Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School with Jennifer Agee, LCPC

Episode 19: Understanding Breathwork featuring Kimberly Rose

August 24, 2022 Jennifer Agee, LCPC Season 1 Episode 19
Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School with Jennifer Agee, LCPC
Episode 19: Understanding Breathwork featuring Kimberly Rose
Show Notes Transcript

During this episode, I talk with Kimberly Rose (she/her), a Certified Breathwork Coach of 15 years. Kimberly has been published in Mantra Wellness Magazine. She was also the catalyst for Online Breathwork Classes & Teacher Training. 

Once Kimberly experienced what breathing could do for the mind-body-soul, and healed her chronic symptoms, she became dedicated to teaching people how to transform their lives through Breathwork. She is a catalyst for FREE online Breathwork Classes and loves to show people that they have it all from within to transform their lives.


  • What is breathwork?
  • How does breathwork compliment therapy?
  • Breathwork and trauma
  • Example of breathwork exercises. 


Jennifer: Hello Hello and welcome to Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School. I’m your host Jennifer Agee, licensed clinical professional counselor, and with me today is Kimberly Rose. She is a certified breathwork instructor for the last 15 years, she's based outta Oregon, and this has been a subject I have been super curious about for a long time, so welcome to the show.

Kimberly: Thanks Jennifer, thanks for having me.

Jennifer: So tell me what is breathwork? When people say they're going to a breathwork practitioner, I'm a breathwork practitioner, what does that mean? ‘Cause obviously we all breathe all the time, so what does it mean to be a breathwork facilitator and coach?

Kimberly: Yeah, so what it means to be a facilitator is, I get to gently take people through this hour-long, guided circular connected breathing pattern. And in that hour it just gently starts to drain your body, gently detox, it gently starts to rewire those negative thought patterns that we might have. And I get ahold of a really safe and protected space, so people can just sit back and breathe for a full hour, and it's really powerful. A lot of the times we're not breathing properly, especially when we get stressed or triggered or something upsets us. You know, the stuff going on in the world now, it can really make us go into fear and worry and our breath becomes more shallow. So it's really important to learn this breathing technique, to help open everything up so it keeps you in your flow and in your light through this time.

Jennifer: Perfect, so how did you learn to do breath work and what prompted that journey for you?

Kimberly: Yeah. So I was 19-20 and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work on my music career, and I had a really traumatic experience happen, and after that traumatic experience, within a few days, I developed this chronic skin condition. And so for two or three years, I was constantly in fight or flight, depressed, the chronic symptoms just took over and I couldn't live my life. So I got really depressed, I started drinking more to numb out, I started taking Adderall to give me the energy again and kind of get me out of the house, and I just got really depressed and I just went to a really, really low place and I kind of looked up at the sky and I was like, if you don't bring me a life coach or something, I'm outta here, and the next day I met my breathwork coach. My physical therapist, she's like, I've got this lady and, you kind of go back to the womb and what was going on while, you know, your conception, the first nine months in the womb and your birth experience. And I was like, that has nothing to do with why I'm sad right now, and she's like, and then you're gonna do this breathing technique after you just kind of go over your past, and I was like, I don't need to breathe, I already breathe. And so she connected me with her breathwork therapist and that woman got me in immediately, ‘cause she could hear I wasn't doing very well. And I did my first breathwork session on a Thursday evening, I threw away my Adderall and it's like I was a zombie in a human body from three until I was 22-23, somewhere in there when I did my first breathwork session. And I just was so alive and I felt hopeful again, and all these positive things started happening after that breathwork session. I just was so happy that I felt like I wanted to live, I didn't go into breathwork school or the training program to become a breath worker, I just did it so I could heal my past. ‘Cause I saw a lot in my first breathwork session, I was raised with nuns, there was a lot of shame, a lot of unworthiness that I was programmed with as a child. And so in that session, I was just like, wow, I was shamed my whole life for just being myself. So I knew, but it was in such a beautiful way, it was in such a compassionate and general way, I knew I had to go, I said there's a lot more than just the nun stuff for my childhood. So I continued with the breathwork sessions and they started the first breathwork school of Nashville, so I breathed on a Thursday, she started her first training on that next day, so Friday. So I got four breathwork sessions in a week and I was just like, this is amazing, like why has no one showed us this? This is the most powerful tool that we've been given.

