If its one thing that I can take away from this course,  which is a very hard choice by the way…  it would be the further knowledge I have gained on Pranayama and the deeper understanding of how we can take our breath deeper with so many benefits not necessarily known or understood clearly via books.   You need a good and experienced teacher to explain very well the different types of breathing and cleansing practices, contraindications and techniques, and this school has achieved that for me.   I must admit Pranayama was something that I was a bit wary of practicing for myself because I lacked the broader understanding hence why I have never taught it specifically.  So I have started to make a consciousness effort to practice it daily for myself.   I recently took my 84 year old nan through a very light Yoga session in which we gently opened the chest,  while teaching her my instincts took me to watch her breath very closely.   Her breathing was all back to front and incredibly shallow so after 20mins of gentle postures, we ended with her seated on a chair and I taught her how to breath.  Her shoulders would rise on each inhale throughout our practice so I would make a conscious effort with her to point that out and she never even knew she was doing it, so hopefully we have planted a seed so she makes a conscious effort to notice this for herself.   She also suffers with a bad back from time to time but very active on her feet for 84.   After a while she got it, she got the rhythm and her breath started to change and her chest congestion cleared up,  she was amazed and said that has never happened before.  She did experience some slight coughing but something shifted and she felt more freedom in the chest and with her breathing.    I also experienced this when I was offered to take Asana practice in a workshop with another yoga friend of mine.  There was a lady who was recovering from a cold but able to practice, so we took it slow with her.  Again her breathing was shallow and back to front and although she has been practicing yoga for sometime no one had told her how to breath, not even through attending yoga classes it seemed.  When we had finished the session she said her sinuses had cleared and she couldn’t believe it.   As a teacher I see the importance of asana and the breath and I also see how doubly important it is to have your eye on the students to ensure we keep a check on the breathing patterns of our students.   The breath tells us a lot about other emotionally as well as physically,  if you study this I have found that the right asanas will instinctively come to you in order to benefit that student.   Since I have been watching the breath in particular I cant tell you how many I see in the corporate world especially, where I teach a bunch of colleagues,  with backward breathing.   I’m not sure I am confident to teach Pranayama fully as yet as I myself need more practice but I will go on to ensure I help others by explaining and teaching how to breath properly so the students get maximum benefits from their practice.  The gift of life that we can take for granted each day yet it can heal us in so many ways on a deeper level.  One teacher of mine always use to say “make friends with your breath, get very familiar and follow it thoroughly throughout your practice, and in every situation and daily life”


Lisa Sheppard

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