Pranayama is More than the Breath

This two-day therapeutic workshop offers a realm of breath awareness richness with possibility for work on deeper meditative and emotional levels.

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20th century yoga has often placed greater emphasis on the physiological processes of the breath — the muscles and movements involved — while early or ‘Classical’ yoga focused almost exclusively on ‘kumbhak’ or breath retention as the essence of ‘breath control.’

A rich period came in between that focused more on the processes of inhalation and exhalation (while refining ideas of breath retention), but not just from a physiological or even technique-obsessed perspective.

Visualization, location of awareness in the body (sometimes involving marma), mantra awareness as well as awareness of subtle blocks or ‘knots’ (‘granthis’) to be ‘pierced’ that had elements of emotion and of the subconscious — all of these were elements or aspects of pranayama.

This two day therapeutic workshop will be a balance between two perspectives. The first is physiological work — through asana focusing upon the torso, shoulders and neck as well as the sacrum and pelvic muscles, as well as breath practice — with an eye to working with typical breathing pattern disorders that teachers should be alerted to. These breathing pattern disorders present the greatest challenges to students in breath practices, both physically and emotionally.

The second perspective is that of the ‘yoga body’ which, rather than being an empirical structure (or physical ideal to be attained), was conceived in hatha yoga as a mental construction in practice for the sake of going deeper into practice — the idea of installing the breath in parts of the body, moving through ‘marmas’ in awareness, and the use of ideas of chakras and other ways of conceiving energetic locations in the body.

This opens up a dimension of pranayama practice more related to yoga nidra and meditation than has been explored in contemporary approaches to pranayama, which have been more oriented toward physiology and technique. It is a realm of breath awareness rich with possibility for work on deeper meditative and emotional levels.

Doug is also running a 5-day intensive on The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga: Rewriting the Story of Our Health and Growth running from 7th-11th October 2018.


You will receive a Yogacampus certificate of completion on full attendance of the course.

What our students say

I thoroughly enjoyed Doug's sharings and his endless energy!! I will definitely be attending more of his workshops in the future. Thank you. Karly Tophill on Wrist, Elbows and Shoulders: the Fabric of the 'Nadis' of the Arms and their Role in Asana and Mudra with Doug Keller, November 2016

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