Dr. Liara Covert

Breathwork Psychotherapist
Intuitive Coach, Workshop Facilitator 

Sunshine Coast, Queensland 

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Entries in self-healing (6)

Tuesday
Aug062019

Interview with Adrienne Strong

While recently experiencing the Open Day activities at the local Chenrizig Institute, I had the pleasure of meeting Adrienne Strong.  She hosted an introductory workshop about Buteyko Breathing and co-runs the Windhorse Heath Clinic with her partner.  It is an honor to connect with her again here and to engage in a more in-depth interview.  Thanks Adrienne!

Thank you for the interest and opportunity to be involved in your work.

Please share a peak experience in your life. 

I have been a Buddhist for many years and an asthmatic since birth. 

How do these peak experiences shape you?

I suppose learning to meditate was a way to calm my otherwise anxious and busy mind, and the Buddhist philosophy made sense of an otherwise chaotic and speedy world.

Many people seek to quiet the mind and often turn to meditation from different traditions. Any other reasons why specific meditation practices resonate?  

Buddhism also came to me to blend with my artistic bent.  It made my otherwise "fruitless" degree in Visual Arts, more useful.  I have been able to sculpt many decorations and statues for the Enlightenment Garden and the Gompa at Chenrezig Institute.

Visiting these gardens allows one to feel their uplifting energy. Such projects remind us that our initial expectations for training do not always envision ways we nurture unseen talents and allow them to blossom. Garden design ability is a gift.  Other than being in nature, how do you come to focus on health and the breath?

Many years ago, in the early 1990s, post-degree, I was living in Melbourne. I heard vicariously about this Buteyko Breathing method...

Funny, is it not? What seem like coincidences at certain stages of life later turn out to feel like synchonicities that are planting a seed to grow.

Yes! Anyway, I heard this method was greatly helping people with asthma, anxiety and sleep disorders.  At the time I was studying a post grad masters in Film & TV, and living on a very small stipend to get by.  

What sparked your curiosity about Buteyko breathing?

Whilst Buteyko was getting a lot of attention and amazing results, there was little information around what it was, and to do a course was over $1000, way out of my financial reach as a struggling University student. I sort of focused on other things, out of necessity.

Sounds like you wanted to know more, but the timing was not right. What was the turning point?

Skip 20 years forward, and I was living on asthma medications.  I couldn’t sleep without having a Ventolin inhaler at arms-reach.  I would be at the chemist at least every month to replenish my supply.   My heart was starting to regularly palpitate and cause even more anxiety than just the inability to draw breath.

Clearly, you were faced with huge health challenges. It is said we do not truly value the breath until we struggle to breathe. How did Buteyko re-enter your life? 

My wonderful health practitioner partner had bought me an on-line course in Buteyko for Christmas 2016, and was kind enough to do the course with me.  It was an on-line Zoom course with a well-known Sydney naturopath and Buteyko teacher, Mim Biem at a cost greatly reduced to original Buteyko classes of the 90’s. Four weeks later, upon completion of the course, I was astounded in the results I was experiencing.  

Please be more specific.

Well, I hadn’t used my Ventolin at all since two weeks into beginning the course as my breathing was so much better.  Yet, more importantly, my anxiety was improving, my constipation was suddenly manageable and by doing breath hold exercises, I had so much energy!  It was the beginning of a new me.  

A friend of mine has also healed her asthma and depression from consistent breathwork. Its inspiring to connect with people who know first-hand the power of the breath to reconnect them to well-being. How would you now describe the impact of Buteyko breathing for you?

As months went by, I kept doing the exercises and kept improving.  Buteyko is like peeling back an onion of sorts.  It is said that for every year of Buteyko breathing, you are undoing the results of 10 years of dysfunctional breathing.

Wow! Shifting from the perception of dysfunctional breathing to normalized breathing...that is huge with far-reaching implications! What guided you to teach Buteyko breathing?

In October that year, Mim was holding a teachers training course in Sydney.  The event was led by well- known author and Buteyko practitioner, Patrick McKeown.  

Love the Ted Talk by Patrick McKeown who is also known for the Oxygen Advantage. 

Indeed. My partner Carey, being an ayurvedic natural therapist, was so impressed by this Buteyko modality, had decided to attend.  I ummm’d and aaaah’d about attending the training with him, having such a wonderful improvement in my own asthma & overall health.  

What prompted you to hesitate?

