Breathe Light, Not Deep: Healthy Breath On and Off the Mat

Do you often ask your students to “take a deep breath in”?

What actually happens when we breathe deeply?

What are the benefits of breathing in a light, soft, subtle manner? 

Are there more effective and useful phrases we could use to cue the breath?

This course explores and compares deep breathing and light breathing. There are many wonderful ways to breathe, but some are more effective than others. Since we tend to cue when and how to breathe regularly in a yoga class, we need to ensure that we are asking our students to breathe in a healthy way through out class to expand the likelihood of healthy breathing patterns flowing into daily life.

When we ask our students to “breathe in deeply”, often they will gulp the air in, sometimes through the mouth, up in the chest, taking in a large volume of air in small amount of time. This would increase both the numbers of breaths taken per minute as well as the volume of air per minute, e.g. hyperventilation. This is actually quite similar to the response of the sympathetic nervous system, when in fight or flight mode. If students repeat this many times though out the class, this may cause an unhealthy breathing pattern in daily life too.

So, what if we taught our students to breathe in a way which was subtle, light, soft, quiet, slow and low in the body? This actually increases our tolerance to CO2, which is a necessary gas required to transfer O2 to our cells, to provide us with energy. As counter intuitive as this might sound, the less we breathe, the more O2 our body receives and therefore the more energy we have.

In this course, you will learn why breathing less is important and effective. Ginny will share the anatomy and physiology of breathing as well as some pranayama techniques which can be used to help you breathe less air volume. She will also lead you though some asana practices for yourself and your students to help breathe lightly during class.

2 CPD point will be automatically allocated to your dashboard on completion of this course.

Yoga Australia · 12 February 2024

Do you often ask your students to “take a deep breath in”? What actually happens when we breathe deeply? What are the benefits of breathing in a light, soft, subtle manner? Are there more effective and useful phrases we could use to cue the breath?

This course explores and compares deep breathing and light breathing. There are many wonderful ways to breathe, but some are more effective than others. Since we tend to cue when and how to breathe regularly in a yoga class, we need to ensure that we are asking our students to breathe in a healthy way through out class to expand the likelihood of healthy breathing patterns flowing into daily life.

Yogic techniques often invite us to breathe slowly, but rarely do we consider the volume of air that we breathe. Just as we don’t want to binge on food, we also don’t want to binge on air. Ginny explains the anatomy of breathing, particularly the importance of CO2 in our respiratory system, which is needed to carry O2 into our cells. Therefore, breathing less actually gives us more energy.

The breath should be a pillar of health, and it is not taught anywhere else. We as yoga teachers, have a unique opportunity to help our students breathe well, not just during class, but in life too. Are you helping your students to breathe well?

In this course we look at the following topics:

  • Why deep breathing not an effective way to breathe.
  • Breathing in Modern Yoga.
  • How breathing in a certain way can increase our vitality and energy.
  • What is Healthy Breathing?
  • What is Reduced Breathing?
  • What is Hyperventilation?
  • The Anatomy of Breathing.
  • Oxygen versus Carbon Dioxide.
  • The Importance of Nasal Breathing.
  • The Breath in Parasympathetic versus Sympathetic Nervous System.
  • Three Practices to help you breathe lightly:
    • Samavritti Pranayama and Capacity Control
    • Pinch and Sway / Comfortable Breath Holds
    • Light Subtle Breathing
  • How to teach students to breathe lightly during asana.
  • What Can Yoga Teachers Do?

About the Teacher

Ginny Clarke is a registered senior yoga teacher with Yoga Australia, a yoga therapist and is the co-owner of Living Peace Yoga, Lake Macquarie, Australia. She has been leading Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2016 and is dedicated to mentoring other yoga teachers to find their highest potential. She has been teaching yoga since 2002 and her passion is to help people know their body and mind intimately through the vast array of techniques and wisdom which yoga offers.  Her aim is to help students find balance, clarity, vitality and wellbeing in body, breath, prana and mind, so that they have an opportunity to connect back to the soul.

About Instructor

Yoga Australia

20 CPD Courses

+1 enrolled
Not Enrolled
$ 48 for members

CPD Course Includes

  • 8 Lessons
  • 1 Quiz
  • CPD Course Certificate