52 Website_ Start with Breath

52: Monday Quickie: Start with Breath

One of Sandy’s favourite ways to start a class is by establishing a connection to breath. Breath is our gateway into the nervous system, a powerful tool to transition the body into a state of calm or panic. Many teachers, and Sandy and Nat are absolutely guilty of this, simply dive into a class without easing into breath or even awareness of breath. In this episode, Sandy explains the importance of starting with breath. Then, she gives several suggestions of postures and simple movements to practice a gentle breath control as you begin your yoga practice.

In This Episode

  • If you’re planning to teach a class with a specific pranayama technique, please don’t bypass the first step of noticing the breath and then exerting gentle control within the parameters of comfort. The breath should never feel like a gasp or desperate (2:07)
  • The breath is our gateway to the nervous system; so it’s important to teach students to stay within a comfortable breathing pattern even though the breathing practice may be challenging (5:08)
  • 7:27 – Is there a correct way to breathe? (7:27)
  • Sandy’s favourite breathing techniques to start a class (10:37):
    1) Supine (knees bent) – Inhale arms over ears, exhale arms back down by the hips.
    2) Bridge – Hips up with inhale, hips down on exhale.
    3) Seated – Arms up with inhale, arms in the lap with exhale.
    4) Supine hamstring – With a strap around the foot, inhale to move the leg away from the chest (no stretch), exhale to pull the leg into the chest (gentle stretch).
    5) Butterfly knees – Inhale knees together, exhale knees wide for butterfly.
    6) Breathing twist – Arms at a T-shape, exhale knees to one side, inhale knees to center, exhale knees to the other side; keep switching sides.

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