As an artist & disability support worker, I couldn’t initially see how this would fit into my working life.  Glad I followed my intuition. I can honestly say, enrolling in that training was the second most wonderful thing I have done, next to the course with Mim.  Not only did it encourage me to improve and continue with my own Buteyko practice, but gave me ability to spread these valuable techniques to help others help themselves.

Who are your other inspirations?

Given my focus on Buteyko breathing, the founder of this technique is a big inspiration. Professor Konstantin Pavlov Buteyko was born in the Ukraine and originally studied engineering at Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

What prompted Buteyko to investigate breathing?

After a brief enrolment in Russia’s armed forces during World War II, Buteyko ended up studying “the most complicated piece of machinery of all”, the human body, at The First Medical Institute in Moscow.  In Buteyko’s third year of study, he was given a practical assignment in his clinical therapy group, monitoring the breathing of diseased & dying patients. He soon realised that the unwell patients he was observing were hyperventilating.  As the diseases would progress, and their inevitable demise would get closer, their breathing became faster and deeper.  At first he wasn’t certain as to whether the illness was causing the hyperventilation or the opposite, but one way he decided he could find out was to work on reducing the quantity and speed of breath.

Okay- slow the breathing down, slow the the onset of death. In ancient India, the belief exists that duration of life (mortality) is based on a finite number of breaths. What is less often known is the duration and nature of these breaths.

 What is unique about Buteyko's approach?

 Buteyko first began experimenting on himself and realised that when he calmed and lessoned his own breath, he could ease his headaches & greatly reduce his own high blood pressure. Also he would ask healthy subjects to take big breaths and breathe rapidly for a period of time, and found that they would become nauseous and dizzy, then develop wheezing and coughing from the subsequent asphyxiation, until eventually the subjects would feint. 

So many people believe that if we struggle to breathe, then breathing faster is the answer.  As a former asthmatic, you know breathing faster does not harness more much-needed oxygen. What did Buteyko discover about hyperventilation?  

After an enormous amount of study, observation and trials, Buteyko was convinced that reducing hyperventilation was causing sick people to recover from their illness.  He began developing a series of exercises which people could use to reduce and calm their breath. Using breath hold and relaxation exercises, ultimately uses neuroplasticity to recalibrate the respiratory centre in the brain. Automating this new way of breathing, less in volume, but diaphragmatically, greatly increases oxygenation to tissues, muscles, organs and cells and is what is now commonly known as “Buteyko”.

Who do you feel can benefit from Buteyko Breathing?

Buteyko is a beautiful fit for anyone who meditates or practices mindfulness, as it naturally brings you quickly to states of calmness and wellbeing.  It was a missing piece from the puzzle of good health for me, which has not only nourished my meditation practice but made so many previously undoable activities possible.  A good test for my Buteyko came when we booked ourselves into a meditation retreat in the mountains of Colorado a couple of years ago.  

If you could share an epiphany, what would it be?

Buteyko breathing has changed my life for the better, enables me to do things now that I once thought were not possible. For example, I had visited Nepal after finishing University in the early 90’s and I loved it, it felt like I had "come home".   I wanted to see the country, so I made my way to Pokhara which is at the base of the Annapurna circuit and the beginning of many of Nepals most famous treks.  I felt like an elephant had sat on my chest and I had to return back down to polluted old Kathmandu so that I could draw breath.  I thought i was never going to be able to trek in the mountains or visit anywhere at altitude.  But after learning Buteyko, we attended the retreat in Crestone, Colorado at an elevation of 2,415 m, approximately 625m higher than Pokhara, without so much as a wheeze. I feel like a new person!

 What enables you to feel most alive?

My partner and I try to teach 4 Buteyko group courses per year, and together we can train up to 10 people at a time this way.  We are also happy to train people one to one or smaller groups in person, or via Zoom online.  Buteyko breathing impacts all of the bodies systems, including the cardiovascular, digestive and autonomic nervous system, and the science behind it is very interesting.  It has a huge impact on sleep issues including sleep apnoea, improves sports performance, reduces inflammation and reduces lactic acid build up after exercise.  Symptoms of asthma and anxiety just melt away using Buteyko, and it gives us powerful tools to use in both acute and chronic situations.  I am incredibly passionate about sharing this wonderful, simple, yet powerful breathing method with anyone who wants to learn.  

Please let people know where they can contact you, details of upcoming events, website, ect.

Our next group training will be in the Eudlo Community Hall and it’s in 3 parts, on September 7, 14 & 21 from 9:30~11:30 am.

