The Breathing Practice

Breathing • Practice • Wellness

Online and in-person breathing practice.

All classes taught by Eleanor Curtis.

Class Times & Prices

“Eleanor’s breathing classes have been an integral part of my week. Her classes are calming, challenging and empowering. I have observed many benefits from my regular practice with Eleanor including improved focus, more energy and a much deeper appreciation for my body. I am always looking forward to my sessions with her as her positivity brightens every day! And I am looking forward to many more classes in the future.”

Katje, Biologist and Psychologist, Cambridge (UK)

NOTICEBOARD

UPCOMING DATES for 2024

BREATHING AWARENESS WEEKEND RETREAT 

22-29 September 2024 in the beautiful Austrian mountains

“The act of breathing is living…”

A week long retreat including daily breathing practice,  daily yoga and breath-work, mountain hikes with breath-work, bedtime breathing sessions,  thermal baths and more…

at Hotel and Spa Miramonte, Bad Gastein, Austria

For more information please click here

WEEKLY CLASSES

Meditation with Breathing Practice every Monday at 7pm (40 mins)

Breathing Practice every Thursday at 8am (30mins)

FREE CLASS FOR ALL – Breathing Practice 1st or 2nd Wednesday of the month at 8am (30mins) –  next class Wednesday 12 June 2024

All classes use the Zoom video platform which is freely available to download

Private classes are available on request.

We look forward to seeing you in class!

“I was recommended to try the Breathing Classes by a friend. I was suffering from anxiety and lack of sleep. I was familiar was some relaxation techniques which use the breath as an anchor but Eleanor’s guided exercises go further. They are very helpful in encouraging focus on nasal and diaphragmatic breathing. I particularly find the box and connected breathing very relaxing. Eleanor’s positive guidance and encouragement of feedback is great.”

DT, Transport Planner, London

Benefits of Breathing Practice

Benefits of Breathing Practice

Breathing Practice can help improve your breathing, improve your breath control, and improve your sense of well-being. Breathing Practice can also:

  • Help you breathe more efficiently by improving your lung function
  • Help circulate fresh air into the lungs which inturn improves oxygen levels in the body
  • Improve and strengthen the muscles around the diaphragm and abdomen
  • Show you different approaches to inhalation and exhalation
  • Help reduce anxiety and help you feel relaxed
  • Give you a sense of peace and relaxation
  • Put you in a better mood
  • Help still the mind and improve focus with mental and cognitive activities
  • Help you have improved sleep
  • Aid digestion (because you are more relaxed)
  • Reduce the symptoms of tinnitus
  • Help you feel more confident
  • Help you learn more about yourself and your body
  • Make you feel great!

“A fascinating initiation to breathing techniques in Eleanor’s expert hands. I highly recommend her classes for anyone wanting to understand their body better.”

Sue Palmer, Avocat, Paris, France

Breathing Practice

What is Breathing Practice?

Breathing Practice is a set of breathing exercises – some exercises focus on different approaches to inhaling and exhaling, others focus on techniques for breath control and breath holding. The origins of many of these practices come from the ancient techniques of yoga breathing or pranayama; some other practices originate from techniques used in freediving; and other exercises have been developed to assist those who suffer from asthma. Most of the practices have a meditative quality and are calming for the mind and body.

When can I expect to feel the benefits?

Most people notice benefits immediately after their first practice – feeling more relaxed, less anxious, and more knowledgeable about their breathing. The optimal approach is to attend breathing practice for a minimum of 2 times per week. At this level of regularity or more, you can expect to notice shifts in your awareness of your breathing generally, enjoy a greater sense of calm and, feel an improved quality to your thinking and breathing.

“With Eleanor’s backdrop of freediving , wild swimming and adventurous photo-journalism, you know you ‘re in for a treat! Her professional guidance and steady kindness leads you into a thoroughly disciplined experience of breathing exploration. Thank you Eleanor!”

Liz Lark, Yoga Teacher and Yoga Trainer at The Life Centre, Founder Member of The Life Centre, London

Online Classes

How long is the class?