Jennifer: Wow.

Kimberly: You know, you can get so much clarity and so many answers just from lying down and breathing for an hour. I know it sounds trippy, it's just one of those things you have to try.

Jennifer: You don't have to sell therapists too hard on breathwork because we do some of it already. We already teach our clients with anxiety, we do the shallow breathing from the chest, you know, teach ‘em the belly breathing. I mean we're easy to jump into this because we're already doing some of it, but I wanna know, what have you found in your training is actually happening in the body when you're going through the process that you're going through, ‘cause you talked about the releasing of trauma and different things like that. So what's happening in the body?

Kimberly: Yeah, so when you start first, I have to just gently guide you into the breathing, just for like five or 10 minutes and then when someone feels safe and they know they can trust me and that I'm not there to hurt them, then their body starts to relax a little more like, oh okay, this isn't scary, we're just breathing. And just getting all that really gentle breathing all the oxygen through the body, it starts to open up the mind and the lymphatic drainage and the organs. You might have a slight twitch in your liver or something, and maybe you're releasing some sadness or anger, you know? And maybe some people have flashes of their childhood, like they just see a random moment that they totally forgot about. So once the body gets that oxygen in, it starts to kind of undo, or unwind, or peel back the layers of maybe what your mind or your body held onto from way back when, even all the way back to your birth or if your parents wanted you or not, you know?

Jennifer: Yeah, I do hypnotherapy too. So I totally get that part

Kimberly: Yeah. A lot of people ask me do you do hypnotherapy? I mean, this is very similar when they're in the session. It's very similar, so it's very connected. Getting the oxygen in for a full hour, it sounds daunting, 60 minutes of breathing like that, but it's so gentle. I have a way of getting people through the session. So it just shows you whatever you need to see in the moment, and it helps to let go of any past stuff you might be holding onto. So for example, my oldest sister is an alcoholic, and ever since I was a little girl, I've written her love notes, I've tried to save her my entire life, and I'm 38 now. Even just last year, I'm like, I need to do a breathwork session. So I lied down and I breathed for an hour and I was like, you know, I didn't realize it was causing me turmoil. I'm like, well, what if she dies from the alcohol? And I've always tried to be there, but she doesn't want the help, right. And so I lied down and breathed and my mind and body or something, you know, I've already done what all I can do. It's her life, there's nothing I can do, I've already done all that I can do to help. And it's like, it's okay, you can let her go now and live your life, you don't have to worry about if she's gonna die or not just let her be, that's what she came here to do in this moment, I guess. So that's kind of an extreme example, kind of extreme, but it just shows you whatever you need to see in the moment so you can move forward in your life.

Jennifer: Yeah, I'm a firm believer that the mind and body are always wanting to work together for our own health and healing. And when we give it those pause moments where you're breathing, or you're doing guided mindfulness or meditation, and you just kind of get out of your own way, a lot of times the answers and the solutions start to come.

Kimberly: Yes, yeah. And so for most people, especially if they're in their head or if they're brand new to this, you might get in the ego for a little while. You might be on this ego, head type type of trip for like about 10 minutes. And then once you get through that, I just say, just keep breathing through it, just try not to take it personally. Then the body starts, it starts doing exactly what you said, the mind and the body and everything starts working together, once you kind of work through the sticky stuff, you know, the mindless stuff.

Jennifer: Yeah. And that's why with hypnotherapy, EMDR, lots of different modalities that therapists use, the brain in the body typically will go where it needs to go for healing, and part of our responsibility as practitioners is not to jump in and try and rescue or whatever, and let that process just happen and take place

Kimberly: Yeah, yep. So in the session, I just invite them to take a few deep breaths when I kind of can feel when they're going through it. It's like, it's okay, just keep breathing through it. And you know, they get to go through their own experience. I try not to talk too much during the sessions, but yeah. And they find that once they get through the session, they're like, oh, I can totally do this, I can do anything.

Jennifer: That’s awesome. So do you use different breathing techniques throughout the session based on what you're targeting or what you're doing? Tell me a little bit about that.

