The Living Breath
Bringing Breath to Life
To be present is where you find inner peace. Find your breath and you are present. Stay, breathe freely, and realize a life that will carry you.
What is Breathwork?
Breathwork is the practice of breathing consciously for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being
How we are breathing is affecting how we are experiencing life moment to moment AND what we are experiencing is affecting our way of breathing. Breathwork refers to consciously changing the breathing pattern with the intention to experience relaxation, more energy and vitality, emotional release, mental calm and clarity or expanded states of consciousness.
Breath in its essence is life energy. Breathing as a physiological function is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, our involuntary survival responses (the ones we don’t have to think about such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, etc.). We can consciously use our breath to interrupt the stress response and in doing so access our relaxation response. It is a connecting force between the conscious and unconscious aspects of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. When we breathe consciously with intention, our inner wisdom is given the space to do what it knows to do; balance, heal and revitalize us.
Once we re-experience our free, open way of breathing, our natural birthright, it is available to use consciously as a support for the rest of our lives. Bringing our breath back to our lives means we have the ability to live with more energy, to calm and balance the nervous system in the moment, to have a health promoting, stress relieving 'tool', and to know that our breath is a comforting companion that allows us to willingly meet whatever life brings to us.
My job and calling as a breathwork facilitator is to hold space with and facilitate others to experience their present moment aliveness and deep seated inner resource. It is an honor and the best way I can possibly imagine spending my time in life. I love my job! I am grateful.
I have been practicing as a certified breathwork facilitator since 1993. I am also a certified Hakomi mindful somatic psychotherapy practitioner. My focus on body awareness grew through my work as a Shiatsu and Reiki practitioner and a teacher of dance, yoga, and fitness over the past 30+ years.
I bring a wide range of experience to my individual and group sessions, including teacher training in Mindful Self-Compassion, and studies in Qi Gong, Nonviolent Communication, spirituality, and meditation practices.
In 1987, I had a profound experience in my first breathwork session of knowing myself as whole and empowered beyond the fear and anxiety I had throughout my life. I was compelled to continue a personal exploration in this process for the next five years. In 1993 I was certified as a facilitator in Conscious Connected Breathwork. In 1995 I became a trainer for Judith Kravitz, founder of The Transformational Breath Foundation.
Through the years I have given classes and workshops and have had a private clientele in New York City, Boston, Chicago, New Hampshire, Boulder, Colorado, Southern California, and Portland, Oregon.
I currently live in Portland, Oregon, where I continue a private breathwork practice and give workshops, introductory and support classes. All of these programs are focused on conscious breathing and being, living more fully and self compassionately in the present moment.
The Breathwork Companion
Practical and accessible, Margaret Townsend's The Breathwork Companion delivers a complete program of exercises, inspiring true stories, prompts, and more to give readers the skills they need to build and maintain a healing breath practice.
Margaret brings more than 30 years of breathwork facilitation and study to The Breathwork Companion. Learn the best ways to wake the body up in the morning and tune it down at night; how to strengthen the mind-body connection to boost the immune system and decrease inflammation; how to help with specific emotions including anger, fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, grief, fatigue, stress; and how to increase self-compassion and find a calmer, more balanced, steady state.
Conscious breathing is the ultimate chill pill—minus the pill. Margaret Townsend makes it available to all in this thoughtful, clear guide. I can’t think of anyone who would not benefit from this book.”
—Frank Lipman, MD, Author of The New Rules of Aging Well
"Margaret interweaves thesis aspects of breathwork into a lived daily relationship that grows as that of a wise friend who knows us and our bodies from the inside out."
– Jim Morningstar, PHD, Director of the Therapeutic Breathwork Training Program
“This book will change your life. It is thorough and artistic and comprehensively covers the many facets of breathing, which is the most important thing we do. I am excited to share it with all my students.”
—Judith Kravitz, Founder and Developer of Transformational Breath
Buy The Breathwork Companion here:
It would be an understatement to say that my work with Margaret has been profound. Breathwork with Margaret has genuinely changed my life”. –Dasia
"With compassion and deep knowledge Margaret gently offers insights as she creates a safe environment for me to reflect and have new understanding of myself through my breath." –Laurie
“Doing Breathwork with Margaret helped me reduce anxiety and made everyday tasks that seemed overwhelming manageable again”. –Chip
“Margaret supported me in learning how to better regulate my nervous system, and find a solution to my life-long struggle with insomnia.”
"Having finished my third session, I find my breathing quite unrestricted. I am grateful for the time Margaret spent with me." –Chris
I felt such safeness with Margaret, such calmness through the breathing we had done, that I allowed a door to open I thought I had locked and thrown away the key". –Debbie
"It works…yes it does! It left me so peaceful, relaxed and free from stress…I can hardly wait for my next session." –Shirley
“Margaret holds the space for any emotional dis-ease to reveal itself and lovingly let go from the body. As a professional coach I have a deep gratitude for her ability to help me find that loving place inside myself once again.” –Ed
Let your breath guide you into the space of balance and presence, the source of your vital energy, the home of your inner sanctuary.
I would love to be a support for you to experience the power and freedom of conscious breathing on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.
It is common to hear people say that they know that their breath is tight, or they need to breathe deeper and when they try on their own, they just can’t get very far. This is because they are connecting with some unconscious holding or tension pattern in their body that is related to an emotional protection response. It is just too uncomfortable to breathe into that place of tension by themselves.
The value of being facilitated rests in having a guide to create a safe place, a reminder of the safe space within each of us. This enables the release of these patterns in the body and breath and a pathway to access conscious breathing on your own for the rest of your life.
The effects of these holding patterns of tension, kept in place by shallow, restricted breathing, are experienced as stress, and can be revealed as physical and emotional conditions. High blood pressure, hyperventilation, hypertension, anxiety, chronic pain, heart problems, insomnia, depression and more have been reported to have positive effects from freeing the diaphragm–diaphragmatic breathing. All it takes is the curiosity and willingness to experience what is natural and free within you.
The value of being facilitated rests in having a guide to create a safe place, a reminder of the safe space within each of us. This enables the release of these patterns in the body and breath and a pathway to access conscious breathing on your own for the rest of your life. Experience:
• Mindful awareness of the breath
• Ways to use breath to calm and regulate the nervous system and mind
• A guided conscious connected breath session to unwind old tension patterns in the body/mind and connect to your expansive inner space of peace and well-being and be revitalized
Monthly Community Breathe Workshops
In this workshop, you will learn breath practices to:
• Expand and ground into present moment awareness; anywhere, anytime
• Regulate your nervous system, a lifelong resource for health/well-being
• Open your body, breath and heart with movement
• Experience the healing power of a conscious connected breath session
• Nurture your self-compassion
Schedule for Community Breathe Workshops, March - July 2023
Last Saturday of the month, 3:30-5:30 pm – 4.29, 5.27, 6.24, 7.29
Sellwood Yoga - 7970 SE 13th Ave. Portland, OR 97202
Sign up here.
Sponsor a Class
Bring your friends together at your own place for a private Breathwork Party! Spend some nourishing time with your friends or work group and experience a variety of ways to ease stress, cultivate vital energy and breathe together! Email or call 503-635-2981 to schedule a session.