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.

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?
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