In the linked (at the bottom of this article) episode of the Take A Breath Health and Lifestyle Show, which I co-host with Matt Radford, we interview world renowned yoga teacher and physiotherapist, Simon Borg-Olivier.
Simon’s accomplishments in his field include teaching yoga for over 30 years, founding Yoga Synergy in Sydney, authoring the book ‘Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga’, and he now trains yoga teachers all over the world.
In this episode we discuss:
- Simon’s introduction to free diving as a 6 year old, and pranayama breathing techniques not long afterwards.
- How Simon’s training as both a scientist & physiotherapist, and yoga practitioner allowed him to merge the scientific paradigm with yoga.
- The clash between the ‘core training’ approach to posture and stability held by the physiotherapy and fitness professions for many years with the understanding of the importance of free movement of the diaphragm for correct breathing.
Simon’s belief that the first thing that should be taught to students for their long term well-being is the restoration of natural breathing as most people’s breathing is so inefficient that, if they are given specific breathing techniques, they will tend to over-breathe and over-tense.
- And that natural breathing is most effectively learned by combining it with moving the body, especially the trunk in certain ways that improves breathing in many ways.
- What is over-breathing.
- How Simon teaches breathing to students – including restoration of natural breathing, as well as other specific pranayama techniques.
Simon’s 5 features of natural breathing:
Inhalation is felt very low.
Exhalation is passive.
Breathing is minimal – no more than you need.
It can run on automatic.
Through the nose.
- Simon’s views on the Wim Hof method, including the strengths and limitations.
- An incredible experience Simon shared where he was recorded in a laboratory doing hyperventilation breathing techniques (similar to the Wim Hof techniques, but more complex) followed by a 6 minute breath hold, then a spontaneous 8 minute breath hold immediately afterwards.
- Techniques for learning to increase breath hold time – including connecting with the 12 areas of the body that allow dual control between the conscious and sub-conscious – the ‘12 bridges’.
- Why Simon believes that most modern yoga is no longer yoga – it involves over stretching, over-tensing, over-breathing, and over-thinking, and therefore blocks the natural movement of energy and information through the body. It is more like a work-out.
If you’d like to learn how to breathe correctly to improve your well-being, treat illness or improve performance, either sign up for my comprehensive ‘Breathing Dynamics’ online course on the home page of this website, http://timaltman.com.au/, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61425 739 918.