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Finding a Pranayama Practice: An Interview with Brandy

By Clara Hayes

We are thrilled to host the incredible Brandy, SSY 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training graduate, for a Pranayama (yogic breathing) series to kick off the new year. Join her for this virtual series on Saturdays, January 9th-30th from 8:15-8:45 AM on Zoom. Brandy has her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher certification from Soul Strong Yoga. Additionally, she is certified in Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapy. Being a part of someone’s growth and journey to healing fills up her soul.

To introduce Brandy to our Soul Strong community, we were fortunate enough to interview her about her experience of Pranayama and her upcoming series. Check out the interview below!

1) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into pranayama and find yourself on this path of teaching?

I am a mom of three girls, a wife and fur mom! I teach Barre and graduated the YTT in June from Soul Strong. I found my way into Pranayama by chance. I started practicing yoga about 10 years ago to give myself some downtime and to help me pay attention to what my body was asking of me. I struggle with anxiety and depression and one of my teachers could tell I was really having a hard time one day and offered me a quick breathing exercise to help self regulate. It was amazing! And I’ve been injecting it into all sorts of places in my life and my girls’ lives. I knew going into YTT that it was something I wanted to learn more about so that I could help others the way it has helped my family.

2) What are some of your favorite aspects of the pranayama practice? Do you have a particularly favorite form of pranayama?

The first internal breath retention has always been my favorite part along with the exhalation. It’s so satisfying in my body. I can feel my heart beat and I imagine my breath filling every crevice that my anxiety or stress could hide, and then blowing everything out to make space for the positive!

Box breathing is my go to breath! You can make it as long or as short as you need it to be.

3) What inspired you to teach this series?

My inspiration to teach this class was honestly my fear! I’ve been holding back what I want to share with people because I have this fear of failing and letting people down. I had to remember that yoga and the Soul Strong community has always been a safe space for myself and what better series to teach, than one that will literally help me calm my nerves and squash my fears?!

4) Who is this series for and why should they take it?

This series is for everyone! You don’t have to have anxiety or depression or a lot on you plate in order to need help calming your mind and connecting to your breath! It’s about being in tune with your body. Learning what you need. Giving yourself permission to slow down if even for a minute. Wanting to connect with your self and surroundings is a great reason to take this series!

5) Any tips for beginning pranayama practitioners?

Don’t let the breath work overwhelm you. Some get caught up on the counts and how long they think they should hold an inhale or exhale. That’s too much work for my mind when I’m trying to calm it. The best thing about pranayama is that you can taylor it to you and your needs. Just jump in and see what works for you!