Far from being simply a physical exercise, yoga encompasses a wide range of techniques and practices. On this page we are building up a range of tutorials to develop and perfect your skills in the yogic arts of pranayama (breathing techniques) With time these practices will serve to deepen and enrich your work on the mat and broaden your outlook on life.
Yoga for Beginners: Embodied Breath
In this beginners yoga class, we explore the notion of embodiment. This exploration will specifically focus on the breath and lungs as we move through yoga poses. Class starts with a breath practice to connect to the body, then moves through half sun salutations and poses learnt in the classes at the start of the yoga for beginners course, presented with new variations. You will need a strap, blanket, brick and cushion.
Breath Challenge (8): Breathing for Anxiety and Stress Part 2
Focus on Mindful walking - especially useful when we feel that we just can't sit and keep the mind still. This walking meditation / mindfulness class is great for when you're anxious as it makes a strong connection between the mind and body. This is a great 'stealth' practice. You can do this anytime you're out and about, or just before you go into any stressful event and nobody would know you're doing your mindfulness breathwork practice!!
Breath Work For When You Don't Know What To Do
Hot Flush Remedy
A simple visualisation exercise to help to manage hot flushes often associated with the menopause. This yoga class is one simple pose, breathing deeply whilst lying in a constructive rest position. You can do this any time when experiencing uncomfortable feelings of heat. Expect a short demonstration of Petra’s Hot Flush Wave, with Ocean breathing and 3-part breath. If you practice this daily to reduce stress, you will also develop the simple skills for managing hot flushes, as you learn to allow the heat to flow calmly through you, rather than resisting it.
New Moon Intention Meditation
Set your intentions and start new beginnings with this Intention Meditation class for the New Moon. In this meditation we use gentle movement and breath work to open the body and mind; reset and clear the mind to be open to new intentions and new beginnings. After movement and breath work, there is a long relaxation to seal in the practice.
Pilates: Mastering Breath & Alignment
A Pilates workout with the focus on mastering the breath pattern and correct alignment, while we move to improve spine stability and core functionality. This class is suitable for beginners and includes some of the key Pilates movements, including the 100s. We will apply lateral thoracic breathing to a series of abdominal and back exercises, so you can learn how to use your full lungs capacity to practice with more ease and efficiency (and never feel out of breath again). You will need an exercise band, or an old pair of socks!
Breath Work: Break Down and Breakthrough
A breath break down/breakthrough. This yoga class is a breath work tutorial to feel the breath and discover more about how we breathe. It is semi meditation and semi instructional, with practical tips which could change your life by helping control anxiety or simply staying calm and present. It could be done sitting on a chair or on the floor, at work, at home, or wherever you find yourself today. A great class for breathing and feeling, to ground and to be in the present moment.
Anatomy of Breathing
You can hardly get through five minutes of any good yoga class without being reminded to breathe. Of course, all of us breathe every second of every day, we do it instinctively. However, how much do we all know about the mechanics of breathing and how we can optimise our breathing for our health and wellbeing? This yoga anatomy video offers an invaluable insight into the anatomy of your breath and how to use your breath on and off your yoga mat to help you feel good both physically as well as mentally. Please note that all advice and recommendations in this film are given generally and do not constitute any form of an individual diagnosis or treatment plan. A consultation with a medical practitioner or registered physical therapist is recommended.
Breathe Deep and Restore
This yin yoga, restorative yoga and breath work class cools, calms and softens into body and mind; a deeply nourishing and supportive yoga class. Connect to your body and soul with this deep breathing experience. With a focus on breath work throughout, expect deeply restorative yoga poses to help to unwind and decompress. You will unravel the tension with cleansing breath work, deep stretches, and blissful meditation. Breathe through the yin and restorative poses; stretch and soften tense muscles; relax, release and recharge. This class is designed for anyone who needs a break, perfect for anytime in our busy lives to take time for yourself to relax, slow down, and BREATHE DEEP. You'll need a bolster, brick and a blanket.
Raise Your Energy with Kapalbhati Breath Work
A wonderful practice for first thing in the morning to raise your energy! This is a breath work class called Skull Shining Breath which is fantastic to improve our focus and energy and get ready for the day. Don't practice on a full stomach or if you're pregnant, and as with any class, don't force anything. Enjoy letting the energy flow!
Sleep Recovery Series (7): Meditations
A simple breath focused meditation class to help digest the day’s thoughts, feelings and impressions to banish the bedtime thought-parade that can prevent you from sleeping. Lisa gives you tips on mental-digestion during the day to prevent and recover from night-time sleeplessness.
Sleep Recovery Series (5): Breathe to Relax
A tutorial of breath work practices which are gentle, adaptable and easy to remember when you want to repair your ability to rest throughout the day. Use them to drift off to sleep at night, or if you wake in the middle of the night. The first breath practice is a simple Ujjayii breath with a lengthened exhale to increase a sense of calm, then three part breathing. These techniques are perfect to practice before bed or anytime you need to relax.
Meditation: Soft Pause
In the final part in our Introduction to Meditation Series, we start to watch the top and the bottom of our breath. You'll notice that there are round edges to the inhale and exhale, where each breath gently reaches a peak and then gives rise to the next. Either simply watch these spaces between breaths or gently hold for a moment at the top of each inhale, and pause for a moment at the bottom of the exhale.
Meditation: Exploring the Breath
In the fourth part in our Introduction to Meditation Series with Nikita, we learn how to explore breath patterns as a means to change the way we feel. Allow the exhale to be twice as long as the inhale to give the body a chance of releasing all the old, to make space for the fresh new oxygenated air to flow in fully. Start at an equal breath (e.g. inhale for six seconds and exhale for six seconds) then increase gradually to a ratio of 1:1.5 (e.g. inhaling for six seconds and exhaling for nine seconds). Eventually, breathing to a ratio of 1:2 (e.g. inhaling for six and exhaling for 12 seconds). Maintain for up to about 20 breaths and then return to normal breath. If you are asthmatic, you may find that it's tricky to get to the full 1:2 ratio at first, in which case stay at 1:1.5. This is another great technique you might want to use as a tool to anchor an anxious mind any time you feel overwhelmed.
Meditation: Counting the Breath
In the third part in our Introduction to Meditation series, we start to count the breath. Get settled in a comfortable spot, either sitting or lying down, and begin to count your breaths backwards from 20 to 1. Say to yourself mentally, I am breathing in 20, I am breathing out 20. I am breathing in 19, I am breathing out 19, and so on until you reach 1. If you notice your mind has wandered away from this focus, draw it back. If you lose your count, start again. If you manage to get all the way to 1, try starting at 50 next time. You might want to use this exercise as a tool to anchor an anxious mind any time you feel overwhelmed.
Meditation: Feeling the Breath
In the second part in our introduction to meditation class we notice the breath within the body. Notice the body's involuntary response to your inhalations and exhalations; from the most obvious, loudest reactions (like the rise and fall of the chest, the expansion and release of the mid body) - to the more subtle and quieter ones (like the gentle drawing back behind the eyes as you inhale, to the sensation of the palms of the hands as you exhale). Notice how you feel before and after doing this short meditation class, you might be surprised at how effective just a few minutes in meditation can be!
Five Minute Energy Reset
Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath) Tutorial
A seated pranayama, or breath-work class on Kapalabhati, otherwise known as skull shining breath. This breath is fabulous for awakening, creating alertness and as an enlivener – as a pick-me-up, maybe instead of your morning coffee or before a vigorous yoga practice. This can be used anytime you need to feel more alert, and can also be used during yoga poses as well. Warning, if you start to feel dizzy, please do return to your normal breath.