Offer powerful transformation for your students with authentic, accessible and safe breath retention (kumbhaka), even if you don't understand how pranayama works (yet). They will keep coming back for more, giving you even more love than you already have, because they get what they WANT. And you will feel more confident giving this to them.

>>> Your students want to resolve breathing issues such as asthma, bronchitis, sleep apnea.

>>> Your students want relief from anxiety.

>>> Your students want to try the 'cool' breathwork techniques filling their Instagram feed.

Can you deliver this?

But what if you don't feel confident to serve? What if your teacher training only gave you the bare bones of pranayama instruction, and you have no time to research any further? What if your students came to harm doing breath holds in class, because you didn't understand the medical condition they have? And what if you fear them hating kumbhaka and never coming back?!

Women holding her breath

What do they really NEED?

Your students look to you for achieving their goals. How can you help them get there?

>>> A gentle nudge to experience discomfort and learn about themselves.

>>> Facing their fears in a supportive environment.

>>> Stimulating physiological change for greater wellbeing.

>>> Trying a new approach because they keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome.

How do I know this?

I've experienced anxiety for much of my life, so when I came to yoga I immediately found physical relief from tension. But it wasn't until I started breath-holding that I found a mechanism to make lasting change.

Many people try the same solution over and over, expecting to resolve their problems but (not unsurprisingly) never reach their goal. It often takes an unusual or unexpected event to transform. Breath retention can be that tool.

And the science we've gained through studying freediving (apnea) supports the ancient wisdom from yoga scriptures to set the practice of kumbhaka squarely into modern context.

Dive Into Stillness

Ex-competitive GB freediver Rebecca Coales shares the training secrets that helped her set 5 UK records swimming on just one breath. Her passion for breathing has led to many years of research; the essentials of which are given here in Teach Kumbhaka so you don't have to do all that reading for yourself!

For example;

Why do we give up a breath-hold?

What happens in the body when we hold our breath?

How many different ways can you hold your breath?

Are there people who shouldn't breath hold?

What should I consider to tailor practice?

Why is breath retention so beneficial?

How do we explain kumbhaka to students?

Can modern techniques be applied without losing authenticity?

Rebecca explains the similarities between apnea underwater and kumbhaka which includes controlled inhale and exhale, the use of physical locks and increasing rib cage and diaphragm flexibility.

She also shares some of the mind control techniques that divers sue, which have beneficial application to manging stress and anxiety under pressure.


What does this course provide?

Teach Kumbhaka is a step-by-step framework to ensure you meet your students at their point of need, so you can give them what they want.

This unique programme fuses experience from the graceful art of freediving with modern science and ancient yoga wisdom. You get to tailor authentic kumbhaka practice in an inspiring, engaging and safe way, avoiding hours of research, without worrying if everyone will enjoy it, and without being limited to a branded 'XXX Method' approach. You add your personality, your experience, your vision.

Gain the confidence to serve by offering these three key elements:

Positive experience

Students come away from practice having learnt something about themselves

Tangible benefits

Because you give students what they need based on their symptoms and indicators

Safe practice

Tailoring your pranayama lessons to suit the individual and avoid harm

Modules 1 - 3

Understanding the respiratory system

In order to introduce safe breath retention we need a good understanding of breathing science. I've condensed what I consider to be the essentials of respiratory biology to support what you have already learnt in your Yoga Teacher Trainings. I do this both from a Western (medical) viewpoint and an Eastern (yoga) perspective. Much of what we know about breath retention comes from studying freedivers, or those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

I want you to feel how some of the scientific concepts act within the body, so in the first lecture I invite you on a guided journey through your breath. During these modules you may wish to dip into Appendix 1, which explains how breath retention and other pranayama can help respiratory disorders and conditions linked to dysfunctional breathing.

Module 4

Breath retention techniques

Here we meet the simple framework (D.I.V.E) I've put together to identify how best to introduce and advance kumbhaka to student groups or individual clients. This takes into account what your client wants, how they breathe, and any contraindications, to determine what the right breathwork is to meet their needs. A range of kumbhakas are demonstrated with easy, moderate and advanced levels. Broadly these are categorised into practices that calm and increase vagal tone (i.e. the parasympathetic nervous system), those that balance the nervous system and those that energize and transform (sympathetic).

Module 5

Overcoming the obstacles

There are two main barriers to bringing kumbhaka into more classes. Firstly most people don't breathe well; and therefore they find breath-holding unpleasant and scary. This is an opportunity for you to explore your own barriers to breath-retention through the yoga principles of klesha.

We also look at how posture affects our ability to breathe, and why asana practice is recommended prior to a student beginning breathwork.

Here I encourage you to explore the Appendices which provide the essential science on a range of respiratory and other medical conditions, so as to inform the best choice of practice for individual clients. This includes not only what to avoid, but also how to sensitively support the practice of those reliving, or releasing, trauma.

App 1 - conditions relating to dysfunctional breathing

App 2 - contraindications to breathwork

App 3 - potential beneficial applications of intermittent hypoxia

Module 6

Summary and Further Resources

There's been a lot to learn in terms of knowledge and understanding of ourselves during this course. In this module we re-cap and you're invited to explore certain aspects of this further and will be guided by a range of books and practices to consider.


Hear from yoga teacher Kirsty, who has been studying this course for the last few months


Have a look inside the course

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  Module 1 - Respiratory Science 101
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  Module 2 - What we can learn from freediving
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  Module 3 - Pranayama science and culture
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  Module 4 - Bespoke kumbhaka
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  Module 5 - Obstacles to breathwork practice
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  Module 6 - Summary and further resources
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  Appendix 1 - dysfunctional breathing and related conditions
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  Appendix 2 - Contraindications
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  Appendix 3 - Beneficial applications of intermittent hypoxia
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  Appendix 4 - quiz answers
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Teach Kumbhaka

How to bring creative, accessible and safe breath retention to your yoga classes