Information and bookings are on the website www.windhorsehealth.com or you can email us windhorsebuteyko@gmail.com, or give us a call;) Adrienne: 0401 038573  Carey: 0401 822961

Thanks Adrienne. Please also let us know when you and your aprtner will be offering a Buteyko course suitable for children. 

Keep a watch on our website for upcoming events.

Appreciate very much your willingness to share your insight and personal motivation to get involved in this Buteyko method for stabilizing the breath. It is gaining wider visibility as more people share their inspirational stories of empowerment and triumph.

Tuesday
Sep112018

10 Tips to rendez-vous with destiny

A popular question that arises is how to catch up with destiny. Many people admit they view destiny as a kind of carrot at the end of a fishing line they feel they are often chasing. Although life purpose may change at different life stages, destiny is viewed as your unique and ultimate reason for being. Does this confuse you? You may be asking what you need to do, where to go, to feel at ease or in harmony with yourself. Reflect on 10 tips to r.d.v. with your destiny: 

1. Recognize your 'comfort zone' 

This entails recognizing your comfort zone in different areas of your life and how this limits you.  In general, the more rigid your (or your kids') schedule, the more comfort zones you have created.  If you are caring for other people, (i.e., relations, pets or other friends), the more jam-packed their routine, the more you fear letting go of control, the more you fear spontaneity, fear creating something new, lasting and enriching in your life or feel uncomfortable stepping into the unfamilliar.  Conscious awareness of why you do things greatly empowers you to shift reality.

2. Find the courage to heal

Comfort zones do not just happen.  They are a symptom of repressed/ suppressed negative emotions, unhealed pain and mental suffering. Finding courage to heal implies the willingness to grow aware of triggers and habits (why these arise), and how you numb out or shift focus from the root cause of discomfort. This involves exploring character traits, possible co-dependence, people-pleasing, unconscious self-sabotage, self-hate or rejection and fear-based action.  Discover what blocks true intimacy, connnection, personal fulfillment & professional success. 

3. Stretch yourself

Watch what unfolds as you envision yourself beyond your current circumstances.  Depending on your readiness, this could mean taking up a course or training, shifting into a new vocation, moving geographically, building a dream home, renovating something, changing entourage, or generally building a new foundation from where to grow. Every instance you see things differently, even taking a new route to work, choosing to wear more comfortable shoes, or openly confiding intimate details of your life without fear of vulnerability, you are tasting your destiny. Every moment, you can take steps to find your way. Consider working with a mentor.

4. Adopt an optimistic attitude

The moment is ripe to function with an optimistic attitude. Listen to your thoughts and words more closely. How often do you hear yourself saying, "this is not possible because..." or "the time is not right because...?" Be aware of how often you talk yourself out of what you want, what feels right or do not even allow yourself to explore possibilities beyond habit. Who is really in charge here? Being optimistic is part of the process of reclaiming personal power you gave away. Imagine reclaiming it and letting go of what holds you back. How does your perception shift?

5. Stop acting to appease others

Whether or not its obvious to you at this stage, you are not always acting based on your own heart-felt desires and dreams.  Self-acceptance does not depend on the nature and intensity of your fitness practices or the amount of what you accomplish in the eyes of family or mentors and role models you admire. As you recognize and stop unconscious behaviours that arise to appease others, you move into that place where you do things you only used to speak or dream about.  

6. Tap into unused potential

Imagine the possibility you only use a fraction of your innate intelligence, wisdom and resources.  Remind yourself the moment is ripe to access diverse skills and abilities that you habitually fail to see and use. Know and accept that within you are powers that facilitate everything imaginable you could become. Simply get out of your own way. Talking to yourself can help you clarify what you wish to do or create in life.  Where you are is perfect for this moment and you are catching up with dreams realized by a future version of you watching your progress. 

7. Set new goals

Watch what happens as you give up complacency in favor of extending your wings more fully, of raising the bar for yourself.  Imagine what it feels like to blossom beyond self-created boundaries.  Set new goals that draw out the best in you.  Work toward those things that enable you to develop a sense of mastery and peak performance.  Begin with a pad of paper, writing implement and undivided attention.  Unleash the unthinkable. Let your fingers do the talking.

8. Imagine no limitations

Take a few moments to imagine you have no limitations in terms of money, no time constraints, health issues, no obstacles to contacts, experience, knowledge or education. That is, imagine whatever you write is possible for you, provided you want it genuinely and are willing to make whatever efforts and sacrifices are necessary.  This implies seeing through mid-life crisis. Go on, surprise yourself.  What would it look like?

