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Student Testimonials
Page: 1  2  3

Yoga and Breathing from an OB student's perspective
In my own yoga practice, good breathing has always been confusing. I have had experiences with teachers that were helpful and not so helpful. The best pranayama class I have experienced was taught in a very relaxing way, mostly laying down, dim lights, with plenty of calming asanas first. There was no pressure to time the breath or to hold anywhere. It was refreshing as I had been used to a more ‘formal’ practice. Sometimes it is assumed that if one can perform the asanas well, then pranayama will come easily. This is not my experience. Firstly, the seated pranayama techniques can be difficult for people who are not used to sitting for a long time on the floor. In my own experience, sitting cross legged was not a good idea, because I had a Psoas imbalance that caused lots of tension in the breath. Kneeling with support was much more preferable, but I still did not feel very relaxed. From this I conclude that breath work works much better to begin with in the supine position. There needs to be no tension whatsoever, this can be assisted by a teacher who is calm and accepting of all students, adapting to their needs.

Now in my second week of Optimal Breathing practice I can honestly say I am amazed by how it has transformed my yoga practice. The asanas have a flow, and ease about them. My jaw is relaxed and I am so much more aware of my body. Meditation comes easier, especially when preceded by the breathing work, overall I have felt much more balanced in my practice, even in a class environment.

As a yoga teacher I have often wished for more wisdom about breathing. I have heard so many different ideas and theories it is hard to work out what is the best way to teach. If we look at Pilates, for example, there are useful things to learn from it, however, along with the strong core, there needs to be a softness. This is similar to the masculine/ feminine idea, also the idea of strength and flexibility or effort and ease. There is a time for rest and listening to the body and there is a time to guide the body. I believe that resting and listening needs to come first, that way we work from our very own experience, not what we think it should be. What could be the use of being shown how to retain breath when that breath is in only one area of lungs, the others being shut off by tension?

In summary, we need to know the basics first. So many people today are off balance in one way or another. They need to be shown their place of center and ease first, then they can proceed with more advanced practices at their own pace under experienced guidance if they so wish.

Personal Experience

The techniques

For a long time, I had the experience as if my body was split in two, my upper and my lower halves. All the energy seemed to be in my upper half and it was almost as if I was floating everywhere. For a long time I had been looking for a way of carrying myself and being that was more relaxed, picking up bits of information up every now and then, but not quite getting the complete picture.

Then I met the capacity of my lungs! The first technique involving a strap seemed so simple, but it was not. Breathing low down in my body was difficult, I was not used to it, just how could I relax my abdomen? Particular areas felt rigid and almost as if they were stretched to full capacity so they just couldn’t release anymore. I also noticed some fear of letting go. Then the amazing thing happened, it happened. Awareness and focus, the relaxation came, like a release. As my belly relaxed I was observing the next inhale, but there again my stomach was locked. Awareness and focus again, then release. This was obviously an ingrained habit. When the strap was gone it felt like my lungs expanded on and on, like I was taking up more space behind me.

Next was the prone encouraged exhalation. I really enjoyed the space between the exhale and inhale, is there any air left in there? It was freeing to empty out. The inhale was pretty amazing after I had got over the assisting part. It rushed in like a wave. That is one of the things that interests me about breathing, the control part, the giving up part and the in between. Breathing against applied pressure was wonderful, in that it really gave me a focus, I could visualize where the air was going. What surprised me was how I felt like the breath moved into bits of my body where there were no lungs. The Muscles in my lower back, particularly the right side felt as though they expanded then relaxed.

The next technique was forward bending sitting on a chair with legs to the sides. To have someone place their hands gently on the back to encourage areas to open was powerful. It required such focus, a concentration of mind and body to wake up certain areas. The right side of my body in particular felt more stuck, so again the process of gentle awakening begun. After this technique my center of gravity had noticeably changed as I seemed to be in the back of my body more. There was also a feeling of peace along with a sense of grounding that I had not experienced before. I felt my center, the energy in my body had descended, comfortably, I had firm roots. This feeling was centered more about my belly than my feet, which was a first for me. I also felt much lighter.