Kimberly: Yeah, so it's just like we inhale for about two or three seconds and softly exhale. So it's just a real gentle, nice deep breath in and a gentle exhale, it's this gentle whisper really. When they start to release trauma, their breath will either be like they won't wanna breathe and they're fighting it, and they'll hold their breath or their breath will speed up if they're really going through deep anger. Like they're mad at someone or someone did them wrong, their breath will start to naturally speed up. So I kind of let them go in their own flow when that happens, like if your body wants to breathe faster, that's fine. It's just for a couple minutes, and then it'll go back to that space where we're just inhaling and exhaling.

Jennifer: Well, I think that's a great point to bring up is again, kind of an overlap in what we might do in therapy, which is you don't rescue the tough moments. A lot of times the brain in the body will move through, it won't get stuck there If we don’t intervene in that moment at the height of discomfort, because what we actually do is train the brain that we can't handle it, we can only handle it to this point and then we have to be rescued, or then we panic, or we do something and it's like a wave, it crests and it will recede, it’s gonna be okay.

Yeah. Like I know when I hire other breath workers to do a session with me, I get a session in once a week because you know, we're just experiencing so much lately. So, um I forgot, oh dang it. I just lost what I was gonna say. I forgot what I was gonna say, sorry.

Jennifer: That's okay. Brains wander, that's the way it goes. So what's the part about breathwork that gets you the most excited? What do you wish people knew or understood about breathwork?

Kimberly: That it's a little uncomfortable. It's a little uncomfortable and annoying at first, but just get through the first 10 minutes and you'll be obsessed with it. Every session, no matter how I'm doing in my life, when I do 60 minutes of breath work, every session I sit up and I'm like, I cannot believe I just got all those answers from lying down and breathing for 60 minutes. So most people, they don't do 60 minutes of breath work, they do five or 10 minutes, which is great, that's amazing. It's a great start and it will help you through the moment, but if you want all the benefits, do the full 60 minutes.

Jennifer: I don't know, other than like yoga, which isn't really breathwork, it's more, I liken it more to moving mindfulness with breathwork included.

Kimberly: Right, yeah. And with me, I get real fidgety, so I would love movement also with breath work, and sometimes I do that. But there's just something when you have the right person, just guide you through that 60 minutes and you're just still, and it's just you and your body and your breath. Oh my gosh, and the connection, it'll blow you away.

Jennifer: So what does a breathwork session actually look like? What happens and just kind of walk me through what that looks like.

Kimberly: Yeah. So a regular breath breathwork session, we do like an hour of talk therapy, I just kind of check in and take some notes, check in with them and see how they're doing. Or if anything keeps surfacing, for some reason I get a lot of people with chronic symptoms. So if they'd like to start to heal that I can, because I dealt with so many chronic issues I can, I can take people through. So we do an hour of talk therapy and then an hour of breath work and that's one session that's for symptoms. And then another session I do, it's a clear your birth trauma breathwork session. And I have this birth questionnaire form and you know, what was going on with your parents while you were in the womb? Were you planned, were you an accident? An oops baby? Did you get stuck in the birth canal? What was your birth? Like all that kind of stuff. So I take them that far back and that session is to help unlock those really, really deep-rooted patterns. If people find me, if they're just like, I just can't figure this one thing out, and then they do that session and a lot of answers come in for them. So it's an hour of going over their birth and their childhood, and then an hour of breath work.

Jennifer: And do you use different breathing techniques for that session versus the first session, let's say?

Kimberly: Um, no, it's just that questionnaire really activates the body to get that stuff moving.

Jennifer: Okay. It just kind of tells the body and the brain we're gonna work on this now, so it's time to open whatever needs to be linked, let's just open that up.

Kimberly: Yeah. You start filling in the blanks, like what was going on while your parents were in the womb, or if there were any affairs or anything that traumatic happened while you were in there? Yeah, it starts moving stuff in the body that gets stored in the subconsciousness. So like, if someone was premature, or they came out at seven months. They might have this really deep pattern of, I gotta get outta here, or they have a leaving pattern. I've had so many of these patterns that I go over, it's like the session kind of shows you your patterns and then it's like, oh, but you can catch it, or support yourself through that pattern, if you get stuck. So if you got stuck in the womb, maybe you have this stuck pattern or if you were held back and they closed your mom's legs, ‘cause the doctor wasn't there, there might be a held back energy your whole life, like you can't get out. And so this helps to move you through those patterns, the transition patterns from the womb, yeah, but it's the same breath.

