Ep. 186 Clairvoyant Breathwork with Ana Lilia - theuncensoredempath.com

Ep. 186 Clairvoyant Breathwork with Ana Lilia

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In this episode of The Uncensored Empath:

  • Understanding the universal power of breathwork
  • How breathing impacts our thoughts, emotions, and physical state
  • How breathwork enhances inner child work and helps shift the corporate landscape
  • How Ana is breaking the stigma and silence around mental health through her healing journey

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Episode Transcript:

Hello friends. Have you noticed that you can get caught up in consuming content or maybe you noticed you are hyper, hyperfocused on the doing? Empaths we often consume. And I know because that was me too; soaking up information from all my favorite teachers and mentors. But it wasn’t until I started focusing more on the being and embodiment work that the door to massive clarity was finally unlocked and I no longer got confused about what was my energy versus everybody else’s. I was able to become a more clear channel for creation and as a result, transform my life, business, and health. In fact, my meditation and embodiment practice is what helped me have a nearly $40,000 month this past January, see the highest downloaded month of the podcast, and finally release a lot of unnecessary stress. And my clients felt it and saw it in their lives too.

It wasn’t reading more articles; it wasn’t doing more busywork. So I’m inviting you to graduate from the spongy empath consumer into the self-activated sovereign healer. You can take your podcast listening experience from, ooh, I feel seen, heard, and inspired to holy shit, I actually feel different. My being has shifted. I am the embodiment of the woman I desire to be. The Third Eye Collective is a simple way to upgrade your experience and commit, not only to a meditation practice that compliments your healing but also receive personalized coaching so you can be clear on what direct actions to implement into your highest goals. There are two simple ways to get involved at 11 or $22 a month with no commitment. So if this is calling your name, click the link in the show notes to join this amazing and growing community.

Welcome to The Uncensored Empath, a place for us to discuss highly sensitives’ energy, illness, healing, and transformation. My name is Sarah Small and I’m a life and success coach for empaths who want to create a thriving body, business, and life. Think of this podcast as your no-BS guide to navigating life, health, and entrepreneurship. You’ll get straight-to-the-point, totally holistic tips from me in real time as I navigate this healing and growth journey right beside you. This is a Soulfire production.

My guest today is Ana Lilia. She is a certified breathwork teacher and healer who leads thousands of people to intimately connect with their breath as a pathway for transformation. She is really committed to safe, supportive, and loving spaces for her participants, which you’ll hear her talk about today so that they can connect to deeper parts of themselves, access their intuition and unleash their creativity. Breathwork has been something that has completely transformed my own life that I also facilitate and teach mostly inside of the Empath Leaders Membership and I’ve been practicing for over 10 years now. And Ana is a beautiful example of somebody who is so committed to the art of what she does. And she’s going to be speaking about how breathing does directly impact how we think and how we feel. Even though it’s something that we do every single day, there are ways to adapt our breath and to control our breath in a more active way that can facilitate truly life-changing experiences. So in our conversation, we’ll talk all about breathwork, and also we’re going to dive into some mental health. So I do want to put a little bit of a trigger warning here and just let you know that there’s going to be some words mentioned related to mental health and suicidal ideation and addiction. So if this is not the episode for you, certainly skip ahead. Otherwise, I really hope that you love this conversation with Ana. I did, and there’s so much to gain from breathwork.

Sarah:  Welcome to the show, Ana. It’s so good to have you here.

Ana: Thank you, Sarah. I’m excited to be here.

Understanding the universal power of breathwork

Sarah: So I was just telling you that I am obsessed with breathwork, and it’s certainly a practice that has impacted my life in a really big way. And it’s something that when people hear, I often think they think we breathe every single day, right? Like we’re all breathing. So how has breathwork impacted your life and what is your definition of breathwork?

