Gwen Payne | The Breath of Inspiration: How Ancient Breathwork Turns Your Body Into A Conduit For Healing Generational Pain

Breathwork: “The breath found me. My philosophy around breathwork is that it is opening us up to be conduits for life, love, and spirit to flow through us.” – Gwen Payne

Wellness + Wisdom Episode 471

Founder of, “Breath is Prayer” and “Inspired Sedona”, Gwen Payne, shares what skills every breathwork facilitator needs, her own breathwork training experience + why she's a student for life, why death can be our greatest advisor and how to listen to your own authentic guidance system.

What actually blocks people from letting go of stress, anxiety, and negative emotions?

By the end of this episode, you will have a full understanding of how ancient breathwork turns your body into a conduit for healing depression and generational pain.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘The breath found me. My philosophy around breathwork is that it is opening us up to be conduits for life, love, and spirit to flow through us.' – Gwen Payne” quote=”‘The breath found me. My philosophy around breathwork is that it is opening us up to be conduits for life, love, and spirit to flow through us.' – Gwen Payne”]

Listen To Episode 471 As Gwen Payne Uncovers:

[1:30] What's Blocking Our Ability to Move Past Anxiety?

  • Gwen Payne
  • Inspired Sedona
  • Gwen's Gift to You!
  • How Josh and Gwen met for the first time in Sedona, Arizona when he went there to do a training with Carrie.
  • What it's been like for Gwen to be back in Austin, Texas after about 40 years since she last visited it.
  • The fact that Gwen was actually conceived in Austin and that's why it felt like home for her when she visited it in 1983.
  • Unpacking how we can allow ourselves to be and feel more free in our skin.
  • How growing up in a Mediterranean culture where differences are celebrated allows Gwen to see how homogenous American culture and identity are all over the country.
  • What Gwen's ‘Breath is Prayer' medicine is and how it helped Josh let go of held-back emotions.
  • Why experience is vital if you're going to facilitate and hold space as you lead a breathwork ceremony.
  • The fact that the average adult is only using 30% of their lung capacity.
  • Why sometimes people are so triggered and afraid by the idea of doing the inner work that they don't even begin it.
  • Exploring the deeply embedded thought in our psyche that everything we need is outside of ourselves when that isn't true.
  • Why we are so afraid to authentically express ourselves out of fear of being punished.

[10:40] The Core of Behavioral Dysfunction

  • What microtrauma is and how Josh did it to himself when he would watch porn or not speak his truth when he was a child.
  • Why energy from trauma doesn't just go away; it transmutes.
  • Unpacking the core of dysfunction: being out of alignment with our natural way of being.
  • Why freedom is something that we already have and how we can unblock ourselves to obtain it.
  • The moments of freedom that Gwen has experienced and witnessed in others while doing breathwork.
  • Why just doing breathwork is not enough; the release it gives us is fleeting and so it must be practiced consistently to help us feel free and in alignment.
  • The fact that it takes 90 seconds for an emotion to move through us + what it is about our psyche that blocks them.
  • Going beyond the intellectualization of our healing to focus on somatic healing.
  • 249 SOMA Breath For Less Stress: Niraj Naik
  • 410 Mark Divine | Positive Neurodiversity: Kokoro Spirit, The 5 Mountains For Inner Peace, & How To Fulfill Your Potential
  • Why Gwen was the only breathwork teacher that made Josh feel like he could teach other people.

[20:00] The Art of the Breath: What Skills a Facilitator Needs

  • What to expect when working with Gwen both in groups and private sessions.
  • The embodied learning that people go through when they do Gwen's breathwork facilitator program.
  • Differences between feeling ready to practice breathwork compared to facilitating a session.
  • What the best training she ever did was and why she did trainings for 3.5 years before becoming a facilitator.
  • The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood – The Passion Test
  • Common breathing mistakes we're making without even realizing it including holding our breath (especially exhales) for extended periods of time.
  • The fact that more and more people are turning to breathwork as we experience more stress as a collective.
  • How to go about selecting a breathwork program according to Gwen.
  • Why it's so important to be a facilitator who creates such a safe space for participants that no matter what comes up, they can be there and support the people participating in the session.
  • What usually comes up for people when they do breathwork and why trauma is present in various ways from crying and shaking to laughter or coughing.
  • Gwen's own intense breathwork moment with a client and why it could've been an ego stripping or something from his past being let go.