So it's different intentionality and focus, but you use the same breath patterns like to move through, and I've noticed the same things you have, you know, when you do some forms of regression work, especially around the area of birth, if it was an oopsy baby or an unwanted pregnancy even, that sometimes there, there's these core root issues of I'm unlovable, I'm unworthy, and those patterns tend to play out in their life and they're like, I've done all the healing, like I don't know what the problem is. And then there's just this one stuck part where for me, I would call that even inner child work, right. Where you go back to that very younger self, where that part didn't get the message that you don't have to live in that space anymore, you're free. Like it's okay, you are wanted, you are lovable. You are, you know, all that kind of stuff.

Kimberly: Yeah. So let's say someone wasn't wanted, when you do the breathwork. That's what's so powerful about the oxygen, because it blasts your cells, and so when we have those really deep-rooted beliefs, like I'm not wanted, I'm not lovable, like you were talking about, when you get the oxygen in it, it starts to shift it. Like, you'll feel a difference after one session, give it a few sessions, but it starts rewiring that I'm not wanted, ‘cause when you're in the session, it shows them that they can, that they're lovable and that they can love themselves and you know, it brings 'em back into themselves. So we're getting it externally.

Jennifer: Yeah. That empathy that starts to grow for yourself. That says I don't have to blame myself, I don't have to dislike myself. Like it's okay that bad things happened to me, and that had really nothing to do with me at all.

Kimberly: Right, yeah. That’s so beautiful.

Jennifer: Interesting. So how often do people come in for breathwork sessions?

Kimberly: I have tons of free videos on my YouTube, so I have people who use those sessions once a week or twice a week, or once a month. If you can get one session in a month, oh my gosh, you're set for life. It'll get you through anything.

Jennifer: It is fascinating though. Just thinking something as simple as breathing could bring so much healing, it's simple, and yet it also makes perfect sense. I mean, it's required for living and breathing. We've been doing it since the moment we were born, like the fact that it would be infused with all of these other very emotional things, it makes sense, you know?

Kimberly: Yeah well, it's like they say that, when we get stressed or those moments when we didn't get what we need and we hold our breath, and we just kinda swallow it in the body. And so this helps to bring it back out and release it. I've been doing it for 15 years, I'm still so obsessed with it. And I love showing people, I love showing people this gift that we have and the hour, you can feel the benefits from when you get to work with people in the five minutes or few minutes, or however long that you take people through. But man, I can't wait to show you an hour. It's the best drug on earth. I mean, people fly to the Amazon to go do ayahuasca and do other things, and they could just lie down and breathe with the right person, guiding them and they can have quite a journey.

Jennifer: Yeah, transformational moments. So, you know, a lot of people that listen to the podcast, the majority are also business owners. So tell me a little bit about your YouTube channel, ‘cause you've got a lot of traction on your YouTube channel. Like tell me a little bit about running that part of your business.

Yeah. So let's see, where do I begin? The first 12 years of breathwork, I barely made a living like barely, just always scratch. And I always had two or three jobs outside of breathwork and I gave a lot of free breathwork out and I was like, I'm done no more, and then COVID hit. And then I started making free videos cause no one was doing breathwork, so my YouTube has kind of formed over the last couple years and I'm like, I just need to keep blasting this out with free breathwork so the right people will find it when they're ready for it. And so I have like 5-minute breathers, 10-minute breathers on there because to introduce breathwork and be like, oh, do 60 minutes of breathing. No one's gonna try that, I would never. And even on my Instagram, I have like 30-second breathers. You can feel 30 seconds, you can feel it. That's it. So yeah, I just use that platform. I do a free session every three months and put it on there for people to use and yeah, it's just there to help people.

Jennifer: And I will link your breathwork channel on YouTube down below, so people can click on that and take a look at some of those videos if they want after the podcast. Thank you for coming on. I really enjoy talking with you and learning what this is, because it's something I've heard about, like I know the words, I'm familiar with the words, but I actually had no flipping idea what it actually meant or what you were doing in a session. So thank you for coming on and clearing that up for me.

