Voices from the Hub

Hosted by Serenity (Art from Ashes Intern) | ft. Gina Overholt & Jesse Soria from POTE

“To me, the idea of the breath being a powerful tool, like that you don’t need anything but your breath, is just really intriguing.” 

~ Gina Overholt

“And just like anything in life, going through the things that you have gone through before and processing it is difficult. And it’s supposed to be like that because at the end of the day, there is a light, and it’s how much energy you put behind it that will get you closer to that relief.”

~ Jesse Soria

Last Friday, I got the chance to sit down and do a follow up interview with Jesse Soria from People of the Earth and Gina Overholt about the SKY Resilience Training workshop that People of the Earth hosted for three days early in September. The workshop was intended to introduce both Veterans and the Long Beach community to breathing exercises that intended to help with mental health, stress, and sleep quality. Gina, who had attended the two most recent workshops this year, was kind enough to come and share her experience with the training and how it has left an impact on her. 

Below includes a preview of some of the topics discussed in the interview. 

Q: Was there anything specific that made you want to attend the past couple [workshops]? Something that motivated you in some way?

Gina: “[..] the idea of using your breath to focus or calm down or get more rest, it just really intrigued me cause Lord knows we can all use being able to calm down and focus. So that motivated me.”

Q: Do you ever recommend breathing exercise to other people?

In response to the question, Jesse mentioned how he suggested a breathing exercise for his friend who was having trouble sleeping. Jesse, himself, also practiced the exercise before bed that night, where he would breathe in for 7 seconds, hold it for 4, and then excel for 8 seconds. He stated that he did this about nine times until he fell asleep before getting to the tenth round of the exercise. 

Additionally, Gina stated that during the training, when she was practicing the different sequence of breathing exercises over twenty minutes–the ultimate exercise from the workshop–she ended up taking a nap from how relaxing it was.

Q: Would you say that these exercises have helped influence the way that you cope or approach mental health? Or stress in general?

Gina: “[…] having that grounding is crucial. I would recommend this workshop to everyone that has the chance, but the caveat is that it will bring up some things out of nowhere. Like that might have happened in the past that you’re still processing some anger about and that’s no reason not to pursue the breathing.” 

Jesse: “ I think these breathing courses really give you that tool to either organize [or confront those past hardships] and to be more confident about yourself because you know that you yourself are doing it and doing that work.”

Q: Do you feel that the outcome of the workshop was what you were hoping for?

Gina: “I think it’s really important to point out again how powerful it is that this workshop offers something as simple as breathing as being a key to unlocking the door. […] It’s just ‘hey, this is your own breath. It’s your own instrument. It’s your own thing that you’re already doing so focus it and do it intentionally for a few minutes a day and watch things change.’’’

Check out the audio for the whole interview!

This episode aired live on CityHeART Radio on Friday October 27 at around 10:15 am.

Written and Produced by Serenity Dumler-Beecher, CityHeART’s Art from Ashes Creative Intern

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