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).

Why All About the Om

“I started having group yoga lessons with Kate about 4 or 5 months ago. I find yoga really physically challenging. After a year out injured I have lost a lot of flexibility and strength (and have put on weight). Kate has been amazing and has adapted exercises for me, where needed, and I am seeing huge progress. Each week I can do something I couldn‘t do the week before and am gradually getting more flexible and stronger. I think I most enjoy the effects of yoga as I leave the class. I feel so alive. Whether it is the blood going to my head, or the me time, or the peace in my head I get when concentrating on the exercises, I end up leaving feeling very renewed.” – Emma S

Apres-ski Yoga!

I have added a new yoga video to my YouTube channel – the perfect Apres-Ski yoga stretch (sorry, beers and fondue not included!).

This is a great sequence for stretching out the legs, back and hips – certainly areas of the body that work hard in physical activity like skiing.

But, don’t worry if you haven’t been skiing, this is still a great video to use, so make sure you give it a go and let me know what you think!

Yoga, Barre & Brunch

Today we had a wonderful time at our Yoga, Barre and Brunch workshop at The Stable Wellness in Boyton. We kicked off with a yoga flow to wake us up and then an intense barre workout with Emma. After a delicious brunch at Ginny’s Cafe, we returned to the studio for a bit of yin yoga and chocolate meditation, before a relaxing shavasana. You can see a few pictures from today, below.