3 Ways to Make Pranayama More Accessible

by Jivana Heyman

1. Celebrate your breath.

If you’re breathing, you’re doing it right. Starting with this affirmation can completely shift our experience of breathing practices. On the other hand, starting with the thought that you’re breathing wrong can make it very uncomfortable and ineffective.

2. Start by exploring the breath without controlling it.

Spend time appreciating your breath. Notice the nuances. Use your interceptive skills before changing or manipulating the breath. These are powerful practices that need to be taken very seriously, and before we begin, we should understand what we’re working with. You could consider this the intake phase, gathering information.

3. Remember that you can stop practicing at any time.

The feeling of agency or control over the practice is essential for making these pranayama practices accessible. Remember, you’re always free to stop if something is uncomfortable or causing anxiety. I can tell you from personal experience, as someone who has anxiety, that breathing practices are sometimes triggering. So proceed with awareness and gentleness.

I hope this is helpful. I’ll be exploring more of these ideas in my upcoming course, Making Pranayama Accessible: Overcoming Obstacles with the Breath. (The first session is FREE!) I hope you can join me!  โคต๏ธ

Making Pranayama Accessible:
Overcoming Obstacles Through the Breath
New online course with Jivana Heyman!

December 1-15, 2022
Tuesdays & Thursdays
5 sessions — the first session is FREE!

Pricing tiers, payment plans, & scholarships available

Learn More & Register Now


About the course:

How many times have you been told, “Just take a deep breath?”

According to the yoga teachings, breathing practices are among the most powerful practices we have. Yet, many of the common breathing practices are actually taught in ways that are not accessible or trauma-informed.

For many people focusing on the breath can increase anxiety instead of reducing it. So it’s important to find creative and gentle ways into working with the breath, which can help to bring about calm and reduce anxiety.

The breathing practices offer a direct way into the deepest aspects of our spiritual practice. The breath offers a link between the body and mind. The kleysas, the obstacles to our spiritual understanding, can all be addressed through the breath and offer us practical tools for increased self-awareness.

Join Jivana Heyman for an exploration of pranayama, focusing on finding safe, welcoming, and fun ways to approach these subtle and powerful tools.

This course will be an opportunity for study, discussion, and practice of the many aspects of the breath to support relaxation, nervous system regulation, preparation for meditation, and spiritual unfolding.

Learn More & Register Now


More Ways to Train with Jivana Heyman

Accessible Yoga Training Online
Jivana Heyman & guest facilitators

January 18 - February 3, 2023 | 38 hour training

The Accessible Yoga Training Online is a foundational course for all yoga teachers, developed to assist trainees in learning to design yoga classes where all students can practice together regardless of age, size, ability, or experience level.

Learn More


Accessible Yoga 200-Hour Teacher Training Online
Jivana Heyman, M Camellia, and Accessible Yoga School faculty

Starts in 2023

This foundational training will help you build a teaching practice that equips you with the tools you need to share yoga with all your students, while celebrating their differences and individuality.

Learn More & Join the Interest List


About Jivana Heyman

Photograph of Jivana Heyman

Jivana Heyman, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, is the founder and director of the Accessible Yoga Association, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. He’s the author of Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body (Shambhala Publications), as well as the forthcoming book, Yoga Revolution: Building a Practice of Courage & Compassion (Shambhala Publications, Nov. 2021).

Jivana has specialized in teaching yoga to people with disabilities with an emphasis on community building and social engagement. Out of this work, the nonprofit Accessible Yoga Association was created to support education, training, and advocacy with the mission of shifting the public perception of yoga. Accessible Yoga offers Conferences, Community Forums, a Podcast, and a popular Ambassador program.

Jivana coined the phrase, “Accessible Yoga,” over ten years ago, and it has now become the standard appellation for a large cross section of the immense yoga world. He brought the Accessible Yoga community together for the first time in 2015 for the Accessible Yoga Conference, which has gone on to become a focal point for this movement.

Jivana is also the creator of the Accessible Yoga Training and the co-founder of the online Accessible Yoga School with Amber Karnes, which is a platform for continued education for yoga teachers in the field of equity and accessibility. They also created the Accessible Yoga Podcast in 2020.

Over the past 25 years, Jivana has led countless yoga teacher training programs around the world, and dedicates his time to supporting yoga teachers who are working to serve communities that are under-represented in traditional yoga spaces.


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