Ana: You’re totally right. We take about 20,000 breaths a day so our body knows to automatically breathe for us. But a lot of times we’re not necessarily “breathing” right. And I have it in quotes because it just depends on people. We are supposed to be breathing using our diaphragm and taking these longer, deep inhales, and with life stresses, we tend to take shorter breaths. We tend to be breathing more using our chest, or we tend to do a lot of breath-holding. And that’s something that I wasn’t even conscious of until I came across a breathwork class. And it was a random find in a crystal shop here in Los Angeles. And it was during the time where I was exploring just different tools, healing modalities, techniques to help me manage my anxiety, my stress. I was feeling depressed. I was doing therapy and that was really helpful, but I felt like there was a deeper place I could go to. And when I was introduced to the healing world, I was shocked and intrigued. And that’s how I stumbled upon breathwork.

My first experience of actively breathing was so powerful where my body involuntarily wouldn’t move. My hands cramped up by themselves and I felt like I couldn’t open them. I looked like a lobster claw. I was crying uncontrollably. There was just this purging of emotions and memories, and it was incredible and intense. But at the same time, when I stopped the active breathing, my body physically felt so much lighter. When I stepped outside, the colors looked brighter and I couldn’t believe that I experienced and went through all of that just by manipulating my breath. And so, if you’re completely new to the breathwork world, breathwork is kind of a general term to mean controlled breathing. And there’s a lot of different forms of breathwork from box breathing where you’re breathing to the count of four and holding to the count of four to there’s a lot of Kundalini type of breathing if you practice Kundalini yoga. Wim Hof is a really popular method right now. I tend to practice a two-stage breathing where you’re breathing using your diaphragm, your chest, and then exhaling. You decide whether you want to breathe through your nose or through your mouth.

I have found that when you’re breathing with your open mouth, it can be more activating to the body so you will have more of those sensations like the cramping of the hands, the vibration. For some people, that is overwhelming for their nervous system. So when I’m holding space for my clients, I suggest that they do nose breathing. And it’s a more controlled, relaxing, not stressing out your body as much by really oxygenating it, but there are different ways to do it. And when working with a practitioner or with me, the sessions tend to be anywhere from 20 minutes of active breathing to 30, 40 at the max. I have a lot of pre-recorded meditations, and those are much shorter. They start at five minutes to10 minutes just to give you a shorter container to make sure you’re, again, not overwhelmed by everything that’s coming up and you don’t have a guide there to talk you through it. But it’s a quick way to just hit the reset button and go from feeling stressed out and overwhelmed and busy mind to grounded, calm, clear, and back in your power. It’s incredible.

Sarah: I totally agree. And my first introduction to breathwork was more through yoga and Pranayama and different types of breathing inside of a flow style, a Vinyasa-style yoga. And I remember just that initial introduction, realizing that I, for who knows how long, probably my whole life or at least till I started to maybe experience stress in my life, was reverse breathing. And so, I would breathe in and suck in.

Ana: Back in your stomach. Yes.

Sarah: Yes. And then I would breathe out ‘ahhh’ and breathe out from my belly.

Ana: Yes, and then your belly would expand.

Sarah: I mean, if I would even let it expand. Because as a teenager, I remember also just sucking in all the time, being very self-conscious of body image. And I think that that really affected my breath and it started to get into that reverse patterns. Those people who are listening who don’t know what we’re talking about, a natural breath, but actually, you would expand chest, belly, diaphragm on the inhale because air is entering your lungs, and then exhale, it would contract, right? And I was doing the complete opposite and that was a really big light bulb moment for me that went like ding, ding, ding. Yes, I’m autonomically breathing. It’s happening automatically in my body and my being, but there are ways to breathe that have different benefits or different styles of breathing that have different breath benefits. And breathing does have a direct impact on the way that we think, the way we feel, whether it’s interacting with our sympathetic stress state or a parasympathetic peace relaxation state. So I’d love to have your take on how does breathing impact our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our physical state?

