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Yoga 101: Kumbhaka

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl

In yoga, both on and off the mat, breath is everything. In fact, BKS Iyengar said, “Breath is King.”

When moving on the mat, without breathing consciously, we’re simply practicing eastern calisthenics.

It’s the bridge that connects mind to body and in doing so unites them as one.

It’s the difference between walking out of a class after which you feel ‘meh’ and ‘hell yeahhhhhh’. So if you want hell yeah, I have something for you.

There’s a practice of suspending the breath at both the top of the inhalation and the base of the exhalation. We call it ‘Kumbaka’. Or as I like to call it, ‘The Space Between.’ Although it means so much more to me now, this was where that original philosophy that I teach, live and love comes from.

I’d find, early on when I was developing my practice that the space between breaths (absolutely stillness) felt altogether delicious, soothing and grounding. It was this one tiny moment at the top of inhalation and base of exhalation when I could ‘hear’ my body in silence.

Not only that…it also expands your breath capacity and teaches you grace under pressure. Other benefits include:

Helps remove impurities from the body
Boosts physical and mental vitality
Improves concentration
Clears and stills the mind


Breathing in and out of the nose we 1. Generously & gently fill the lungs. 2. Retain the breath (without strain) for 3 seconds.
3. Slowly and calmly release the breath (reminder – through the nose) until you’re lungs are completely empty. 4 Pause the breath out for three seconds before repeating. Try for 3 minutes.

Small practice. Big Results.



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