The Joyful Anthology

Michelle D’Avella

I started my Breathwork healing with Michelle D’Avella just over a year ago. The benefits that I experienced with this work were remarkable and transformative unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. It was interesting how I was led to Michelle and this work. I was heading to LA to run the  LA marathon so I was planning my itinerary with seeking out holistic healing and modalities while I was there. I was doing an online workshop with Michelle’s  colleague Jeff Carreira, “Opening to the Infinite” and noticed something about Breathwork healing on the corner of his Facebook page. Out of curiosity, I reached out and made an appointment to go see Michelle, not having a clue as to what I was in for.

My first session was intense, cathartic and outer body. I was really able to let go of my “thinking mind” and allow the stuck traumatic pain stagnant in area’s of my body to be released and then felt a huge heart opening. I felt so held by Michelle as she creates a safe place for her client to have their most profound healing experience. We continued to work together over the year through Skype and if I was in LA we got together. With the continuous amazing results I had with Breathwork with Michelle, I seeked out my own personal training and certification’s because I strongly believe in this work, and am now so happy to share that I am also teaching Breathwork.
I have so much gratitude for Michelle’s work and encourage you to check out her site and offerings.

Michelle D’Avella


Breathwork Teacher, Desire Map Facilitator, Writer, Mentor

When was Pushing Beauty launched?
It was really not an official launch, as you’ll read below, but my first article was published in 2012.


What is the story behind Pushing Beauty?
I launched Pushing Beauty in 2012 but I didn’t have a clue what it would be. It was really an act of faith.

I always remember feeling like life was somehow off, like I didn’t belong. The world felt confusing and…somehow wrong. I felt a spiritual connection but it wasn’t validated around me and so I didn’t validate it myself.

This feeling that I had something big to offer never left me, but it also didn’t really seem to fit my life. I had no idea what it was that was burning inside me, and it felt almost overwhelming.

When I was 27 I was at a low point. I had just moved back home with my parents and was devastated about it (as I’m sure you can tell I was a bit dramatic and quite controlling!). After I got over it I decided to just name this feeling inside me.

Pushing Beauty came out.

I didn’t do anything with it for another couple of years. Instead of trusting, I tried to figure it out. I would open document after document on my computer and write down ideas of what Pushing Beauty could be, but nothing felt right. I was stuck.

Finally I got so tired of the struggle that I just started writing and surrendered to it being ok that I didn’t know what Pushing Beauty was. Something in me started to recognize that it would unfold as I went.

The following year Breathwork came into my life, and everything started to make sense. I was finally learning the lessons I’m here to teach.


Can you tell us a bit about your own personal journey with Breathwork?

Discovering Breathwork was the first time in my life where I felt as if I was being guided by the hand to something. It felt like the Universe was saying, “Here, you have to do this.” There were so many tiny little things that came together to lead me into working with the breath.

I was told by a healer that I needed Breathwork to help me open up cellularly, to release control issues and learn to trust. I was skeptical. I didn’t understand how breathing could change me in that way because I thought Breathwork was about breathing long and slow and simply relaxing. Man, was I in for a surprise.

Breathwork dramatically changed my life. I am no where near the person I used to be. Breathwork taught me that I didn’t actually love myself and it showed me what it really means to do just that. It has transformed my relationship to myself and my relationship with everyone around me.

I don’t think I totally realized how much it was transforming me until I stopped my practice. I went through a breakup a few months later and felt called to work with the breath again. It was at that point that my sessions got really intense. I was releasing a lot of grief and feeling the energy moving in my body much stronger than before. I was really starting to open up to allowing my life to dramatically change.

From there I sort of fell into teaching. It was never something I had intended but it has been the most rewarding experience to share this powerful work with people from all over the world.

Can you briefly describe the method of Breathwork and the benefits?

Breathwork is essentially an active meditation. We breathe in a specific pattern (2 inhales in, once into the belly and once into the chest, and then an exhale) that helps move stuck emotions and open the heart. After breathing for a couple minutes people start to let go of the mind and connect to the body.

Our bodies store our pain, trauma, and limiting beliefs. We live in a culture that has this out of sight, out of mind mentality. While that may be true that it’s out of mind, the body doesn’t forget, and what the body holds on to drives us or keeps us stuck.

So the breath is an incredible tool for healing. It helps us move the stagnant energy that’s keeping us in toxic patterns. It frees us from old beliefs we’re living from that are no longer serving us, and it allows us to begin to show up as our highest selves.

The benefits of this work can be so huge and transformative and they really vary. Immediately after a session people tend to feel lighter and clearer. In working with the breath over time your entire life can transform, as has happened with me and many people I know.

Breathwork gets you out of your head, connects you to the wisdom in your body, it helps you access the truth within you, shows you your own power, gives you the ability to transmute your pain, and so much more.


What are some of the biggest challenges today that draws clients to you?

A lot of people feel really stuck, and they don’t know how to get out of it. Our emotions can feel overwhelming and powerful, and it can be easy for us to feel like a victim of them. This is especially true for those suffering with depression and anxiety. I have dealt with both throughout my life and tend to work with people who struggle with some form of either.

People also come to me when they are stuck in their heads. They feel confused and lost. We have so much available to us today. There are so many choices to make, and we want so much for our lives. Many clients come to me because they feel unclear. They know they want something more for their lives but they feel a little lost and unsure how to get there.

I also work with people who are heartbroken or working to release a former love. I have written extensively about grief from my own relationship ending, ad many people come to me to work in that area. We don’t really have a framework for healing heartbreak. The advice we typically get is to stay busy. This is a way to avoid our pain and a great way to continue unhealthy patterns in relationships. Breathwork helps us heal the cracks in our soul from heartbreak. It gets us out of our heads and helps us remember that we are safe, connected, and on the right path.


How do you work with clients? (in person/ skype/group setting)

I do most of my work virtually via Skype and another online platform I use. I love working with people from all over the world. I have worked with people from Australia, Canada, Pakistan, London, Berlin, all over the US, and other places in the world. It shows how universal our pain is.

I have a couple different one-on-one programs I offer as well as online group workshops.

I live in Los Angeles and hold group workshops and private sessions here as well. I also like to put on workshops as I travel. I’ve held several in NYC and Philly and plan on being back there in several months. I’m working on something for DC and the Bay Area soon too.

Please tell us about the Desire Map?

The Desire Map is a tool for getting clear on how you truly want to feel in life. Most of us make goals from our minds, and when those goals are accomplished we don’t tend to feel the way we hope we will or it’s very short lived. All of our goals are really an attempt to attain a certain feeling. So instead of making goals and hoping we feel a specific way, we get really clear on how we want to feel and make goals from that place instead. This way we are able to consciously choose to feel the way we want to feel every single day instead of just when we’ve attained the goal.



I hold workshops fusing Breathwork with The Desire Map. Breathwork helps us get out of our heads and connected to our souls, the place that is always trying to guide us. In these workshops people get really clear on how they truly want to feel in all areas of their lives through The Desire Map and heal parts of themselves that are holding them back through Breathwork.

Any exciting projects in the works?

Yes, a few! I’m about to reopen my self-lead course, How To Feel Beautiful. This course uses challenges, lessons, and guidance to teach you to love and accept yourself specifically around body image and appearance, something almost everyone struggles with.

I am about to launch another Breathwork + Heartwork with The Desire Map virtual workshop.

I’m in the process of finishing up my first book! It’s about heartbreak, grieving, and healing.

I also just started a podcast. I’m a few episodes in, and it’s been really fun to use my voice in a different way other than writing.

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