Yoga and our breath - Why do we practice pranayama?

"The more you develop and get in touch with your breathing and its relationship with your entire body, the healthier you can become and the more you can stay in touch with yourself and others."

This whole year so far I have looked a lot at the connection between our emotions and our breath and visa versa. And then just this week I came across these lines above on the net. It captures it all. It sounds easy and real - yet I would say it is much more than what it seems at the first sight. A lot of us have understood that we have to learn how to breathe properly. Some think of it in terms of using and extending our lung capacity, others think of calming the mind and lowering high blood pressure. All tend to look at our physical health and if they go a bit further they look at reducing anxiety. To me these are all outer reasons, mainly to fix something, and yet they don't touch the real meaning and purpose of "Pranayama" - which is to harmonise and energise the whole being. Start with the breath. Try to be conscious of it as often as you can during the day and not only during your Yoga practice or yoga class. 



Yesterday when I took a little group through a day Aishani Yoga Retreat here in Tuscany, on a beautiful property outside of Florence where nature appears to be in complete harmony, I had one student who was very energetic and alert - and who had extreme difficulties to relax and introvert her mind. At the practice of pranayama she said that she can't do it because her left nostril was not allowing any air through and she didn't have a cold or allergies. This observation was a big eye opener for her in just a Day Yoga Retreat, because it didn't take her long to share with the group later that she has the perception of out there a lot, but doesn't feel herself being connected with the world "out there". She described it as two worlds with a huge gap in between like a chasm - the world out there and herself - the latter she didn't experience much. So we did the first step of pranayama and that was done standing, observing the breath come and go naturally, and then at the same time feeling the earth under the bare soles of the feet. After some time of doing that she opened her eyes and a smile appeared on her lips and in her eyes as she looked into the Tuscan hills. We all n=knew that something had shifted.  - Next time I meet this group we will do Jala Neti, to get her nostril unblocked. Any questions? Look forward to hearing from you or call me +39 3923368995 or when back in Australia +61 427681978





What is Yoga and what do we do on a Yoga Retreat?

Yoga is a vast subject. There are different traditions, systems and practices in yoga. Just as in medical science there are many different branches and forms of specialisation, it is the same with yoga. "Some people have become experts in the area of the physical body with its physical postures only, others might have become experts in meditation only. In today’s yoga world we find people from different paths who teach what they know as yoga. But real yoga deals with the integrated development of the human personality" (as Swami Niranjananda from the Bihar School of Yoga tells us)


"Yoga aims at controlling the mind and its modifications. The path of yoga is an inner path whose gateway is your heart. Yoga is the discipline of the mind, the senses and the physical body. It helps to control and coordinate the subtle forces within the body." (swami Sivananda)

Having had my training in the Satyananda tradition (his master was Swami Sivananda and his successor is Swami Niranjananda Saraswati), these quotes above are very relevant to the the way I conduct the Aishani Yoga Retreats. 

If we want to get to the point of being able to be in charge of the modifications of our mind we have to awaken our awareness on the physical emotional and mental level. So on a yoga retreat we practice asanas to become aware of the body and harmonise the emerges of the body, we practise pranayama to become aware of the subtle forces of the breath and we practice relaxation and meditation to become aware of the thoughts and mind. In a 7-day yoga retreat we start introducing specific practices that make it easier for us to develop positive habits that change our experience of life in a way that is less restricted. Most people say that they had the first time the experience of being a "human being" and not a "human doing". 

Tuscany is a beautiful place and it invites to take the leap and explore yoga and what it can do for us beyond a "nice" holiday. So here is what it can do for you.

Yoga Under The Tuscan Sun 26 May - 2 June 2018. email me to book on