Pranayama on and off the Mat

Genna Magnall
Written by Genna Magnall

These tips are specifically for those working in the corporate world/ health care sectors where they can incorporate some of the beautiful ancient teachings to help reduce stress, promote self-care and clarity and improved wellbeing.

Now more than ever our health and wellness are of high concern, with most of us adopting duty-bound isolation, with more time for contemplation than ever before. The Covid Social Study shows that the effects of the pandemic have led to an adverse effect on mental health and happiness levels are at an all-time low, with an increase in depression and anxiety levels in 2020.

Being a long-term sufferer of anxiety, suffering for many years living within my introverted cocoon of isolation, these unbearable feelings paved the way in researching many different ways to ease my silent suffering, finding some helpful tools and some less so. Yoga being  one of the helpful tools, facilitating the means to find connection, shining the light to calve the way to a conscious journey of self-discovery. Later I worked with a beautiful mentor to develop my yoga practice and prepare for teacher training, in 2019. I temporarily surrendered my role as a chemist within the fragrance industry by taking a sabbatical and absorbing a taster that the beauty of Asia had to offer.

I would like to share with you some foundational practices to help ease suffering by connecting the mind and body through an anchor such as the breath. The breath is a powerful tool and often overlooked in its entirety. Breath practices such as Ujjayi Pranayama and Sama Vritti variations are an awesome tool to incorporate into your day, even off the mat!

Ujjayi breath

Otherwise known as victorious breath, is an elegant practice inviting a gently constriction of the glottis (primary valve linking the mouth to the lungs) creating the soft oscillating sound of the ocean. For instructions on how to practise this breath visit Ekhart Yoga.

Sama Vritti

Also known as four-part breathing, you can first start with an even in breath and even out breath for a count of 4 to begin with and slowly working up to smoother deep cycles.

  • Breathe in through the nose counting to 4.
  • Hold the breath for the count of 4.
  • Slowly exhale to the count of 4.
  • Hold the exhale for a count of 4
  • Repeat until you feel calm and centred.

Conscious breathing with the belly, graceful rhythmic movements whilst engaging diaphragmatic breathing is very effective to integrate into your day almost anywhere. Anchoring attention into the present moment, inviting a curious open mind to explore your inner self taking a rest from the mind chatter. For instructions on how to practise this breath visit Ekhart Yoga.

Walking Meditation

Below is a short walking meditation practice for you to try and see for yourself. See if you can incorporate the breath techniques to compliment your yoga practice with curiosity. When practiced daily you can nurture a lifelong tool to help you enhance your life and meet challenges with confidence. 

Leave a Comment