Kimberly: Yeah, thank you for having me. You can keep this or delete it, but did you want me to demonstrate a few minutes?

Jennifer: Yeah, yeah. So before we go today, Kimberly, can you demonstrate a breathwork exercise for us?

Kimberly: Yeah. Are you in a cozy spot?

I am.

Kimberly: Okay, if you don't mind, you can have your eyes open or closed. I'm gonna gently ease you into the breathing and we're gonna start by just taking a few deep breaths in, and you could do this in through the nose, out through the mouth. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. In through the nose. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Out through the mouth, one more deeper breath in. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And again, let's just take another few deep breaths in. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Beautiful, and the breathing is just as soft and as gentle as a whisper inhaling deeply and softly exhaling, letting it go breathing in for 1, 2, 3 seconds. Softly exhale, letting it go. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Inhaling for 1, 2, 3 seconds, softly exhale, letting it go. And while we're doing this, just kind of let your mind go where it goes. Let the thoughts say what they say, and then we're just gonna take another slow three deep breaths in. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And it doesn't have to be right, it doesn't have to be perfect. We're just kind of letting the body know that it's safe. We're letting your body know that she's loved and protected, and we're just giving back to your body right now. We're just slowly opening up the body and a nice deep breath in. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And slowly exhaling letting it go. And you can kind of start to feel like, oh okay, it's kind of hard to breathe like this, or maybe it's easy. And it just takes a few minutes for the body to slowly start opening up. So again, we're just gonna take another few loving deep breaths in. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And softly exhale, letting it go. And if you can, let yourself feel the oxygen slowly work its way down your spine into your hips. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Just creating a little bit more space down through the body, beautiful, you're doing great. And again, slowing yourself down, letting yourself sink a little deeper into your body. So you're inhaling for about three seconds down the spine. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And exhale, letting it go. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Again, deep breath in breathing all the way down, wherever the breath will let you go. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And exhale. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And now you've been breathing for about four and a half minutes. Let's just breathe for one more minute to kind of bring you out of the mini breather. So we're gonna inhale and exhale. As you inhale, let yourself open up, let yourself feel the breath, kind of expand your shoulders and your belly. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Feel the love and the support that's coming through with your breath in. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. And breathe out. Inhale. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Everything you're doing is enough. Just breathing. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. With each breath that you breathe, you are beautiful, you are safe, you are protected. It's all gonna be okay. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Okay, just slowly start to come out of it. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING]. Just taking it one breath at a time. No push, no force. Just general inhale, exhale. [LONG PAUSE – BREATHING].

Jennifer: You know, what I immediately noticed was the releasing of the tension that I hold like in my jaw, and just kind of having that, move down and move through. Giving your mind and your body intentional space to pause and just be present and connect with what needs to be loosened and relaxed. Like for me the first minute or so, that was what my body was doing, just checking in with itself and being like, you're kind of tight lady, you need to chill out. Letting some things go.

Kimberly: Beautiful. Yeah, that was just five minutes. So an hour, we just slowly work our way all the way down, you know, I give you a full hour, so there's no pressure, there's no force. There's a lot of breath work out there that's forced, it's very fast, and this is really gentle. So just like giving us a break, and giving us that space and time. Oh, you're tight. Okay, let's just take it easy. And then it shifts, it starts clearing and then we start slowly working all the way down through the body and it's just, it's such a loving and beautiful process.

Jennifer: I felt it, I felt it. Thank you for that gift, I really appreciate it.

Kimberly: Thank you, thank you for having me.

Jennifer: Absolutely. How can people connect with you?

Kimberly: The fastest way is on my Instagram, breathe_with_kimberly_rose, of course, and there's free breath work on there. There's free mini sessions all down through my feed. I have free sessions also in my link in my bio. If they'd like to book with me, they can go to the link in my bio there's my calendar. Yeah, anyone can reach out to me, I normally get back to people pretty quickly.

Jennifer: Okay, wonderful. Thank you so much for being on. And if you wanna connect more with me or the podcast,, you can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, you know, all the social media platforms. If you type the name in, I should pop up. So thank you so much for listening today, and I hope you get out there and live your best dang life.