Well, I just returned from the best SYTAR yet - and I can say that Buddha Breathing is definitely trending!
As I do every year, I sponsored a table to both support IAYT and to expose the participants to all the various trainings we offer at EYT. In addition, this year I had a whole informational side of the table set up to educate people about the Buteyko breathing method, which emphasizes breathing less to increase health.
Contrary to our common understanding that bigger breathing is better, Buteyko is actually backed by science and respiratory physiology. I brought books by my teacher, Patrick McKeown and created a little breath quiz (I wonder if you could pass it?) I also put together a booklet on the physiology of breathing and why the way pranayama is traditionally taught may in fact be harming rather than helping our students, clients and ourselves AND be contrary to the ancient yogis original intent: to retain prana.
My table was swamped with inquiring minds who wanted to understand and become better educated about the impact of functional vs. dysfunctional breathing on health. Of course, this was balanced by a pervasive tendency amongst my esteemed colleagues up on the podium to begin almost every keynote presentation with, “And now let’s all take a BIG breath”. I cringed as the whole room resounded with an ocean of exhales - all in the name of relaxation and releasing stress. So, obviously there’s still much more work to be done!
My own process with this reductionist approach to breathing continues to intrigue me. Over the past six months I’ve dropped 15 lbs. My energy continues to stay consistently stable and high from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. without any mid-day dives. My mind is clear - no brain fog; my physical stamina aerobically and as far as muscle conditioning has steadily increased. At the same time, my craving for sugar, alcohol and caffeine has been next to nil. I taught full-time everyday except one (Mother’s Day) in the month of May and didn’t experience fatigue or break out in a coughing fit (usually, the fatigue and cough hit after Day 3 of an intensive). My sleep is deep and quiet - something that not only benefits me, but my husband appreciates it quite a bit!
I spend a minimum of 60 minutes dispersed throughout the day on my breathing practice and every single one is worth it! I no longer sigh, sniff or take those BIG breaths that seemed so necessary six months ago. My breath is light and easy whether I’m climbing the stairs of my office, pedaling on my elliptical or doing an intense arm balance.. Even when my heart rate rises with physical activity, it takes considerable vigor to elevate my breath rate, and my average heart rate is 10 beats less than it was when I began practicing in January. In short, the Buteyko method continues to astound and fascinate me on a daily basis.
With millions of people practicing yoga worldwide, yoga teachers collectively serve as a primary source of expert information on the breath. I feel that we have an obligation to get this right! Called to this dharmic path by my own transformative experience, I am inspired to transmit the importance of breath hygiene to the yoga teaching and therapy community.
After all: How would Buddha Breathe?
I’m excited to be exploring various ways to share this information with clients in my classes and private work, as well as with my training students. Additionally, I’m offering workshops and will be creating online webinars to teach those who are not local to me.
Are you willing to become a part of The Breath Revolution? Take the breath quiz - and stay tuned to this space for more on this revolutionary Buddha Breath. Later this summer, join me for the first Buddha Breathing workshop at the EYT Studio in Fall City!