Georgi Mottram is an opera singer and West End performer, who decided to train as a therapeutic Breathwork practitioner after it transformed her own performances and daily life by alleviating her acute anxiety.
She now helps her clients, including performers from West End shows such as The Phantom of the Opera and colleges such as Guildhall School of Music and Drama, who are silently suffering with the same issue.
Find out more about Georgi Mottram and The Power of Breath here.
Tell us about your career so far, and the challenges you faced that have led you to become a Breathwork practitioner?
I’ve had a varied career so far. I’ve been lucky to earn my way as a full-time performer (pre Covid), having trained in opera at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. It has taken me from performing in operas at the Barbican to playing a lead role at the Charing Cross Theatre, supporting classical crossover stars such as Russell Watson (Proms on Thames), headlining shows with Kerry Ellis (St John’s Smith Square) and performing in an off-West End production of Princess Ida which is where I met the girls of Ida Girls London. I manage and I am the director of this classical crossover girl group as well as singing in the group. We perform all over the world from festivals in Australia to cruise ships, from the BBC to West End Live and performing for Prince Edward at Windsor Castle. I lecture at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and teach piano and singing privately.
The challenges I faced as a performer were acute anxiety and panic attacks in my day-to-day life, which happened as a culmination of a series of personal emotionally challenging events and also a schedule that meant I was travelling on roughly 30 long-haul flights a year for performances.
What was it that made you take the leap in to this new strand of your career?
I began to notice the anxiety epidemic amongst performers. The subject carries such a lot of stigma but is literally everywhere. Performers have bravely begun to speak out about stage fright, performance anxiety and panic attacks on social media. I began to wonder what the connection was with the body, the mind and anxiety.
Not all performers experience anxiety in their day to day lives and adrenaline of course is a great and necessary aspect of performing. But the type of anxiety I am talking about is the chronic acute anxiety that seeps into our daily lives and hinders our experience of life on a day-to-day basis. The type of anxiety that causes an overflow of adrenaline resulting in anxiety attacks, panic attacks and stage fright.
Whilst the mind plays an important role, I became interested in the body’s role within anxiety which is where I found Breathwork. Breathwork reduces anxiety and stress very quickly from the body and is an incredibly potent healing modality. The transformation in myself (my body AND mind) when I started using Breathwork was astounding. I then trained as a Breathwork practitioner and quickly became passionate about spreading the word and sharing the tool that helped me.
How does it feel supporting fellow performers with stage fright and anxiety?
It feels very important. With all the pressures performing brings (when we are doing it AND when we aren’t), the effect being a freelancer has on us, all the current unknowns and what little holistic support performers seem to have, I feel lucky to be in a position to share a tool that was transformative for me.
Do you feel that the current situation, and the anxiety it brings, can be helped with Breathwork?
Absolutely. Even just drenching the body in oxygen, detoxifying the body, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and switching off our fight or flight response is beneficial. At the moment there is an undercurrent of worry about the industry and quite frankly the world.
Allowing the body to have long moments of peace and calm has a knock-on effect on how the mind processes all of the big unknowns we are faced with at the moment.
What would be your top tip for dealing with anxiety at this time?
The thing that changed my life was working from the root up. And by that, I mean getting the body into an anxious-free zone, a calm empowered state. I used to think anxiety lived in the mind but healing the body or ridding the body from physical anxiety can actually allow the brain to create new calm, empowered neural pathways. I would firstly notice your breath. Notice the areas of tension. Start by softly breathing through your nose (good for stimulating the parasympathetic nerve receptors in the lower lungs) into the areas of tension and tightness, connecting your inhale to your exhale. Breathe in for 5, hold for 6 out for 8. Really simple way to switch off the fight or flight response.
In a Breathwork session we deep dive into breathing techniques and cycles which directly work to release stress and anxiety from the body on a cellular level.
And finally, if you are having any fearful thoughts, the anxiety brain I like to call it, remember FEAR is false evidence appearing real (I wish I made this up but credit to Gabby Bernstein).
How can people find out more about what you do, or get help from you?
If you want to read more head to my website: www.powerofthebreath.co.uk. (I offer 50% off for performers and creatives)
I also have a new Instagram account with daily tips @breathewithgeorgi