This May at Yoga for the Soul Retreats, we’re focusing on mindfulness. Have you heard this term before? I’m guessing so! More and more, mindfulness is used in all kinds of settings to support mental health, learning, and personal development — from offices and schools, to therapeutic settings and even prisons.
One of the most important contributing factors to life, health and longevity is the way we breathe. In fact, breath is the very essence of our life force.
The best breathing technique is the one that is most efficient, moving the most air in and out of the lungs with the least effort. In this respect, abdominal breathing wins.
While infants and small children naturally breathe exclusively with their diaphragms, as we grow into adults, we tend to lose this habit and ability. This can be due to physical and mental tension, poor posture, tight clothing, and unhealthy lifestyle habits.
The first step to improving quality of life through the breath is to
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you may have heard the Sanskrit word pranayama — but what does it actually mean?
Prana means ‘life force’; the energy that courses through the body. Ayama means ‘to extend’. So pranayama is the practice of expanding and extending prana, energy.
In yoga, this is done by learning techniques to control and direct the breath, as breath is the vehicle that carries the prana. These techniques allow you to alter your physical and mental state of being by controlling your breath.
There are a number of different breathing exercises that are typically practiced within yoga. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring some of them in more detail — so come back soon for further pondering on pranayama!
WHAT DOES PRANAYAMA DO?
A growing body of scientific research highlights the benefits of pranayama practices; for example, this study by Bangalore University suggests that when practised correctly, breathing exercises can have a positive impact on mental and physical health.
• Reduce emotional and physical tension
• Help with stress and anxiety, and be a useful tool for managing...
Do you feel a pull to deepen your understanding of yourself, and by extension, the way you interact with the world?
Perhaps you have a sense of disconnect; your internal world and your external life aren’t quite in harmony.
If so, SWAN meditation is a wonderful practice to work with.
If you came along to my New Year’s Yoga and Meditation Immersion at South Narrabeen Surf Club, you’ll already have a solid grounding in the SWAN technique, and I hope you’re starting to feel the benefits.
For those of you who weren’t there, I wanted to offer a brief introduction so that you might be inspired to try it, too.
SWAN is an acronym for Strengths; Weaknesses; Ambitions; and Needs.
SWAN meditation concentrates on these elements of the self, providing an opportunity to take a close look at what’s