Co Pilot Stories: A conversation with Steve Rio + Austin Austin

September 27, 2023
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We had the pleasure of getting to know Breathwork Facilitators Steve Rio + Austin Austin. 

Tell me a little bit about your breathwork journey and what led you to breathwork specifically.

Well, breathwork kind of came as part of looking for ways to help people experience state change that wasn't necessarily substance-related. We were already doing psychedelic work with people, but part of our vision for our work is helping people recognize that they can reach these different states of consciousness without substances, and so breathwork emerged as this really powerful means of achieving this goal, so we use it in a couple of ways.  

To begin with, it’s an excellent entry point for individuals seeking to experience altered states prior to engaging in more potent psychedelic work. It also plays a crucial role in integration work, helping people make sense of, process and reconnect with the profound insights gained from deeper psychedelic journeys. It’s become a valuable and really sustainable tool.

Plus we're both musicians. Austin and I have always shared a love of making music and creating together. Breathwork has provided us with a new creative outlet to collaborate on. It has been a really fulfilling journey for us too.

Can you tell me a little bit about the first time that you experienced breathwork?

Our most memorable introduction to breathwork actually came from Robbie, the founder of Othership, as well as a close friend of ours. Several years ago, just before Inward's inception, Robbie guided us through one of his early versions of the Inner Child breathwork journey. We had come to town to stay with him and after showing up at his place we learned he had created a surprise experience with the enthusiasm of, "Let's do this! It's going to be an amazing experience." It turned out to be an intimate gathering with a few other friends he had invited, and it was a classic Robbie-style adventure of "Let's give this a try; it's going to be quite the ride!" And he was absolutely right!

What session are you most proud of and why?

The one that comes to mind and stands out most prominently for us is ‘Vessel’. What makes it remarkable is how effortlessly it came together. The creative process was incredibly smooth, spanning just a couple of days. All of a sudden it was just there, it existed and it’s resonated with so many people since. At a wedding, someone's mother approached us to express how deeply the track had touched her. Many of our guests incorporate it into their daily routines, using it as a grounding tool both before and after their retreats with us. It's heartening to see how our music has become an integral part of people's lives.

What is a great entry point for couples to start diving into intimacy a bit more? 

A great place to start is the simple act of declaring intentions with one another and committing to the ongoing practice of deepening intimacy. This isn’t something that happens overnight, and it’s not always comfortable. As long as you both acknowledge that “you’re in”, you can begin the process of creating safety to explore. You build safety by giving each other the grace to experiment and to try new things.

The intimacy sessions we created for Othership are fairly simple on the surface. That said, there are layers to these practices that will reveal themselves if you are consistent with them. What you’ll find is that there are areas where you’re holding or resisting intimacy, or getting in the way of connection. That’s where grace comes in. Grace for yourself, grace for your partner. Intimacy is earned in all the small interactions over time. These sessions are some of the building blocks to advancing intimacy and we hope that people resonate with them.

What has the dynamic of you two working together been? 

We often liken ourselves to space and time. I’m (Austin) space, and Steve is time. In my case, I thrive in the present moment, like a 3D world, fully immersed and conscious, with little regard for the passage or concept of time. My passion lies in creating spaces where experiences unfold, and where people feel supported and held. And Steve operates with a unique blend of creativity and a knack for process and pathways which helps bring things to fruition. When we honour one another’s gifts, we’re really complimentary, but we are not perfect at it, it takes continual commitment to communication and compassion for one another.

What is in your wellness toolkit?

We've intentionally created our life to have a close connection with nature, a close connection with our friends and family. We have a lot of time for inner reflection, connection with ourselves and with one another. Over the last number of years, we've become increasingly focused on embodiment, and exploring that on a deep level. Our lifestyle has continued to refine itself so that we can be more embodied. Practices like hiking, sauna and cold exposure, breathwork, and meditation have been really helpful. Also cutting out substances like alcohol, caffeine and as much refined sugars as possible allows us to sense our world, and sense ourselves in a way that is subtle and open. This is super important for the work we do with others, which requires nervous system management and energy awareness.

Steve Rio and Austin Austin are life partners and the co-founders of Enfold — A ministry of remembrance and love. Enfold offers safe and sacred retreat experiences combining entheogenic medicines, breathwork, meditation, somatic modalities, and intimacy work, with a grounding in Buddhist philosophy.

Enfold offers a couples retreat called Undefended Love, which helps couples build a deep sense of connection, safety, and intimacy. Steve and Austin’s shared passion is helping people realize the richness of life through deepened awareness, presence, and gratitude.

Steve is a gifted musician, coach, and communicator of philosophy around transformation and living a good life. He has over two decades leading and inspiring through technology, strategy, mindfulness, and spiritual development.

Austin is a master of transmitting loving presence through everything she does. She has spent over two decades holding space as a doula, functional health coach, sex and intimacy therapist, and creating connection through art, food, and design.

Steve and Austin’s work is the culmination of a lifelong study and practice of consciousness, meaning, and love. They seek to help you remember who and what you truly are: one interconnected life, formed in love.