What I learned from using three types of breathwork to push my limits

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Introduction

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again. — Thich Nhat Hanh

At the beginning of 2021, I set a single New Year’s resolution: “I want to learn how to turn stress into growth.”

The resolution was my response to 2020 and all of the political, psychological, and social upheaval that came with it. For most of the year, I…


How my Dad helps me redefine what it means to be healthy- at 72 or 27

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About a year ago, I decided to dramatically change my lifestyle in order to get back in good health. To offer their support, my parents changed their diets and habits as well. This was an act of love on its own, but it’s even more than that if you consider something additional about my parents: my Dad is 72 this year and my Mom is just a few years younger than that (she still doesn’t like me sharing the number). …


Our felt sense is our most direct link to our needs, wants, and identity- so why don’t most of us use it?

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When people talk about the truth, [they] get away with saying factual truths and calling it truth. I’m talking about full body, primal truth…It means the material reality, the feeling, and the ideas, and the words match. -Kasia Urbaniak

Introduction: A whole body compliment

When was the last time you said something and meant it with your whole body?

I asked myself that question last year as I left a very unusual class at the Russian Arts Theater…


Why we repress or deny our anger . . . and what it really costs us

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For my entire life, I’ve struggled with anger more than any other emotion. And yet, few people in my life would have recognized it. Not even I recognized it until two years ago when I realized it was making me sick.

Before that point, I thought anger had no place in my personality. I prided myself on being calm, sweet, and easy to be around. When a family friend asked me in my early 20’s, “Do you get angry, Katie?” I thought for a moment and answered, “I don’t really get angry. I’m not an angry person.”

My words gave…


My personal experience using breathing and movement for healing

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Out of my head and into my body

If there was any particular event that showed me I needed to get out of my head and back into my body, it was probably a singing lesson three years ago. A family friend and opera singer convinced me she could teach anyone to sing and so I stood nervously facing a music stand, following her piano arpeggios with my thin voice and hoping she was right. Every few minutes, she would pause and give me a tip to open up my voice and project it more fully. …


Three powerful techniques I’ve used to shift my brain and body

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My brain has always struggled with space. As a teenager, this meant I could memorize long poems or do lightning fast mental math, but often got lost driving five minutes away from home. It meant that I could never follow a dance instructor to save my life; or that I aced college physics courses until I bombed the units involving orientations of magnetic and electric fields. It was so bad that on one occasion when I drove a college boyfriend through my hometown, he asked why I didn’t take…


Exploring places we naturally gather and why they’re essential for wellbeing

“…At night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference… He disliked bars and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted cafe was a very different thing. — “A clean, well-lighted place” by Ernest Hemingway

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Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The Riddle of the Ideal Place

This past weekend, two guests joined our family for dinner and one of them kicked off the conversation by sharing her professional ambition: “I’m a strategic designer and I want…


How Egoscue, Somatics, and Feldenkrais Methods opened my body and mind

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Introduction

About two year ago I walked into a Physical Therapy center in Manhattan with a strange set of symptoms: a stiff neck, carpal tunnel symptoms in my right hand, and the feeling that something was seriously wrong with half my body. The physical therapist I met that day did a routine examination and gave me a set of theraband exercises and a follow-up appointment. As I came back the next week and the one after, my body remained knotted in the same strange pattern and frustration grew for…


How a single belief shapes research, medicine, and how patients view themselves

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Introduction

Over the past few months, I’ve paid more attention to scientific research and discussion than I have since studying neuroscience in college. In addition to Covid-19, which has made topics like inflammation and viral load part of everyday conversation, I’ve dug into chronic illness and Lyme disease research on my own. After reading through many articles on both conditions and sitting in on discussions with friends and researchers, I’ve noticed a surprising trend. …


Despite years of meditation and exercise, I got the fundamentals of breathing totally wrong- until I understood the Essential Breath

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Introduction

At the start of the global pandemic, the CEO of my company gave us all a memorable piece of advice: “I invite you all to breathe more consciously. This is a virus that aggressively attacks the lungs, so my biggest piece of advice to those of you who are well is to breathe deeply to bring oxygen to your body and peace to your mind.” …

Katie Critelli

Welcome! I write about aligning my life with nature, getting healthier every day, and defining the values and culture I find meaningful. Join me :)

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