How breathing impacts our thoughts, emotions, and physical state

Ana: Yes. When we are overwhelmed and stressed out, we are in that high-alert state, we’re in the sympathetic and we do tend to not be breathing as much. And so, that’s why when you’re feeling stressed out and you’re around someone, they might tell you take a breath. And if you’re listening right now, let’s take a deep breath in. And just by taking one deep breath in through your nose, low, long exhale out, you start to feel a softening happening in your body just by one breath. Our body just needs that little assistance or that reminder if we are in a state where we’re constantly going, going, going, going, which most of us are, that to be in the relaxed state, it’s not common. And so, we almost forget. And I actually work with a lot of people who actually don’t feel safe being that calm, relaxed state. So we have to work on building them up to feel safe, to be able to lie down and breathe and not still have their shoulders up in their ears and not still wanting to be in control of whatever emotions or physical sensations is coming up to their body. So it’s like also starting to trust your body, trust yourself, and create a self-container for you to feel comfortable being in yourself, in your body, and with your emotions.

Sarah: That makes so much sense because I think that oftentimes I’ve seen this in my client community and myself as well; there’s almost an attachment to the chaos. I’m more comfortable, I feel safer in the chaos, in the stress where I know I can thrive and I know I’ve survived before versus actually allowing ourselves to enter a more peaceful, calm, relaxed state that may be a lot less familiar based on our life experience. And that taking the one breath like we just did together is so simple, yet I think a lot of people either don’t remember/forget to do it, or they’re like, it shouldn’t be so easy. It shouldn’t be—

Ana: Yes, that’s another thing.

Sarah: Right?

Ana: When people ask me, they’re like, okay, so what should I do? Give me a breathing technique. And I always tell them, just drop your breathing down to your belly, to your diaphragm. And it’s like, no, there has to be more. I’m like, well, even if I do give you more, you’re not going to remember, or then you’re going to stress out about, am I doing it right, am I doing it wrong? I don’t think I’m doing it… You know, our mind just finds that chaos if that is our baseline. And so, one of the goals with breathwork is to try to find the baseline of this calm, grounded, safe, and experience what comes from that. There is a lot of creative inspiration that can happen when you’re doing breathwork because all of that noise and the wanting to be in control starts to get quiet. You get clarity about things. You remember what’s really important for you instead of just being on that hamster wheel of doing, doing, doing, or feeling obligations or doing things because you think and society has told us that that’s what we have to do.

All of that, we start to create more space and move all of that noise away from us so that you can go back to yourself, to your truth. And you might be thinking, all of that from just breathing? How is that even possible? But it truly does. Because again, we’re able to switch our nervous system from being in the stress, high alert, anxious state like I got to protect you, I got to do this and that to calm and relaxed. And when we’re in that state, we do create more space, more capacity for bigger stuff, for the things that are really important for us. So that’s another way that I use breathwork as well when I’m working with my clients too; not only to help them get into a relaxed state but to do deep healing work where we start to remember who we are without labels, without other people’s opinions. We start to call in our dreams and start to manifest. Because when you do breathwork, you are able to enter into a deep meditative state where you’re able to access your subconscious and able to start to reprogram beliefs, bring in new beliefs, call in those dreams. And I’ve seen my clients just have instant manifestations after our sessions together. They’re like, oh my God, I just got an email for a job opportunity. So it’s really beautiful and powerful transformational work.

Sarah: I love that. And I think that that’s a really good point because when we are encouraged to say let’s just take a deep breath, I think the immediate association is like, oh, I need to calm down or this is to make me feel more relaxed or more at peace. And that can absolutely be a benefit and an outcome of taking a deep breath, but certain styles of breathwork can also help us do so much more like you were just speaking to accessing the subconscious mind, reprogram beliefs, manifestation. And a huge one I’ve seen in my community is inner-child work and I know you’ve seen some of that as well. So how do we use breathwork to even help access or heal our inner child?

How breathwork enhances inner child work and helps shift the corporate landscape

Ana: Mm-hmm. I’m also clairvoyant so when I’m holding space, I receive messages for my clients. For example, one of my clients that I was working with just this week, she struggles with her weight; up and down, up and down. And she notices that when she starts to lose weight, she starts to feel unsafe because she’s starting to attract more attention. So while she was doing the breathwork, I was starting to receive messages for her. What ended up being the actual reason for this up and down weight loss wasn’t actually about safety. It was her inner child, because that’s when she started to gain weight, was afraid that if she loses the weight, that her inner child is going to disappear and she’s going to have those abandonment issues that she experienced when she was a child come up again. So once I said that to her, she just started to cry and she’s like, oh my God, that’s it. It’s not this other story that I was telling me or the reason why I tell people why it’s hard to date because I’m big or this and that. It’s actually that. That my inner child has abandonment issues. She feels like she was just forgotten by her parents, not loved in the same way. And she was trying to be seen by eating more, getting bigger. And for me to start to lose the weight as an adult, she feels that I’m going to leave her too.