9. Build unshakable self-confidence

It may surprise you but the mere act of writing dreams on paper takes a concept to the next level while building your self-confidence. Focusing physical and mental energy on specific ideas gives them life.  The process of adding detail and taking steps to realize it generates a greater sense of personal power and ability.  This is not ego-driven arrogance or pride but heartfelt love of life. 

 10.  Achieve peak performance

Achieving peak performance happens as you clarify goals, challenge and revise your own standards, invite feedback, do not take things personally, give yourself heart and soul to what enables you to feel harmony within yourself.  This may seem like a big ask or a tall order.  Yet, it happens naturally when you are in a state of flow because you function with extraordinary energy and clarity. Everything simply comes together. Uncover what you are uniquely qualified to do and be and even the stranger you speak to in passing reveals a connection to where you are heading. Making a meaningful and lasting impact on the world begins with cracking the shield you have build oer your own heart.  Are you ready to be proactive? Let the Soul be your pilot.

Friday
Sep072018

7 Tips to see gifts in your defences

Defences are an ingenious gift we give ourselves.  They are strategies that help us get through adversity, trauma, and even survive.  The child's mind and adult mind have unique ways of dealing with discomfort. In order to master yourself, you need to appreciate and grasp ALL levels of defences.  That is, you have to grow conscious of what you are hiding from and why so the unconscious patterns cease to control your patterns of behaviour and projections. This allows you to form ‘the big picture’ of the way all the levels of defences interplay.  Contact us for session details.  Meanwhile, ponder 7 tips to gain new insight into the nature of your own defences:

1. Grow aware of childhood defence mechanisms

2. Get clear on adult defence tendencies

3. Explore character or personality structures that enable you to survive

4. Identify day-to-day behaviours that are defences in disguise

5. Connect defences with emotional blockages

6. Make shadows conscious & heal them

7. Allow effortless transformation to happen

(We all have a Self-Actualising’ Tendency that comes into play once our ‘blockages’ are removed.  In other words, your dreams realize themselves when you know to get out of your own way)

Colors, like features, follow the changes of emotions.- Pablo Picasso

Wednesday
Jul252018

3 Ways to get closer to truth

Whenever an imbalance or illness arises, while its important to treat physical symptoms, unless you recognize and address underlying causes, physical difficulties simply continue.  There's always more going on undetected by the logical mind and physical senses. This is an invitation to pay closer attention, to go deeper into what you resist seeing and addressing within.

1. Take responsibility for the process of your own healing 

This is not about always doing everything yourself. Reaching our for guidance can be helpful.  Deep healing is not about fixing physical issues. Rather, its a much broader process that gets at the root of underlying causes of physical, emotional, psychic or social disfunction. 

2.  Recognize your dysfunctional behaviours

Few people see themselves clearly.  We see through distorted filters of belief which allows us to avoid facing what drives us at the core. This is about making core values that drive the shadow, conscious. So long as you feel unfulfilled or unworthy, for example, you are programmed to compensate for perceived inadequacy in your behaviours.

3. Sacrifice your dysfunctional behaviour

Making the conscious choice to give up certain behaviours takes a lot of courage. It may feel like a sacrifice. Yet, you cannot give up anythng real. When you are ready to explore the true meaning of integrity, and live this on many levels, you are getting closer to who you are. This is about remembering what the flow feels like. It is not about appeasing anyone. It is about letting go.

Sunday
Jun242012

Reframe illness

If you ever feel under the weather, notice the words you use to describe your state and how experience unfolds to confirm them. Notice what messages the body is sending to you. How do you think and feel about this? This is an opportunity to see through misperceptions.

On the surface, you may feel overtired or over-extended. You may pinpoint restlessness, second guess some of your choices or brainstorm what is next. If you focus on imbalance, sadness, dissatisfaction or rejection, you invite more reasons to feel this way. Be aware of the world you create for yourself.  Only the body is sick. How you view the body and your state of mind changes everything.  Beyond this, what does not change may surprise you.

Watch what happens as you view it all as a teacher. Identify what are you really feeling uneasy or sick about. It's not what you think. Its not the nature of a job, condition, dead pet, or state of relationships that triggers the physical symptoms you notice.  Its not what seems to happen to you, but how you feel about it that affects your energy states.  Shift focus to isolate what you think you fear.  Now, step back to recognize why this fear is an illusion.  Peel away the layers.  Be more selective about your thoughts and the words you use.

Imagine how your life presents as as you recall all is well already.  Sense the joy of laughter and the impact of self-recognition. Healing is a state of mind. The state of being is perfect.