Looking back over a long and diverse working career, health and creativity seem to be the two main strands to emerge

Now in my 8th decade it is a pleasure and privilege to remain active and motivated and to have meaningful work to offer to the community at large, in the form of breath work and inspirational creativity.

I spent a good part of the 1970’s working as a chef in Henderson’s of Edinburgh probably Scotland’s first whole food and vegetarian restaurant. ‘You are what you eat” was its slogan and the Henderson family also offered tai chi and yoga classes in an upstairs gallery, both of which I attended and enjoyed.

At various times in my working career I have run art, craft and creativity workshops within the community as well as within prison, drug rehab and family support settings, day centres for the elderly, and for community education and in schools.

Creativity has been one of my own main hobbies and sketch pad, canvas and easel, and writing journal have never been far away from my hands

Within my formal education I gained an MA as a mature student from Edinburgh University in Art History and English Literature, both within the humanities and gave me deeper insights into aesthetics and the human condition.

In the late 1980’s I moved from Edinburgh to Glasgow where I helped set up the charity known as the Phoenix Centre, a very early city centre stress centre which focused on the teaching and use of correct breathing to deal with the broad range of physical, mental and emotional challenges individuals, families and communities experience in our modern, fast-moving, consumer driven often stressful society.
During the 1990’s whilst working within the Phoenix Centre I underwent training in breath work, psychotherapy, reiki, EFT, and the metamorphique technique (feet hands and head).

The Phoenix Centre ran for some two and a half decades during which time thousands of Glasgow folks came through it’s doors to experience what we had to offer. Many became volunteers and shared their skills and talents to make the place a rich oasis of healing and creativity within the heart of Glasgow.

The Centre was also known as “The People’s University of Health’ and “The College of Childhood”, which says it all.

Those decades within the Phoenix generated much material in learning, testimonials, theories and information on breathing all of which found expression in the publication of a book ‘Trust your Breath’, co-authored by Anne Shearer and myself. We also created two SCQF (Scottish Educational Qualification Framework) on Breathing and which are credit rated through Edinburgh Napier University.

The breath work continues through the Glasgow based charity known as Trust Your Breath which operates from Queens Crescent in Glasgow’s Woodlands area and whose Trustees were also part of the earlier Phoenix Centre. The Trust was active during recent lockdowns running zoom sessions for individuals and groups. We are now resuming the running of face to face breathing sessions for individuals and groups again from our Glasgow premises.

Breathwork is an inspiration to us all in Trust Your Breath with it’s aim to teach Glasgow, Scotland and the wider world to breathe correctly again for we believe that good breathing can heal many of the very big ills and challenges the world faces.

The work continues ………..

www.trustyourbreath.org.uk

Heather Monteith

Heather Monteith