Take A Breath

Without getting too hippy on you, as I have to say that’s not my personal yoga style, I do want to give you an insight into the importance of breathing. 

It’s simple…right? It’s just breathing, we do it every day! And yet, it’s something we can so often take for granted, so much so that we don’t even do it properly. With the world in a constant state of turmoil and the only known being the unknown, I wanted to share with you five breathing techniques (pranayama) to help you find some calmness in your day to day life. 

You don’t need to be a seasoned yogi, or own incense sticks, it’s all about taking some time for yourself and focusing on your breath. If you do suffer from any medical breathing conditions, such as asthma, you should consult your GP before you try any breathing techniques. It’s also best to be seated when practicing pranayama, as you may feel a little dizzy for the first time, breathing so deeply. 

  1.  Yogic Breath

How deeply have you breathed today? Think about it. If you’re honest with yourself you probably haven’t taken a beautiful, proper breath all day. So right now, yes, go on right now, take a seat, roll your shoulders back and put your hands on your tummy. Now take in a deep, slow breath, in through the nose and feel your tummy expanding to its maximum. Only when you have reached that point should you exhale through the nose, again slowly. And again…a deep breath in through the nose, slowly, filling the lungs up all the way to the top, and release gently. Once you have the hang of it, allow your eyes to softly close. To begin with just do 10 of these breaths and every day maybe do a couple more. Notice how much calmer and less anxious you feel afterwards.

  • Brahmari – Bumble bee breath

One of my favourites, as it can feel a bit childish and like proper escapism! Again, find yourself a comfortable seated position, rolling the shoulders back, heart forwards. Place your fingers gently in your ears (or hands placed over the ears if you prefer) and take a deep breath in through the nose, just like you did in the yogic breath. As you exhale, keep your mouth closed and hum for the duration of the exhale. The sound vibrations are really calming, relieve tension and also help literally block out any distractions (both physical and mental) around you. Repeat as many times as you like, I tend to start with 10 as it’s a nice round number. If your mind starts to wander, don’t worry, that’s natural. Just start again from 10 and close your eyes if you can.

  • Sitali – cooling breathing

This pranayama technique is one of my favourites and especially good when the weather is hot, or you are feeling flustered, as it does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s great if you can roll your tongue, but no worries if you can’t, just bring the tip of your tongue to rest behind your top front teeth. In a seated position, as you take a deep, full breath in, have your mouth open and tongue rolled (or tongue to top teeth). As you exhale, close your mouth and breath out through your nose. Again, repeat for at least 10 breaths and allow your eyes to close, as this helps you relax further. Meanwhile, the air as you breathe in feels cool on your tongue, helping to cool you and calm you.

  • Nadi Shodhana – Alternate Nostril Breath

This is all about slowing down the breath. Seated, bring your index finger to your third eye (the space between your eyebrows) and let it rest there. Bring your thumb to hover above one nostril and your middle finger to hover above the other. Place your thumb on your nose, restricting the air into that nostril and take a deep breath in through the open nostril. Close that nostril with the middle finger and release the breath through the alternate nostril (that the thumb was closing). Now take a deep breath through the same side, place the thumb over the nose and release through the other nostril (that the middle finger was closing). Again, repeat for at least 10 deep breaths. 

  • Ujjayi – Victorious breath

Also known as ocean breath, this is a really deep pranayama technique. Once you are seated, bring your palm up in front of your mouth (as though you are looking in a hand held mirror). Take a deep, slow breath in through the nose. As you exhale, for this first time, open your mouth and imagine you are trying to mist up that mirror (your palm) in front of you. Can you hear that almost ocean like sound at the back of your throat? Repeat that lovely inhale in through the nose and this time, you can lower your hand and as you exhale, keep your lips together, but still imagine you are trying to mist up a mirror and you can feel the breath at the back of your throat. Again, repeat for at least 10 breaths and close your eyes if you can.

Not all these pranayama techniques will suit you. You may love some of them, where others may just not sparkle with you! It’s all about listening to your body and your mind and helping find a moment of calm and stillness. Namaste.

Kate Ruberry-Shoemack normally teaches yoga classes in Frome and Boyton and currently is holding classes online on Wednesday evenings (7pm) and Saturday mornings (8am). Follow all_about_the_om on Instagram to find out more or visit allabouttheom.yoga. 

Becoming A Yoga Teacher

Many of you who attend my yoga classes will see that I have an awesome round, purple yoga mat. It’s from a fab, independent company call Form, for which I am an affiliate partner (ad).

I recently wrote an article for them with tips for becoming a yoga teacher and below is a sneak peak at the intro…

If you are hoping this blog will tell you how to become the ‘perfect’ yoga teacher, I am going to stop you right there and say that this is not what you are looking for!

I say this with a lot of love and a huge dash of realism! The fact is, just like in life, we cannot be everything to everyone. Once at a yoga event I ran, I had a student talk to me about their teacher training experience and they said: “the biggest thing I am worried about is that not everyone will like my teaching style.” All I could say is, “that’s not a worry, that’s a certainty!”

You can read the full article here! I hope you enjoy and do leave a comment.

If you want to take a look at their mats, you can do here (ad).

Online Class Booking System

I wanted to let you know about the new way to book on to the All About the Om weekly classes.

All you need to do is visit the All About the Om Website – https://allabouttheom.yoga

Go to ‘Book Yoga Classes’. Click on the Thursday you wish to book in for, fill in your details and voila! 

Please, going forward, could you make sure you take a couple of minutes to book onto a class, to give me an idea of how many lovely students we will have joining us.

As a thank you for helping me by using the new system, here is a 10% discount code for the All About the Om, online shop – OMTHANKS. It also includes free shipping, so a great opportunity to get your own snuggly Om sweatshirt now the days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping! https://allabouttheom.yoga/shop/

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Yoga & Cacao Event – 21st June

We had the best time on the evening of the Summer Solstice (21st June) which is coincidentally International Day of Yoga too!

This year All About the Om held a yoga and cacao workshop at the yoga yurt at Woolley Grange – Bradford on Avon. This is such a lovely venue to relax in and all equipment is provided, so perfect if you are new to yoga.

The sun was shining, so we were so lucky to be able to start our evening with the cacao drinking outside. Tracy from Chocolate Voyage created a beautiful and lightly spiced hot drinking cacao for us and talked us through the journey that chocolate has taken.

Hot cacao drinking in the sun

The hot drinking cacao was dark and rich, but not in the least bit bitter. I would encourage anyone to try it. You can find out more about what Tracy does here – https://chocolatevoyage.com/.

We moved into the yurt for our yoga session and our students got to open their goodie bags! Each student was given an All About the Om bracelet and a little bar of delicious dark chocolate.

We started our yoga session with sun salutations (it only seemed appropriate!) to warm up the body and allow the cacao to move around us.

Our yoga session then focused on pure relaxation. We held gentle postures, which we could breathe deeply into, for several minutes each. Really feeling the stretch and allowing the body and mind to find peace.

We utilised props throughout the session: bolsters, cushions, blocks and blankets, to help ease into postures and to ensure the utmost comfort and relaxation. 

Our guided Shavasana was all about indulging in relaxation. The students snuggled under blankets, concentrating on their breath and were encouraged to focus on themselves, their achievements and to feel good about themselves. The whole evening was all about looking after yourself and enjoying this time, just for you.

I know that our lives are busy, but it’s really important to take time to look after yourself and what you need. Keep an eye out for future events (we have our next yoga brunch on 7thSeptember) – I really hope to see you there.

Namaste

Kate

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