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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Transformational Breath Changes Breathing Patterns and Lives

by Linda Sechrist

Carrie Sopko and Alva Marie Ristevski are local certified practitioners offering Transformational Breath, a powerful self-healing modality. Offering private and group teaching experiences, the women are helping to expand the work of Judith Kravitz, founder of Transformational Breath, in Southwest Florida. Kravitz has been evolving this technique, integrating principles from metaphysics, kundalini yoga, breath analysis, sound healing and body mapping (the process of constructively applying an understanding of anatomy to improve how we move), as well as other healing and spiritual principles, since the mid-1970s. 

Sopko, owner of White Wind Holistic Health, facilitates group breathwork at BKS Yoga Studio, in Naples on Sundays. Ristevski facilitates a monthly group at Goddess I AM, in Naples, and AHA! A Holistic Approach Center, in Fort Myers. They both receive regular feedback from participants regarding the benefits of practicing Transformational Breath. “People not only report improved physical health, cleared emotional wounds and enhanced mental capabilities, but also a stronger connection to spirit and the cultivation of a greater awareness of the breath and self. Life opens up and becomes more fulfilling through the practice of Transformational Breath,” says Sopko, who has been teaching the modality for nine years.

Medical science is now explaining how breathing stimulates the release of endorphins, neuropeptides and other beneficial chemicals into the bloodstream to create blissful and euphoric states. The majority of individuals take the breath for granted until it becomes impaired. “Our primary focus as facilitators is to help people open their respiratory system. Most of us don’t use 20 percent of it. This simple step can be the starting point for physical well being, improved mental/emotional states and communication with higher states of consciousness,” advises Sopko, who is also a reiki master.

In areas that breath is not fully reaching, facilitators use a touch to apply light pressure where they sense tension in the body. “In my first experience with this modality, my facilitator touched my rib cage, unleashing a muscle memory and causing an emotional release of something I’d been unconsciously holding on to. When working with people in groups or private sessions, I can see by observing their breathing pattern where there are blocks created by lower-density energies that no longer serve them. A one-hour session can literally transform a person’s life. I’ve seen it happen many times. I’ve also had clients that   have had major emotional releases within the first minute,” says Sopko.

The key to a healthy body lies in the oxygenation of its cells, a process that Kravitz explains won’t happen unless an individual is breathing fully and using the whole respiratory system in a relaxed way. Using Transformational Breath, Sopko and Ristevski help individuals diagnose their own unique breathing pattern and give them insights as to what the patterns represent in their life and expression, identifying what new areas are awakened by improved breathing. “Learning how to use conscious breathing not only to quiet the mind and liberate yourself from unpleasant emotional states can heal and integrate all areas of your life,” says Ristevski.

Kravitz describes breath as the connecting link between the mind and body, as well as the key to opening the doorway to our spiritual nature. “In an hour-long session during which we focus on circular breathing with no pauses between inhaling and exhaling, we show an individual how to utilize this link so that they can fully enjoy and express the blending of these aspects of their nature. I recall a woman telling me that her life felt much more spiritual after one session, and that she could feel the connection with Earth,” recalls Ristevski.

“Although we’re focused on diagnosing breath patterns and restructuring the respiratory system, we can’t help noticing that there is something very special in connecting to breath and building an intimate relationship with it. Personally, when I was dealing with a health crisis, if I hadn’t had the awareness of connecting with the power of my breath, my high levels of anxiety would have put me in the hospital. When we eliminate the unhealthy breath patterns, behavior changes, thoughts change and life changes. It’s inevitable,” enthuses Ristevski, who also teaches at Rhythmia Resort, in Costa Rica.

AHA! A Holistic Approach Center is located at 15971 McGregor Blvd., in Fort Myers. For more information call 239-433-5995. Visit See ad, page xx.

Goddess I AM is located at 600 Goodlette Rd., in Naples. For more information call 239-228-6949. Visit