3 Reasons Why Breathwork Enriched my Yoga Teaching

Unlocking the Power of Breath - By Veronique Gauthier-Simmons

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As a yoga teacher working mainly with people living with Multiple Sclerosis and other chronic health conditions, I am always looking for ways to make my classes more accessible. This is the main reason why I decided to join a Breathwork training course. I had developed some basic understanding of breathing and pranayama over the years, but I felt there was more for me to learn.

As is often the case, when the time is right, the teacher appears, and I came across the work of Dr Ela Manga from Breathwork Africa at the perfect time. What appeals to me is her warm welcoming attitude, her medical background and her keen interest in research.

As a former researcher, I wanted and needed to understand how and why breath is so transformative. I completed her 3-day Breathwork Foundation Course, which then led me to the Advanced Practitioners Course. As a consequence, my yoga teaching is now unquestionably richer and deeper.

Deeper Understanding of the Breath

At the core of any Breathwork course lies the exploration of the profound impact conscious breathing can have on our physical, mental, and emotional states. As I trained in Breathwork, I gained fascinating insights into the art and science of harnessing the breath to alleviate stress, increase energy levels, and promote a sense of calm, which is highly relevant for my students in particular but increasingly for everyone.

We explored the biomechanics, biochemistry as well as neurophysiology of the breath, delving into gas exchanges, mitochondria, the role of the diaphragm, the parts of the brain involved in breathing, the vagus nerve etc. It is such a fascinating field, and an increasing number of research projects in neuroscience and neurobiology are now focusing on the breath.

Although I really enjoyed learning about pranayama in the past, it often felt a bit obscure to me and I couldn’t fully relate to some of the concepts. I now realise that I was missing the deep understanding of the breath to fully grasp what pranayama is.

Enhanced Teaching Skills

I have no doubt my teaching skills have improved thanks to my Breathwork training. I can now share my deeper understanding with my students in an accessible way and empower them for life.

I now integrate breathwork seamlessly into my sessions, offering my students a more comprehensive and enriching experience. I love inviting them to experience different breathing patterns – sometimes in specific asanas - so they can find out for themselves which techniques help them to focus, relax or to be more energised both on and off the mat.

I also offer 30 min Breathwork sessions focusing on specific topics such as improving sleep quality, releasing pain, letting go, improving CO2 tolerance or VO2 max etc. In these sessions, I share a bit more of the theory underlying Breathwork. We delve deeper into optimal breathing and the nervous system.

Personal Growth & Transformation

As mentioned earlier, my motivation was initially to find accessible ways to support my students, but I didn’t expect to benefit so much personally. I am finding Breathwork to be both powerful and transformative.

Thanks to this training, I finally feel prana. My understanding is no longer theoretical but experiential. I never felt the flow of Prana in my body with such clarity before and some of the Conscious Connected Breath sessions are purely divine. They allow me to explore and release emotional blockages, gain clarity on personal goals, and cultivate a deeper connection with my true self.

Embarking on a Breathwork training course is not just a professional investment; it's a journey of personal growth and transformation. The course I attended with Dr Ela Manga of Breathwork Africa provided a very supportive environment for such a journey and I would highly recommend it. Whether you're looking to deepen your own practice or share the gift of conscious breathing with others, this course can be a life-changing experience.

If you´d like to attend a Breathwork Foundation Course, why not join us in the Algarve in May? More information on Breathwork Foundation Course with Dr Ela Manga - Taming the Walrus


Veronique Gauthier-Simmons

Founder of Taming the Walrus, Veronique is a yoga & Breathwork facilitator specialised in yoga for chronic health conditions & menopause.