[34:20] We'll Always Be a Student of Life

  • Josh Trent: Solocast | Healing The Father Wound, 100+ Hours Fasting, Vision Questing + Being Alone With Mother Nature’s Wisdom
  • The best way to use breath to assist an emotion as it makes its way through the body in 90 seconds.
  • Why having an open mouth during breathwork makes such a difference because there is a lot of control held within the jaw.
  • The fact that we can never fully become a master at anything until we accept that we are a student.
  • Gwen's thirst for always growing, learning, and becoming an even better breathwork facilitator and trainer.
  • Her experience growing up in North Africa in an atheist/agnostic household and why it was the most educational and informative experience for her.
  • Why both Josh and Gwen feel like they didn't find the power of breathwork, it found them.
  • The fact that Gwen's great aunt was a spiritual teacher ever since her early 20s and how that influenced her mother.
  • What a Sufi retreat is and what most people get wrong about sufism.
  • Where and when Gwen was first introduced to breathwork for the first time in her life.

[45:00] How to Listen to Your Own Authentic Guidance System

  • Gwen's experience attending Stanford and the pressure she felt to go since her parents both went there and chose the professor career route.
  • The trauma that Gwen experienced in her upbringing and why being there with her parents while they were in hospice impacted her heart the most and that's when she really found her grit.
  • Her experience being a single mother and fighting for her children in different ways.
  • How breathwork and other inner work practices have helped her shift her trauma and difficult experiences into something that has made her stronger.
  • Why she strongly believes that we all need mentors and even multiple ones to help us develop.
  • Paleo(Fx)
  • Who she turned to for help and support when she didn't receive that from her family.
  • Why a person cannot do something like what Gwen does without going through a continuous healing process themselves.

[55:30] The Breath is Prayer Experience

[1:01:00] Why Death Can be Our Greatest Advisor

  • Exploring the concept of death and how sometimes Josh and Gwen have experienced unique “death-like” out-of-body sensations during breathwork and for Josh also Ayahuasca ceremonies.
  • Why the idea of death as her advisor has been a philosophy for Gwen for many years.
  • The powerful exercise she did in which she was told death was coming and she had to prepare by writing letters to people and her own will.
  • Lessons that death has taught her about how to be and live her life.
  • How her grandmother's illness with polio and needing to walk with crutches showed up for Gwen in her epigenetics, beliefs, and healing journey.
  • The deeply imprinted belief Gwen had at one point that she could not trust life.
  • Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine by Candace B. Pert
  • The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton
  • How Family Constellations has expanded to the Systemic as well (such as the soul of a business for example) or the Collective to find out where energy is being blocked or not properly healed.

[1:10:00] How Breath Exposes What's Already There

  • Mindbody University
  • What fascinated Gwen about breathwork the most to become a facilitator.
  • How she has combined breathwork with the passion test, hypnotherapy, and epigenetic trauma.
  • The incredible fact that we are breathing the same breath that our ancestors did.
  • How you can combine breathwork with other healing modalities such as Family Constellations.
  • The power of just doing a regular if not daily 3-10 minute breathwork practice.
  • Gwen's powerful practice that she always does at the end of each of her own breathwork practices.
  • Why Gwen says that “Breathwork doesn't bring anything new, it just exposes what's already there.”
  • Gwen's gift to the audience including an online breathwork ceremony recording.
  • What Gwen believes is the meaning of her being a breathwork facilitator and life coach in Sedona.
  • Why she believes we should all be striving to be the most authentic version of ourselves.
  • The fact that it's just so much easier to trust a healer who is open about what they themselves are working on like in Gwen's case.
  • What wellness means for Gwen with all of her life and work experiences.