So once we got to that core belief, that core meaning, that memory, then we were able to start to, by having her connect, imagine herself as a child, tell her inner child that’s not true. I am always here. I’m always going to be here for you. I’m here to protect you, to love you. I’m so sorry that that’s how you felt when you were younger, but things are changing now, and just getting all of this love and affirmations and positivity. So that’s just an example of how I just recently used that inner child work while we’re doing the active breathing. And it’s really powerful because we’re able to quickly get to the core root, something that she’s been struggling with. She’s in her 50s or about 40 years and she’s been in therapy. And a lot of times we do kind of get stuck on the story and we start to just believe it, but there’s something a little bit deeper I have found. So it was a really powerful session for her.

Sarah: That reminds me. I often say to my students that our conscious mind is our thinking mind. And we try to think our way or rationalize our way out of problems, challenges in our life when oftentimes the solution is or the outcome we desire is based in the feeling that is stored in our subconscious mind or a memory that’s stored in the subconscious mind, a belief that’s stored in the subconscious mind. So it makes complete sense to me that you would want to bring up some of these things, or dive into them, or talk about them in a subconscious state where you can access the subconscious versus if we just talked about it. It’s not that there’s no benefit to that because there is, but if we want to actually utilize the neuroplasticity of our mind and rewire something, we want to be in the subconscious portal. We want to go through that gateway, right? And breathwork is one of several different ways we can access the subconscious, but it’s a really powerful way that we don’t need any excess external tools, right? It’s just us breathing, which is so fucking fascinating.

Ana: And that’s why I loved it. Because I had been going to healers and a therapist and all of that. But I loved that I felt so empowered when I was doing breathwork because I was doing the act of breathing. I was the one feeling the sensations. I was the one with these memories coming up. And that made me feel like I could change my life. I didn’t have to depend necessarily on someone else. All of that power is within me. And that’s how my clients feel as well. It’s helpful to have the guidance of someone because then that way we are able to more quickly get to these core issues. But yes, you’re part of the experience, the participant. You’re the one showing me the memories, showing me the energy.

Sarah: Yes. I think of it as you’re just kind of like a mirror to that, right?

Ana: Exactly. Yes.

Sarah: They’re the ones who are actually doing the work inside their body. And you mentioned in the beginning, the lobster claw hands and crying uncontrollably. And these are things that, especially with the style of breath that you described, the two-phase or three-part breath, that can happen, right? And I think that oftentimes when people have maybe an unexpected or even if someone says this might happen when you’re doing the breathwork and it’s therefore not unexpected, they know that it could happen, but when it actually does happen, I find some people start to overthink or talk themselves out of it or panic or go into a fear state. And I’m so curious because the first time I experienced the three-part conscious connected breath, inhale, inhale, exhale, I had the tetany, the lobster claw hands. I was crying. The tears came at the end after I was done breathing, actively breathing and I remember thinking, is this an anxiety attack or what is happening? And I ended up settling on this feeling in my body that it was just energy moving through me and actually releasing through my hands, which helped calm my nervous system down so that I could continue the session with the practitioner I was working with.

But I’m so curious. I just think that a lot of people freak themselves out and they’re like, oh, it’s too much. It’s too stimulating or whatever. And I’d love your take on how you were able to work through that personally, and also how you work with clients through it? Because I know you also mentioned that sometimes you offer up nasal, a nose breathing versus mouth, that could be a little less activating. And a lot of people have experienced trauma in their life and maybe don’t feel safe in their bodies to breathe actively.

Ana: Yes, it’s a huge, huge thing that I have to navigate as a practitioner. When I experienced it for myself, it didn’t freak me out. I was just crying and just surrendered to the process. I was like I don’t know what’s happening but let’s just go with it.

