When we look at the eight limbs of Yoga, the breath is equally important as the movement or asanas. However, in the west where Yoga has become popularized for it’s great workout (which it is!) often the focus on the importance of breath is lost. From The Sutras of Patanjali 2:46 Asana is a steady, comfortable posture, followed by 2:49 That (firm posture) being acquired, the movements of inhalation and exhalation should controlled. This is pranayama. A class focused around breath can do wonders to change our thought process and direction of energy with even the simplest cues to follow or pay attention to our breath. Enjoy!
The following theme can be used either for your own personal practice, or for your group classes or one on ones that you are teaching. Everything below is just a guide based on my thoughts and experiences in the moment. Feel free to change anything to better suit your teaching/practice style or so that it feels more authentic to you and your own teaching voice. Namasté
Theme: Just Breathe
“The Universe provides nourishment and breathing is our way of absorbing it” – Heiner Fruehauf
“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.” – Natalie Goldberg
Physical Focus: A steady flow to promote Sutra 2:46 above with constant reminders to check in.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Breath of Fire
Cooling Single Nostril Breath (left nostril)
Cleansing breath (exhale from mouth)
Niyama: Ishvara Pranidhana
Essential Oil*: Easy Air or Breathe by DoTERRA Ingredients: Laurel Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, Peppermint Plant, Melaleuca Leaf, Lemon Peel, Cardamom Seed, Ravintsara Leaf, Ravensara Leaf essential oils
Open the class with alternate nostril breathing so they can experience a shift with a breath they are most likely not used to practicing. One of my favourite things to share with my students is that I am simply a guide, that it is up to them to fine tune their movements by connecting to how the poses feel but also to their breath. When breath is laboured or short the pose is too strenuous and you need to pull back a bit, if the breath is too easy in what should be a challenging pose then a bit more intensity is needed. This is ultimately how we become our own teachers and honour the guru within.
Further Reading: Perfect Breathing – Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time by: Al Lee and Don Campbell
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*always check with your students for allergies or sensitivities to scent.