…….

These days Breathwork can be found in many, diverse settings from counselling to coaching, pain management, childbirth, schools, drug rehabilitation, medicine, military training, social work, the performing arts, the list goes on!

Learning more ways to use the breath in every day life can help us in so many ways. It can help us to slow down, accept ourselves as we are, offer more joy in life and in our every day contact with others. It can reduce the effects of stress and PTSD, pain, depression and anxiety, increase clarity, focus, energy, calmness, improve sleep quality, enhance immunity, and boost cardiovascular and respiratory function.

Rebecca Dennis, a workshop leader this year at Breathe, explains, ‘Breathing is something we all know how to do. And yet, the majority of teenagers and adults let go of their natural ability to breathe fully. We are conditioned from an early age to control our feelings and emotions, and as a result our muscles tighten and our breathing patterns become restricted. The impact on our mental and physical wellbeing is huge.’

Anthony Abbagnano, also speaking and delivering a workshop at Breathe says, ‘Our brain uses 20-25% of our oxygen supply as nourishment. But in today’s world with pollution, air-conditioned environments and less exercise, we are just not getting what we need. The result is dimmed awareness, foggy thinking, confused and/or slow responses, inability to make clear decisions and more, but we have got so used to it that we think of it as normal. We accept diminished vitality as our baseline, and our brain and being learns to live with less.’

When we learn to breathe more fully, freely and naturally again, the natural healing processes that we all hold within us are activated. With inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content of the experience is unique to each person and their intentions and needs. 

Breathwork is not a new concept. It has been used for thousands of years by many different cultures that recognized the profound physiological effects it can have. For example, in yoga the importance of observing and regulating the breath has always been stressed. The most ancient sourcebook for yoga practice, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, includes breathing practices - ‘Pranayama’ - for health and well being but also to draw in, channel, and store universal life energy so that it can be used to facilitate self-evolution. In Sanskrit, "prana" means not just breath but also the life energy that fills the universe.

Breathing is at the heart of virtually every meditation system, helping us to focus our awareness totally on the present moment.  Anthony Abbagnano speaks of his Alchemy of Breath practice, ‘For those who have meditated before, you will find the experience a powerful way to support your practice. For those who know they should meditate but don’t, the Alchemy of Breath will provide you with an instant opportunity to connect to the benefits of deep meditation, simply by the practice of slowing and connecting to the breath.’

Anthony explains that when we increase the doseage of oxygen to the brain, we ‘awaken the system again, and through our connected breath pattern, we not only restore our brain by giving it what it truly craves, but we also nourish our internal organs, release locked in trauma and discover so much more too.’ He adds, ‘The body is an archive of everything we are born with, as well as all the trauma we may have faced as we have moved through life. Learning to live with unresolved trauma is possible, but oh how it limits and controls us! We get ‘triggered’ easily, misinterpret and mishandle situations, and may create many unnecessary and avoidable obstacles for ourselves as we stumble though life, uncentered and relatively ineffective whilst governed by our past stories and pains. There is another way! A way where we seek resolution instead of temporary relief. A way that connects us with our innate wisdom with compassion and joy. A way that creates harmony and peace in our lives’, ‘In our busy lives, where the demands of our work and home life compound the stress and anxieties that we suffer, what if we had a tool that we could use as a remedy. One that could not just reduce the pressure, but reawaken our enthusiasm, reconnect us with our passion and even act as a guide for the way forward. How exciting to know that the answer lies in each of us, and the quickest way to it is through our breath!

The Breathe Festival

The workshops at Breathe will introduce and deepen experiences and learning in using the breath as a therapeutic tool.

These sessions with Dan, Anthony, Rebecca and Sophia will be group sessions. The space will be held lovingly by these experienced practitioners and there will also be assistants to offer support. The workshops will allow you to experience breathwork and what it can be, and to deepen your practice. They may go into a specific theme such as with Sophia Magdalena whose ‘Loves Breath’ workshop is around giving and receiving the Breath of Life and Love. Participants will set intentions based on Love and Acceptance. The process aims to release fears and allow for a deeper connection to Love, Peace, Joy and Freedom. 

The practitioners will also leave you with exercises and tools to take home so you can continue your practice. If you wish to have sessions with a qualified practitioner before or beyond the festival, you can look on websites such

At Breathe you can also have one to one sessions (at an additional cost to the ticket price) with any of the practitioners, depending on availability. Please write to to book a session.

Breathe will be a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and learning with each other. Breathwork can be the perfect compliment to other modalities. 

Many people who have practiced breathwork have called it the most powerful experience of their lives. Certainly the Breathe team agree, and this is why we wanted to create Breathe, A Festival of Life, to celebrate it and bring together others who also love it, and help to share it with others who can benefit and enjoy it too.

This annual event is going to be truly amazing, for people of all ages and experience in breath work. We are looking forward to seeing you there!


Buy your tickets (via the tickets tab on this website) soon to avoid disappointment!




Anthony Abbagnano 

Rebecca Dennis

Dan Brulé  and his book, ‘Just Breathe’

The food during your stay!

During your stay, you will be provided with meals lovingly prepared by the Gaunts House Catering Department. Catering Manager Steve Lavender and his team have a great reputation for providing freshly produced, delicious home cooked vegetarian cuisine.

According to season and availability we like to use our own organic Gaunts Estate produce. Special diets – vegan, dairy-free, gluten/wheat-free – can be catered for when arranged in advance. (Please ensure you complete our questionnaire before attending the weekend)

Below are some examples of what you might expect to eat during your stay or day conference:

Sample Lunch Menu

Homemade Pea & Mint Soup
Hot Multigrain Baguettes
Herb Rolled New Potatoes
A Selection of Homemade Quiches
Lollo Rosso & Rocket Salad
Tomato & Basil Side Garnish
Cauliflower and Pineapple Satay Salad
Mixed Bean Salad

Sample Supper Menu

Cauliflower, Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry
Spiced Brown Rice
Beetroot Raita, Yoghurt & Mint Raita, Coconut Raita
Mango Chutney
Followed by:
Homemade Chocolate Brownies
With Chocolate and Brandy Sauce


Gaunts House

The beautiful space 

Since officially opening in 1989, Gaunts House has been at the forefront of the evolution of human consciousness. Over the years Gaunts has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors to experience the unique freedom it has to offer – a dogma free space in which each person can take time to explore, embrace and express their most beautiful potential.

Over the years this homely Dorset mansion has played host to many leading teachers of healing, transformation and self-awareness including: Robert Bly, T.Desikachar, Gangaji, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dadi Janki, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Satish Kumar, Denise Linn, Gabrielle Roth, Vimala Thakar, Sir George Trevelyan, Neale Donald Walsch and others.

Their ethos echoes perennial Universal values and they look to improve and evolve outdated ways of thinking, living and being. The Richard Glyn Charitable Foundation at Gaunts House exists because they sense the real need to support the emergence and expansion of human consciousness. They seek to explore and establish real, safe and holistic ways of living which may support and evolve individuals and society alike.