Sarah: Have your way with me.

Ana: I know. Like, okay, I’m assuming this is safe. Because, I mean, the practitioner was walking around and so I didn’t feel completely abandoned. But yes, so some of these sensations that you feel when doing the active breathing can be similar to a panic attack. And so, if you’ve had them, that can be very triggering for you. I’ve had a therapist say to me that she tells her clients, who she suggests that they do breathwork, to get comfortable being in the discomfort. Breathwork is a tool to get comfortable being in a state of discomfort. Like, yes, if you are someone who have had a lot of trauma where you don’t feel like you’re safe in your body, or you do have panic attacks, or if you had them in the past, I would suggest breathing through your nose first so that you can start to, in a more gentle way, get used to the practice, start to trust the breathing, yourself, the practitioner, and then you can build up.

When I was first starting out, I would suggest that everybody just breathe through their open mouth. And I did have someone where she started to feel the paralyzing sensation and it freaked her out. She was starting to get a sort of panic attack because it made her think of an injury that she had in a massage where it did leave her partly semi-paralyzed. And so, I was in person and I was there talking her through it and she was able to come out of it. So that’s why as well, it’s really important to do your research on who you’re working with as a breathwork practitioner because it is a very simple technique and anyone can do it. And I have also found that there’s a lot of people who are just doing it who aren’t trained for it or who don’t really have the experience to hold these containers where trauma can come up to the surface or they themselves haven’t done the healing work to be able to hold space for that.

So I’ve been in circles, breathwork circles where I’ve been horrified by the lack of support that’s given when people are having these intense releases come up to the surface. So I’m very conscious, even though most of my offerings are virtually. But I always tell people if I’m working with you one-on-one, you have your camera on so I’m definitely watching the whole thing. If it’s in a group setting and you have your camera turned off, then I tell you if something is coming up for you and you need support, or if you have questions, message me. And people do. And so then I talk them through it. They’re like, oh my God, I’m starting to feel this vibration. What’s happening? Is this normal? And I’m like, yes, it’s completely normal. And then people want to know, why am I feeling this in my hands? Why are my feet feeling hot? I don’t know why. Nobody really knows.

But I always tell people, if you want to know, ask your hands, what are you holding onto that you’re afraid to let go of? Or what is this back pain that I’m feeling? What is that about? Is there an emotion there? Is it a past experience? And we’re all intuitive. If we just ask, you will get an answer. Whether some people are very visual, I’m a very visual person so I get images, or you might hear something, we’re always talking to ourselves in our day-to-day. So it’s the same thing that we’re doing when we’re doing this active breathing. And you’ll get your answer. And I find that that also starts to calm people down.

Sarah: Mm-hmm. Yes, that’s such a critical part of the conversation and I think the way that you hold space as a practitioner and just being supportive to people’s experiences because everyone is going to have a different experience with the breath. And I’m very visual as well. And like I was mentioning before, when I had the tetany, the lobster claw hands, I began to visualize all this energy just shooting out of my hands, which was so interesting because I do have a history of panic attacks. And when I would get them, it would begin in my hands. I would start to feel it first in my hands so it made perfect sense to me. Looking at it now, it’s like that’s where the energy needed to release as well. And something I saw on your website is that breathwork can be solely done, practiced as physical activity through the physical sides of breathing. But what you do really goes beyond the physical. Like you mentioned, you were also a clairvoyant so you bring in the spirituality, the energetic component. And I’d love to just get your take on pairing those together and how that impacts the experience people have when you are able to blend those together?

Ana: Yes. So, breathwork, you can use it as a quick tool to get re-energized in between your Zoom calls or your life. And it’s a tool that I also teach my clients when they’re like, in the morning, all right, let’s ground yourself. Let’s set an intention, let’s get really clear. Because the mornings can be really overwhelming and busy for people. So starting with a short five-minute practice is a good way to set your day up for success. And then to do the deeper healing work, yes, we do longer sessions where a lot of times they come to me because they have a specific goal that they want to work on. And I help them get aligned with that goal so that they can manifest it. But in order for us to get aligned, we’re doing that digging work that I was mentioning of all right, so what are the beliefs? What are the blocks? What’s the programming that’s making you, if I talk about my client again, not be in a relationship even though you say you want to be in a relationship, and all these dates you’re going on, you’re kind of self-sabotaging or your mind is coming up with reasons on why this person isn’t good enough. So what’s really going on?

