Just Breathe.

Trigger warning – this story discusses loss. “11 months ago, our family’s reality changed forever, with the tragically devastating news that our dear little nephew had made the decision to take his own life.” Bohdan Evans.

“What made this heart-wrenching news even worse, was the fact that the family member was a child, my sister’s child.

“Abraham Knox is a well-known, much loved and respected teenager who lived in the Geelong community. One of an ever-increasing number of young males who have made the tragic decision to take their own lives.

“Stricken with an inconsolable weight of grief, and already dealing with a lifetime battle of anxiety, I had a choice to make, do I let this grief control me in a negative way, or do I take this grief and turn it into positive strength?

“So, eleven months ago I vowed to uphold a legacy in Abraham Knox’s memory, that I would do better; better as an uncle, better as a father, better as a brother, better as a husband, better as a man.

“My whole life I have struggled with anxiety, so over the years, I have worked super hard to manage this anxiety with what seems sometimes little progress, until the last eleven months. In this time, with the help of my super supportive wife Catherine Taumoefolau Evans, sister Rylie Knox, and a great friend and mentor, Mark Kluwer. Also, with the promise to uphold Abraham’s legacy, I have made huge leaps forward in regards to managing my own anxiety and grief so that I can help other people.

“The main tool that I have used to make this huge change in my life is very simple, it’s something we all do 25000 times a day, breathing, and cold immersion therapy. The breathing technique that I have been using stems from the ancient Tummo breathing and meditation practiced by Tibetan monks. The man that has introduced me to this technique is Mark Kluwer.

“Mark Kluwer has recently featured on channel Seven’s ‘The house of Wellness’ and an article headlined ‘Bringing Tradies to Tears’, by the ABC.

“In 2016 Mark, already passionate about health and fitness, attended a Wim Hof retreat here on the surf coast. Unsure of what this workshop would hold for him, Mark took a chance and stepped through the door.

“Mark’s life would never be the same again! At this retreat, Mark found the key to his true inner self. He vowed to dedicate his life to building a retreat space and helping others light the fire within and find their true inner self. It is here at Mark’s retreat space ‘Elevated Springs’ in the spa centre of Victoria that I met Mark. This was prior to the death of my nephew, and I believe, that if I had not, I would not have been able to turn such a tragic situation in to one where Mark and I have teamed up to bring men together in a wholistic environment to learn how breathwork can make us better men, and in turn help the youth in our society find inner strength and happiness.

“Our next event ‘Just Breathe’ is Friday 14 May 2021 5pm – 9, Glenlyon Town Hall, Daylesford-Malmsbury Road, Glenlyon. More info: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/752162

“Funds raised will be donated to Hope Bereavement Care, a not-for-profit organisation based in Geelong offering free information, support and counselling when grieving the death of a child, the sudden and unexpected death of an adult, and those experiencing loss after suicide.”

Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: supplied shows Bohdan Evans on the left and Mark with the beard.