Core Faculty Member
Denis Ouellette, OBDS
Emigrant Montana 59027
Denis Ouellette, BA, BS, MT, trained with the original breathwork pioneers in the 1970’s and is a certified Optimal Breathing Development® Specialist. Denis has facilitated thousands of private and group breathwork sessions and conducts his ongoing Integral Breathwork™ Seminars. He is the author of Heal Yourself with Breath, Light, Sound and Water, which researches the ancient origins of healing using these natural elements. His book also introduces Integral Breathwork™, a new world paradigm for integrating Optimal Breathing® physiology with the practice of transformational breathwork. Together with Mike White, he will be presenting this new teaching model to breathworkers worldwide this summer at the 2006 Global Inspiration Conference in Nelson, B.C., Canada
He also tours the conference circuit of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) teaching massage therapists to incorporate both breathwork and breathing work into their bodywork practice. He is currently doing breathwork and bodywork in Paradise Valley, Montana, north of Yellowstone Park, where he lives with his wife, Jill, and twin daughters. He edits and publishes Natural Life News & Directory, a healthy-lifestyle magazine distributed throughout the West.
Optimal Breathing® is a perfectly obvious complement to breathwork. All forms of transformational breath therapy can benefit from starting with a foundation of sound, physiological breathing science. I firmly believe breathwork should not be taught or practiced at all without first incorporating correct breathing mechanics (measurements, assessments, corrections and exercises). Our Integral Breathwork™ model does just that. We say, ‘Fix the plan first—then fly the plane!’
Another perfect marriage for Optimal Breathing® work (and there are many) is its use in conjunction with all forms of bodywork. After 25 years of combining breathing work with bodywork, both in private practice and as a teacher, I’m convinced there is no modality of natural self-healing that enhances the benefits of bodywork more than breathing work. That goes for the client AND the therapist.
I noted a few comments below regarding my training at the Optimal Breathing School.
I feel I’ve gained a mentor and valuable resource and friend in the field of breathing that’s been my life’s calling and passion. Before I came I surmised you would be that for me from your professional stance and your persona on the website and in the videos. That’s why I came. I wasn’t disappointed and very much enjoyed your intelligence, wit and huge experience in this field.
I feel I need to get myself organized and work clinically now with a good many people next so I can anchor what you’ve taught me by doing it. I learn best that way. I know you’re “right on” in what you’ve developed as an effective optimal breathing protocol. I’ve gained a lot of mileage myself from your experiences with thousands of people. Your lifelong study and synthesis of the world’s knowledge and work by the other pioneers in this field has been of great value. Now it’s my turn to get out there and work with people myself. I have some systems in place for doing that, and let’s see where these new skills and tools can take me.
I don’t have to speak eloquently about the breath to you. You’ve already “been to the top of that mountain.” To me it’s one of the world’s sacred yoga systems, one of the best ways to get back to spirit, and integrate spirit with body and mind. But for today, it needs a westernized, practical model, not the hidden, ancient Hindu, esoteric form. What you’ve brought to breathing is a distillation and refining of the best tools out there to facilitate this return to wholeness—healing the disconnects between body, mind and spirit. In the west, you need to start with addressing the practical needs of people, and simply let their own doors open after that into the grander adventure that’s in store for them individually.
People are walking around with broken, distorted systems, and disconnected to their higher purposes and dreams. They carry around with them the baggage of their life’s burdens, traumas, mistakes, accidents and the backwash of their choices and habits, built up in their body, and stifling their life. Unfortunately, it’s usually ‘til death do they part with this stuff. It stifles their breathing—the pump of life (detoxification, oxygenation, blood cleansing, life force renewing, etc.) It doesn’t have to be this way. People become like stagnant pools, getting murkier until the burden becomes too great for the spirit to continue to do any good inside this worn down body. It’s no way to live the second half of your life, which should be the bearing of fruit and the harvest, the giving back to life and to the young, passing on of wisdom, and strength, etc.
You are teaching the dynamics of getting that pump moving again. The stagnation opens up, the dank pond becomes a flowing brook. The body’s systems can renew themselves. Clarity returns. Life gets a second chance. Hope and dignity returns to the maturing years. Life can be extended and enjoyed and shared.
So how do we get this out to people? I guess it’s going to be just by doing it! The forms this will take (web-site, books, workshops, groups) are now evolving and expanding. In the world there’s a growing intuitive understanding of the central importance of the breath. Everyone who is the least bit interested in holism is coming to the same conclusion. Yet somehow still when you’ve found a key to making a better world, you always want to get it out there far and wide, and you’re always meet with that wall of indifference… so all we can do is what we’re doing! The comforting words of the Buddha come to mind, “Some will understand!”
I’m grateful you’re open to the collaboration of breathwork with breathing work. I appreciate your cautious approach, and unwillingness to take people into unsafe places with their personal growth. I don’t want to either. But I think the proper balance can be struck. it’s a yin and yang thing. East meets west, male and female, science and intuition, body and spirit. It’s the trend and direction the planet is taking. The direction toward wholeness is an inexorable movement.
I think breathwork and breathing work can be seen as merging into one thing. Especially for the western mind, you can’t teach breathwork without the scientific grounding and the physiological tools and interventions you use. Yet, you want to keep the mystery, the adventure and the spiritual potential there. You need to always point to, if only in a subtle way, to the grandeur. Honor the cosmic peace that comes from the parasympathetic rest and balancing of the body. Herein lies the potential for the fulfillment of each person’s ultimate potential. It doesn’t need a label or a belief system wrapped around it. That will be different for each person. The freedom of expression and creativity you are unlocking is the beauty of it all, and accounts for why this process is so exciting. When doing this work, people feel in their heart that they are moving in the right direction, fulfilling their reason for being.
I don’t think there is a more exciting work being done. It’s all about the unfolding of human potential and the freeing of the human spirit. Not separated from the body, but within it, right here and now in the physical, in present time and place. Yes, there are other ways to do the same work, and people are discovering all sorts of modalities and personal growth strategies. That variety is good.
But you and I know there is nothing quite as pivotal and universal as freeing the breath. First free the body of its burdens, then the mind, creativity, wellbeing, happiness, love, all the good things in life seem to follow. Other people say you have to work from the subtle to the gross, that thought creates reality. O.K., so it goes both ways! For me, I always want to do the spiritual work and have that spiritual connection and resource in place, but then, I want to be in the trenches working with people to teach them to heal and unburden themselves. And I want to facilitate that growth, in a way that empowers them and makes them feel they can do it themselves, rather than depending on some outer source, like a therapist. Let’s teach them to fish.
So thanks! God bless you for your work. And let’s see where the (breath) wave takes us from here!
Denis Ouellette firstname.lastname@example.org