And it’s been a really powerful way in a really short amount of time to have incredible changes in people’s lives, transformations. And that just came naturally to me. When I first started to hold space, I was sensing. In a group setting, I would hear things, I would get words. And when I was doing one-on-one sessions and closing my eyes, I would see things and I’m like, this is weird and I would try to ignore it and it would just get louder. And I’m like, okay, let me just say it even though I have no idea why I’m saying it, why I’m thinking this, why I’m hearing this. And so, I would. And then afterward, my clients would say, and my students’ like, oh, that thing that you were saying, that was exactly what I was thinking at that moment, or that’s what’s happening in my life right now. So I would get validation from my clients and like, okay, there’s something here to it.

And I continuously still work with my own healers to just continue on my own healing and growth. And one of them suggested or said, you’re a clairvoyant and I think it would be helpful if you go to a school to help you be able to hold that space and also just protect your space so that you’re not using your energy. Rather, you’re just a channel, you’re just a vessel that’s communicating, but you’re not feeling drained. And so I did that for about two years. And that with the combination of the breathwork, I just absolutely love it. Because again, it’s one thing to go to a healer and get a reading, or get some messages and clarity on something, but when you’re actually doing yourself that active breathwork, you’re changing the chemistry in your body. You’re releasing the trauma in addition to getting validation. You’re creating new pathways in your brain. It’s just different. It’s exponential, the change that can happen. And so, the combination of the two, I’m like, yes, this is what I’m doing. And it’s been such an honor just to be of service in this capacity.

Sarah: So actually speaking of being of service in this capacity, I saw that you’ve also worked or facilitated breathwork in some really big settings, corporate settings, TV, celebrity, Bravo TV settings. And I’m so curious to know, because I would say breathwork is becoming more mainstream, but what has it been like to maybe introduce breathwork into some of these settings where you wouldn’t normally find it?

How Ana is breaking the stigma and silence around mental health through her healing journey

Ana: It’s been incredible, especially with the pandemic, where more and more companies, like I just did a session for Sony, Facebook, and then also smaller non-profits like the American Heart Association, where they are recognizing the importance of mental health and how it would be to their benefit to provide resources for their employees so that they can manage the stress, so that they don’t feel so overwhelmed, so that they have a space to release and regroup. What I have found is that it creates a lot of compassion in the workspace as well. Because when we breathe in a group setting, and I do open it up to shares afterward, which can be a little uncomfortable at the beginning, but there’s always a couple of brave souls that start it off, and then people are like, wow, I also feel bad or I’m going through that as well. You realize that your manager is a human as well and they’re also under stress. So the energy just completely shifts and people in a group setting, in a work environment, they just get closer. There’s more understanding, there’s more patience. It’s beautiful.

I have so much admiration for companies that do breathwork because it is different. It can be a more vulnerable experience to do this practice in the work environment, but the benefits are just incredible. And I’m so happy that more and more people are open to it and willing to bring it into a place. Someone just reached out as well to, and I’ve done this several times, to lead a breathwork session for their board members at their board retreat. And so, as a way to also get some creative inspiration, bonding time, that’s a really cool opportunity that I’ve recently had to do as well.

Sarah: Well, I think that speaks to how breathwork is for everybody and can facilitate lots of different experiences, whether the intention is around creative ideas and inspiration or healing your inner child. You know, just all over the board, depending on what the intention of that breathwork session is. And what I’ve seen in your practice of breathwork is that it does span from, like you said, Sony and Facebook to then even in your family and your personal life as well. It’s for everybody. And I saw that you brought your dad on and that you seem to be a very strong advocate for mental health, and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to talk about that a little bit.

