Sleep Guru's Surrendered Breath Workshop
By Spa Samurai
Last weekend had the opportunity to meet Anandi, The Sleep Guru, in person while she was in London. I have been an online fan of The Sleep Guru for about a year now. I regularly check her website, her blog posts, and follow her on Twitter for words of wisdom. Anandi is an absolutely lovely person with charisma and you can tell just from looking at her that she is the epitome of healthy, happy, and balanced. She radiates a positive energy that is infectiously uplifting and encouraging.
I attended her Surrendered Breath Workshop at the Hale Clinic. It was an intimate workshop with plenty of personal interaction and advice. From anatomy to Ayurveda, from movement to mediation, Anandi covered the theory and practical skills necessary to use your breath to change the quality of your life.
The three hour workshop was broken down into three sections. The first hour is a theoretical explanation of how breath affects your body from a medical standpoint. Knowledgeable, passionate, and relatable, Anandi looks at the gas exchanges that are constantly occurring in our bodies from a Western medical perspective. She also shares her understanding of the ancient art of Ayurveda and how to use prana to improve the flow of energy through the meridians of the body to increase vitality. These practices improve digestion, reduce stress, and can contribute to anti-ageing.
The next hour is a hands-on assessment of how we breathe. Paired with a partner, we observed each other’s breath and work on increasing the length and volume of breath through awareness. Through improved respiration and mindfulness, I was able to reduce my heart rate and quiet my mind. We also learned the esoteric practice of alternate nostril breathing, which I really enjoyed. I have read about yogis using this breathing method to cleanse their bodies and reach higher states of enlightenment, but I have never had the opportunity to try it myself. Alternate nostril breathing allows you balance the Sun half of your body with the Moon half of your body, or focus on one side to increase energy or trigger your body’s parasympathetic system to help you concentrate on meditation, or in this case, mellow yourself out and go to sleep.
Anandi led us through exercises that combine movement with breath to bring clarity of the mind and a deeper observation of conscious breathing. Using simple arm movements that are coordinated with the breath, I felt lighter, centred, and almost a bit giddy!
We finished off our exploration of breathing techniques with the highly-effective Bumble Bee Breath, which blends breath with vibration to calm the body as well as the mind. The use of vibrations is common in the East, particularly the OM sound that is used in meditative chanting. This is one of the easiest exercises we can do at home to combat insomnia.
We ended the workshop with an intense session where Anadi guided us through relaxation exercises while we were lying down. Using the Surrendered Breath technique, respiration is slowed and deepened. Using a deeper awareness of the space between breaths, we use our breathing to reach a deep state of active rest. Anandi wraps up and answers any questions, and I walked away feeling peaceful, aware, and vibrant.
The Hale Clinic, Regents Park, London
You don't need to be an insomniac to benefit from the Surrendered Breath Workshop. Anyone who wants to use breath as a tool to improve their lives will learn a lot from Anandi. I thought that the first hour was jam packed with information and their was a lot of new (Sanskrit) terms which may be a bit confusing for newbies who haven’t dabbled in yoga, meditation, or Ayurveda. But there is something for everyone, at every level to take away from this workshop.
Anandi is so sincere and compassionate that she is very easy to connect with and I found it a very positive experience just to be around her for three hours. I will continue to follow her online and I will probably purchase her Yoga Sleep CD and Practice of Sleep DVD that she has for sale. I don’t have too many issues sleeping, but I really enjoyed the peacefulness and harmony that I experienced from her breathing exercises.