Power Quotes From The Show

[click_to_tweet tweet=”30% is what the average American adult is said to breathe of their functional lung capacity. That is essentially starvation mode for the cells of your body and brain. If there is one thing I would encourage people to do, it's breathwork. – Gwen Payne” quote=”30% is what the average American adult is said to breathe of their functional lung capacity. That is essentially starvation mode for the cells of your body and brain. If there is one thing I would encourage people to do, it's breathwork. – Gwen Payne”]

Letting Go of Our Collective Fear of Emotion

“Collectively, we have such a profound fear of emotions. If people were to really go in and sort of take a magnifying glass approach at some of the beliefs that they hold in their body that have been imprinted on them, not that they consciously think these thoughts but they have them: ‘If I feel this I will die,' or ‘If I feel this I will go crazy,' or ‘If I feel this I will never come back from it,' and on and on. So, people just fight it tooth and nail and the truth of the matter is if we could open up and allow that energy to flow through us, it's pretty easy. It might be intense but it's pretty easy.” – Gwen Payne

We're Only Using 30% of Our Lung's Capacity on Average

“Do you know how little people are breathing? 30% is what the average American adult is said to breathe of their functional lung capacity. Only 30% is essentially starvation mode for the cells of your body and for your brain. You are literally living in survival mode and I don't think as a society we can help but feel anxious and depressed. If there is one thing I would encourage people to do, it's to breathe more.” – Gwen Payne

How Breathwork Unlocks Our Essential Nature

“In breathwork, one of the things that I find so impactful is that concepts become viscerally experienced, and then it's an embodiment. In that moment of embodiment, there's nothing else that we're focusing on outside of ourselves; nothing. It's part of our essential nature. Those are the moments of freedom that I have experienced and witnessed in others. It's an experience of tuning the world out and letting go of what energies we have been carrying, releasing, bringing our attention inwards, and only then can we really experience that freedom.” – Gwen Payne

Links From Today's Show 

About Gwen Payne

Breathwork Gwen Payne | The Breath of Inspiration: How Ancient Breathwork Turns Your Body Into A Conduit For Healing Generational PainFounder of, “Breath is Prayer” and “Inspired Sedona”, Gwen intuitively employs a combination of Breathwork, The Passion Test, Family Constellations, Hypnotherapy, Coaching, Yoga, and Dance to guide and support people in coming home to their true nature and remaining consciously connected to their essential truth.

Gwen was born in Italy, grew up in Tunisia, and attending boarding schools in Europe throughout high school before moving to United States to attend Stanford University.

Gwen credits her diversity and cultural experiences as the most formative education of her life – one that provided her unique vision and perspective upon which she draws in her work.

Gwen's Passion for Breathwork

At the age of 21, Gwen stumbled across breathwork when she took part in her for spiritual retreat. She has remained passionate about it ever since. When she found a breathwork school years later, it's solidified her journey with the breath and her calling to share its power.


– B.A French Studies, Stanford University
– Breath work/counseling hypnotherapy certificate, BodyMind Academy
– Breath of Love Facilitator
– Alchemy of breath facilitator and mentor
– Passion test facilitator
– Self-love facilitator
– Family constellations facilitator
– Kundalini yoga instructor
– Erotic blueprints coach

Work with Gwen

In your work together, Gwen invites clients to explore their inner landscapes, to step into their most authentic, empowered self, and to choose a path that honors themselves and their purpose.
As a result, Gwen’s clients experience real transformation and learn to live truly inspired purposeful lives.

Conscious Connected Breathwork – The Circles Of Life


About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, daughter Nayah + a cat named Cleo. He is the host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath + Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 20+ years as a trainer, researcher + facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. Helping humans LIBERATE their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual + financial self through podcasts, programs + global community that believe in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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Find freedom from chronic stress using your breath.

Do you struggle with anxiety or depression? The BREATHE | Breath & Wellness 21 day guided program was made for you. I created BREATHE after my own dark nights of the soul and years of research traveling the world in search of the truth about self-healing.


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