Breath properly

We met Raquel Gomes from Portugal for a breathing session at PNOÉ in Crete last week.
Raquel is a trauma-informed yoga teacher and Reiki healer who has delved into the transformative power of Hatha, Yin and Pranayama (breath work), making them the core modalities of her practice. Her expertise lies in using these holistic approaches to regulate the nervous system and create a deep sense of well-being.
The best way to incorporate Breathwork into your daily routine is to combine it with something you are already doing, such as doing yoga, going for a walk, waking up in the morning and going to bed or to sleep at night!

Here are some key breathing techniques to help you find daily balance

Do your breath work before and after your yoga session.

Dirga Pranayama / Three-part breath
Best for beginners
Develops breath awareness & the journey of the breath
Increases lung capacity
Balances hormones
Improves concentration & focus

– Lie down, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your heart.
– Slow down your breathing, relax your body and drop your shoulders away from your ears.
– As you breathe in, begin to slowly fill your stomach with air, taking the air further into your chest and finally up to your chest.
– As you exhale, follow the journey of the breath as it deflates the chest, releases air from the rib cage and then from the abdomen.
Repeat 10-20 times.

The newly opened Pnoé Hotel has a focus on wellbeing, but is still very much a beach hotel.

Nadi Sodhana – Alternate Nostril Breathing
Balances the two hemispheres of the brain, balancing the physical, mental and emotional aspects of your being.
Reduces anxiety

– From a sitting position
– With your right hand, using only your thumb and little finger
– Cover the right nostril with your thumb, inhale through the left for 3 seconds, exhale through the right for 3 seconds.
– Cover the left nostril with the little finger, open the right, inhale for 3, exhale for 3
Repeat 3 – 10 times

Raquel Gomes and Jasmin during their breathing lesson at Pnoé

Box Breathing
Great for beginners
Calms anxiety & stress

– Breathe in to a count of 3 or 4
– Hold your breath for a count of 3 or 4
– Exhale slowly for 3 or 4 counts
– Exhale slowly for 3 or 4 counts
Repeat 4 times & several times a day as needed to relieve stress or nervousness.

Before and after your breathing work, make a hot tea with fresh herbs.

Kapalbhati / Breath of Fire
Aids digestion & feelings of confidence and empowerment
Cleanses the lungs
Warms the body
Increases focus
Strengthens diaphragm & abdominal muscles

Avoid if: you feel dizzy, have high blood pressure, have a spinal injury, are pregnant or are menstruating cycle.

– In a seated position, place your hands on your knees and bring your awareness to the centre of your abdomen.
– Slowly inhale deeply through your nostrils
– Exhale forcefully through your nostrils, sucking your belly into your spine (you can also press your hands against your belly).
– The next inhale should be passive, focusing only on the forceful exhale.
Repeat 20 – 100 times


Ujjayi / Ocean Breath
A contraction of the throat as you inhale and exhale, producing a wave-like sound.
Keeps muscles warm
Keeps the mind focused

– Start in a comfortable position
– Breathe through your mouth, contracting the back of your throat as if you were fogging up a mirror.
– Repeat with your mouth closed, breathing through your nose and keeping your throat constricted.
– Listen to the sound
Repeat 5-10 times or throughout your yoga practice.