The Following Week

The first night after the session I slept so peacefully. I woke up feeling energized too. My clothes didn’t fit like they used to, my stomach had released from years of holding probably due to an operation that I had. There was a real sense of being myself, which felt like coming home. I felt rested and I had more confidence. On a more physical note, when I went for a run I found my breathing to be much more even and the softness in my belly allowed me to run more upright than I used to. My yoga practice was also different, there was a softness in my joints, particularly my jaw. My back and shoulders felt relaxed, like I didn’t need to hold them by grasping, I could just let go.

As a hypnotherapist, when working with clients with anxiety I have been amazed how good the breath is at bringing people to stillness. It acts as a physical contact and in some cases it is a signal that ‘yes I am alive and ok’. As a yoga teacher I have discovered the importance of practicing with a relaxed breath, a breath that has no tension in it. If a student’s breath is disturbed, then something is in opposition. They need to pause and reassess.

As a sports massage practitioner I am watching the clients breath, it signals to me honestly, without filtering through language. I teach some breathing techniques but often think that I need more understanding, as so much I learn seems contradictory. I am also aware of advanced breathing practices which can benefit only a few as they need to be done very cautiously with great awareness that can take years to develop. So I am very interested in encouraging natural, simple breathing that takes people into their core and enables them to function comfortably.

Another thought I have is of the relationship between the fascia and breath. If the fascia is restricted then the breath can reflect that. So, it may work in the other direction, if the breath is easy and deep the fascia would be more flexible with a healthier tone. This could mean that Optimal Breathing could team up quite nicely with deep tissue work such as Rolfing.

From the sports perspective I am interested in the potential of Optimal Breathing in assisting greater performance. The role of the lungs during intense exercise is so important, it can make all the difference. In my own experience, my recovery rate when cycling was noticeably better after just two sessions of Optimal Breathing. BC, Health Professional

Student Comments

Barb Magella
I learned in three days more about the mechanics of breathing and how to develop the skills involved with correct, balanced breathing than I had learned in the previous 5 years of reading & research!
It really helped me pull it together so I can better understand the physiology of transformational breathing practice and then apply that science/knowledge, along with the art, to my breath work clients.
I believe it will enhance my ability to guide people through the intense experience of transformative breath processing and help them improve the overall quality of their breathing on a daily basis.

Michael Woolley
Michael White very clearly understands the rather specialized area of breathing. His encyclopedic, enthusiastic expertise is communicated in a down-to-earth way. The essential point of the course is to teach students how to monitor/diagnose (?) their own breathing mechanics and then to teach them how to convey/apply the exquisite expertise on the ??? at large.
The course does not labor the ???, intricate science of breathing, nor is the student expected to assimilate university level anatomy. The science and anatomy of breathing are taught with the emphasis on the perfunctory (?) (i.e. what you need to know you know).
The techniques for "improving" one's breathing are simple enough and universal enough to be applied to any (nonsurgically modified) adult. Happily in my own case the techniques led to a marked tested improvement in my own breathing mechanics within 48 hours!
I feel quite confident that I am now able to offer??? basic instruction to any potential clients based on the solid teaching administered by Michael White.

Dennis Price:
This weekend I learned a dramatically different perspective on the single most vital element of life - breathing.
I was already somewhat familiar with abdominal and chest breathing, as well as some prana breathing techniques from ????
I was very pleased to learn a practical and logical series of techniques I can use for myself and for my clients seeking pain relief or improved physical performance.
The explanations about strapping techniques was a totally new concept to me and was a great tool to progress as seen by multiple breathing tests done before and after these breath-changing techniques.
I believe Michael White is an expert on this topic. I believe I will be able to easily integrate this into my own body and in my practice. I will refer others to Michael for private sessions and for this training.

Dan Antonelli
I learned a great combination of hands-on training, scientific facts and a good bit of self discovery. I saw progress in my own breathing and in the others who took the course. I am excited about bringing what I learned back to the people I love. I made friends!
While I recognize that the investment is large, I will never stop investing in myself... which is what I did this weekend.
Breathing is obviously an integral part of my life, but I have spent more time and money taking tennis lessons than breathing coaching over the span of my life. This course will improve my breathing, which will improve my health, vitality and emotional well-being.

Student testimonials pages: 1  2  3

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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.