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Beauty & The Breath

The most powerful tool we have for wellness is right under our nose.

I hope everyone’s had a chance to get into the yoga room (multiple times by now!) to check out our new yoga and mobility experiences. I’m always keen to hear your feedback so please do email me kate@flowathletic.com if you have anything to say. 

Although you’ll have noticed some funky new features to classes and some different ways to explore the practice, one thing remains constant; one special, potent, powerful little thing – the breath and our un-ending devotion to guiding your nervous system into balance so you can be the best version of you – less reactive, more emotionally balanced, energetically charged and totally turned on.  

If you’re in any sessions with me, you’ll hear me say, “To breathe consciously is the most advanced thing you’ll do all class.” And although my own practice, teaching methodologies and philosophies have changed over time, that still remains my core truth. 

There’s a huge body of scientific research out at the moment around the relevance of yogic breathing and it’s effects on our mental and physical health and, in particular, there’s big buzz around Vagal Tone. 

The Vagus Nerve is a major cranial nerve that runs from the brain down into the gut and many of the yogic breathing techniques such as ‘Victorious’ or ‘Ujjayi’ breath (as you may have heard your teachers call it) play a significant role in strengthening or ‘toning’ this nerve which in turn has an anti-inflammatory effect, an interruption of the stress response and much more. You can learn more about this Breathwork this weekend in your FREE Basics of Breath workshop with Amy G.

But whether you lean into the latest information about Vagus Nerve or benefits of yogic breathing in general, here are some of the things I noticed and benefited from the get-go in my own practice – all a result of learning to breathe with more ease and awareness, combined with movement. 

Greater Focus & Productivity

For a few years before yoga I hadn’t been in a great place mentally and it wasn’t unusual for me to be in mental fog for days, down in the dumps and down on myself for getting very little done. Yoga was a game changer. Not only did it help me come off meds but it made me switched on. Nothing short of a miracle. 

Here’s why: How you breathe directly influences your brain chemistry and breathing rhythms affect noradrenaline levels in the body. Noradrenaline is both a hormone and neurotransmitter known to play a key role in attention to thinking…aka focus. You might notice the days that you practice yoga you feel more alert, have a more sustainable energy and higher productivity levels. It’s all in the breath, baby.  

Brighter Skin & Improved Digestion

My digestion, if not tended to, has a tendency to be off kilter but within a week of a regular practice I noticed a significant improvement which also improved the quality and brightness of my skin.  

Here’s why: Because the movements, combined with breath work improve circulation and distribution of what Chinese Medicine calls ‘Chi’, it’s not uncommon to notice an improvement in both digestion and skin quality within days. 

Sleep Booster

This one was instant. After my very first class, I slept deeper than I had in yonks.  

Here’s why: A National US survey by the National Centre for Complimentary & Integrative Health found that over 55% of people who practice yoga found that it helped them sleep and over 85% said it helped reduce stress with breath being the key ingredient to interrupting the stress response and regulating various bodily systems.  

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