Ana: Yes. I just did an Instagram Live with my dad last week, where he had recently relapsed on his 30-year sobriety. And so, it was really devastating to see him go through that and for our family to go through that again because we really didn’t think that that would ever happen again. But COVID brought up a lot of problems to the surface and it was very difficult. And there were some life changes that happened where my parents moved our hometown from Napa and with one of my sisters, and the isolation and all of that. So, unfortunately, he started drinking again and it got really scary where he was starting to have suicide ideation. And luckily, he was open to getting help so he went into rehab again for 30 days and then had been staying with me and my sister for the last three weeks. So it was kind of like his halfway house before heading back home.

And we talked about mental health and the importance of it. A lot of families don’t talk about it. A lot of us, I feel like these conversations are relatively new that we’re having so openly where people are like, I have depression, I have anxiety, I struggle with addiction. There used to be and there still is a lot of stigma and shame. Mental health, anxiety, depression runs in my family. We’ve had suicides in my family and really, I’m the first person talking about this. No one else has really… The terrible things have happened and people have just moved on. But we haven’t moved on because the pain is still there. And that’s actually what inspired me to start my own journey, where I too, being the adult child of an alcoholic, that’s a really traumatic upbringing. And one thing’s I never got therapy for that as a child. I thought, well, my dad doesn’t drink anymore, I guess we’re fine. Then in my 20s, I was realizing I started to exhibit anxiety symptoms without knowing that that’s what it was. And in the relationships that I was attracting, I was noticing, oh, wait, these are similar dynamics that my parents are going through. And so, that’s when I started to do my own research on adult children of alcoholics and learn about addiction and alcoholism.

Then I started therapy, and then I did ISTDP, Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, which is a really great type of psychotherapy that also does body awareness. And so that’s why when I did breathwork and had all of this, I’m like, oh, this is kind of what I was doing with my therapist. And I would share with my family, this is what I’m doing. And it was interesting when I told my dad that I was in therapy to heal my inner child because of how traumatic it was to be his child when he was drunk, he got really offended and defensive and did not recognize it at all. It was really painful to have him react that way. And once again, I felt completely alone in my healing journey and I felt like nobody understood me. And I would still continue to advocate to my family like, listen, I think it would be really helpful if you went to therapy. And there was just so much stigma. I’m Mexican and born in the US but my parents are from Mexico. You know, viewing therapy as like for crazy people, just someone who’s out of control. So it would be like a putdown to suggest it to anyone.

And so, I dealt with that for 10 years. And it wasn’t until the second time that my dad was in rehab, where the center that he went to, here in LA is therapy-focused and he was introduced to a lot of different healing modalities from hypnosis to art therapy to sound therapy, where he started to learn that our trauma stays with us, lives with us. And it’s not just you, it affects everyone around you. And so, he finally apologized to us for how his behaviors have impacted us. And it was just such a powerful moment for my inner child where she felt so validated finally, and the healing just continued. And so, when we did the Instagram Live, he was advocating a lot to get help. That when we’re starting to feel, we may not even know what we’re feeling. And I think my dad has had panic attacks without knowing he’s had panic attacks. He’s thought that he’s been having heart attacks, like sensations of I’m about to have a heart attack. And so, he’s rushed to the hospital and they’re like, there’s nothing wrong with you.

And so, with that information that he’s learned, he’s starting to see things differently. And because of that, I also suggested again to my whole family that we each, once again, or start, because they haven’t started, a healing journey. And so, my mom started therapy at 68 years old. My dad is in therapy and he’s 71 years old. And all of my sisters except for one have started their own therapy as well. So if you are feeling very alone in your healing journey and wishing that your family would also embark on one, I just invite you to be patient, to just continue to do the work for yourself. It really does have a ripple effect even though it feels like nothing’s changing. But because you are changing yourself and healing yourself, you’re going to show up differently. So the interactions that you had with your loved ones is not going to be the same. And that’s going to create some conflict because people are going to want to rebel and they’re like, what is happening right now? We’re used to this dysfunction or this way of being, and all of a sudden you’re coming in and showing up differently with your energy, and how you speak, and your boundaries. But it does make a huge impact and then it inspires people to start on their own journey. And it’s been beautiful.

