Creating a hā habit: Utilising Māori innovations in breathwork to alleviate and build resilience to the effects of trauma, PTSD
This article describes how the creation of a “Hā habit”—a breathwork practice that is inspired by the whakapapa of the Hā—can alleviate the debilitating effects of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and generalised anxiety. The article first conducts a literature review that examines the definitions and contributing factors of these disorders and their psychological and physical symptoms. An analysis of Aotearoa New Zealand mental health statistics is then carried out, which is followed by a description of breathwork and its benefits. Inspired by an existing breathing tool, co-author Julia Wikeepa explored the whakapapa of the Hā and developed a Māori innovation called the Hā tool—a stainless steel breathing tool that can be worn as a necklace. By using the Hā tool and creating a Hā habit, people can learn about the underlying causes and contributing factors of their poor mental wellbeing. The Hā habit acts as both an intervention strategy and a preventative strategy, building resilience against poor mental wellbeing, and supporting people to move from a place of trauma, PTSD or generalised anxiety to one of resilience, recovery and calm.