My name is Marina and I’m 63. I’ve attended two courses given by Alessia Tanzi, one on memory and one on self-healing techniques. After going into retirement, I chose these courses to gain some insight on subjects I’d always been interested in; partly because I was afraid of life without work, and partly because I’d never had the chance before.

It’s been a really enriching experience. If I were to compare life to a book, I could say I’ve not only turned over a new leaf, I’ve actually changed book altogether!

The first thing I learned was about breathing: I had realised my breathing was strangled and too fast, almost in apnoea, but I didn’t know how to go about correcting it. Learning to listen to your body and understanding where the breath goes is vital.

Meditation not only helped improve my general wellbeing, it also made such a difference to my health that I no longer need to take the pill I used to take to sleep, or the one I took for oesophageal reflux, and my cholesterol and triglyceride levels have fallen drastically. I have reduced my cigarette addiction almost completely.

Now I know what Breath of Fire is, I’m going to make sure I go from “almost” to “entirely”! Dedicating time and mental space to my wellbeing each day, and seeing the results, has been astonishing. I started practising from the very first lessons, although in the first two weeks my head didn’t want to know and my body found the positions uncomfortable. It was a challenge, but I won. It might sound funny, but I used the self-healing mantra to heal one of my cats. For months it had been suffering from intestinal problems, and even after ultrasounds, blood tests and medication, the vets had no idea what the diagnosis was. Once the problem had been resolved, after weeks of repeating the mantra, I looked back over the diary I started with the meditation and noticed that my wellbeing had improved in the meantime.

Was the cat’s improved wellbeing rubbing off on me? I did consider the possibility, although I realise it is a bit of a long shot, perhaps the kind of conclusion a “cat lady” would reach…but it is also true that if we feel good, then we help others feel good, too. Over time, I’ve combined meditation with the dietary advice Alessia gave me, adopting the macro-Mediterranean eating approach in the process. This involves working on the three main “pillars” of wellbeing she recommended: spirituality, diet and exercise (which I was already doing).

If I had to sum up this experience in one word, I would choose “awareness”. Awareness leads us to make healthy choices, and is in itself a form of medicine; listening to ourselves is necessary, indeed essential to recognise where we need to take action to activate a process of self-healing or improve our lives and performance in general. As is always the case in groups, I discovered affinities and kinship with the people I met. I’m sure this will lead us to share other interesting experiences, and in this respect too, it has proven an enriching experience.

Thanks to Alessia and this constructive learning experience, I am spreading the word amongst friends as much as possible, so that other people can benefit from her courses.

Marina Ventura followed the Brain Longevity® and Self-Healing courses at the Università Primo Levi in Bologna, Italy, 2018-2019 edition