I’ve seen that in my own breathwork practice where during the pandemic, I just created Community Gathering, a sliding scale offering where you can come and just breathe and show up with whatever you’re showing up. And I have had my clients invite their adult parents to come. So I have people from their kids, teenagers breathing together, to the grandparents who are in their 90s, and everyone in between. So breathwork is, as you said, accessible to everyone and it can be whatever you want it to be. I have people who just show up and not necessarily do the active breathing, but just receive and still move and listen to the music and still get a lot out of it.

Sarah: Yes. I was going to mirror that back to you that you, it seems, were such a catalyst for change, firstly, in yourself, but then as a ripple effect, like you mentioned, to your entire family and now to your community and the world by being brave to start, right? And then also I’m hearing resilience. Resilience to have some conversations that haven’t been the easiest and resilience and dedication to your own self-healing and self-leadership journey to keep going, even though it wasn’t approved by everybody. And I just want to remind all of our listeners of that as well, that you can be the catalyst in your own family or simply for yourself. That’s where it may begin. And a lot of our listeners are empathic, intuitive women who I believe were put on this planet or in their family unit specifically to be the change and be the healing. So we’re not responsible for other people, we’re not here to fix other people or any of that BS, but we absolutely can take ownership of our own healing journey and start to see some of those ripple effects like you mentioned.

Hello, podcast fan, just popping in for a second because in this postpartum period, now that my daughter Emersyn is officially one month old today, it has flown by and yet been such a blur. And breastfeeding is hard work. I have a whole newfound respect for how much you need to supplement and hydrate and give your body the nutrients that it needs in order to be breastfeeding. So, one thing that has been supporting me so much is having my container of electrolytes next to me, pretty much all day long. I, as you guys have heard me talk about before, I’m a huge fan of LMNT Electrolytes. They are salty and delicious, and there are some amazing flavors. My current favorite is their new flavor Watermelon, but I also love the Raspberry, the Citrus, the Orange; they’re all really good.

And electrolytes are charged minerals that conduct electricity to power our nervous system. And mine has felt a little bit fried lately because we are not sleeping through the night. We are getting max about three hours of sleep at any given time. So regulating my hydration as well as my husband’s and balancing fluids inside and outside of myself has been so supportive. Literally feels lifesaving. And as a Uncensored Empath podcast listener, you get to try these amazing electrolytes for free, you just pay $5 in shipping. You get a free sample pack. Simply go to drinklmnt.com/empath to try it out. Again, that’s drinklmnt.com/empath. And I’d love for you to let me know what your favorite flavor is and tag me over on Instagram.

Sarah: So, oh my gosh, I want to keep talking but we’re at the top of our time. So I know you mentioned there’s a way for people to get some breathwork, get some healing, some self-love, self-care right now with you. And where can people continue to learn more?

Ana: Yes. On my website, I have a lot of free resources including a free meditation, that five-minute morning breathwork meditation. And I currently also have a Summer of Self-Love Challenge where you get five different exercises, including a 20-minute breathwork self-love practice to help you boost your confidence, self-worth, feel deserving. It all starts with us, as we’re saying. We have to fill up our cup, we have to do the work for ourselves and make ourselves a priority so that we can show up without that guilt, without all of the responsibilities that then changes what we’re trying to do, but really just doing it for ourselves. And that makes it easier also just to receive, whether it’s your dreams, or support, or just the life that you want because you do feel deserving of it and worthy of it and making yourself a priority. So those are a couple of free offerings that I have on my website analilia.net and that’s with one ‘n’.

Sarah: Beautiful. We will link that in the show notes. I feel like this is an invitation for everyone to really come back to their own authentic power within them. Thank you so much, Ana, for being on today.

Ana: Thank you, Sarah. Appreciate it.

Connect with Ana:


Ana’s workshops and 1:1 Sessions


Connect with Sarah:

Instagram | Facebook Community | Pinterest | YouTube | Third Eye Collective

Work with Sarah:

Online courses | 1:1 coaching | Send show requests to sarah@theuncensoredempath.com!

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July 28, 2021


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