Our weekly Breathing Practice classes are 30 minutes long

Our Meditation with Breathing Practice is 40min long

Do I need experience to join?

No experience is necessary. All online classes are ‘drop in’ classes suitable for complete beginners and advanced breathing practitioners alike as exercises can be adapted to suit your own level or how you are feeling on the day. Please note – our Gentle Breathing Practice on Tuesday morning is specifically designed for complete beginners and expectant mothers but is also open to experienced students who want an extra weekly class.

What can I expect at a class?

Each class starts promptly at the allocated time. Eleanor will guide you through breathing practice for the duration of the class without interruption. At the end of the class Eleanor will summarise what exercises you have done. At the end of the class there is an opportunity to provide feedback about your own experience with the various exercises. This live feedback is often valuable for other participants to hear, who then share their own feedback. This post-class conversation creates a sense of community and support amongst all, whether new to the class or more experienced breath practitioners. All online class uses the video platform Zoom which is freely available to download on your device.

“I never knew there was so much to breathing and breath control and I’ve learned so much. Eleanor teaches a great online class and I feel better after.”

Jennifer Arnold, Publicist, NYC, US

Being Comfortable in Class

What do I need for the class?

All you need is a place to sit comfortably and that is quiet or where you won’t be disturbed. The class can be done sitting on the floor, sitting on a chair or a sofa, and some exercises can be done lying down. The most important thing is that you can sit comfortably – in one or a number of different positions – for the duration of the class. The only ‘equipment’ you need for the class is the app for the video platform Zoom which can be easily downloaded on your device.

Top tip for sitting comfortably:
If you are sitting cross legged on the floor, try putting some yoga blocks or cushions under your bottom so that your hips are higher than your knees. If you are kneeling, try putting a stack of yoga blocks or cushions under your bottom so there is no pressure on your knees and all the weight is on your seat. If you are sitting on a chair or a sofa, make sure there is enough space for you to sit with your back straight, not leaning against the back of the chair or the sofa, and there is enough space for your arms to reach back.

“Eleanor is a charming and skilful teacher, who puts all comers at ease, and who brings long experience and innovative method to her class. I leave each class feeling sharper mentally, and very much at rest.”

Calum J, Operations, Manager, International Private Security Firm

Class times and prices

Online Class Timetable*

Weekly classes:

Monday at 7pm Meditation with Breathing Practice for 40mins

Thursdays 8am Breathing Practice

Monthly classes:

Wednesdays at 8am Breathing Practice for 30mins (FREE CLASS – 1ST OR 2ND WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH – SEE NOTICEBOARD ABOVE)

* All times quoted are London based times

Prices**

Drop in / Single Classes

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Breathing Practice – 1 x 30m session
£10.00
Meditation with breathing practice – 1 x 40m session
£12.00

Monthly Packages

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Monthly Package 4 x 30min Breathing Practice (Thursdays)
£40.00
Monthly Package 4 x 40min Meditation with Breathing Practice (Mondays)
£48.00

FREE TASTER Classes

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Free Class (1st Wednesday of each month)
£0.00

Details: the monthly package is valid for 1 month from the date of payment;  bank holidays occurring in the paid period will not be counted and any missed class will be added to your account.

** if you are struggling to pay these rates because you are a student or for some other reason, and you would like to attend our classes, please contact us using the contact form below

Recordings: If you miss a class, a recording of the class will be sent to you. The recording will be available for one week from the date of the recording.

Refunds: No refunds are available

“Completing one of Eleanor’s breathing class leaves you centred and calm and ready for your day. When pressures build you can then revisit the exercises and restore yourself in a few moments.”

Rachel McColm, A&E Consultant, NHS England

About Me

Eleanor Curtis has practiced yoga for over 30 years; she is a (former) master scuba diving instructor, a certified freediver, and endurance open water swimmer. She has taught dance and yoga over the years and brings a unique blend of techniques to her breathing practice.

Eleanor was inspired to share the goodness and benefits of breathing practice after regular study and intensive practice of breathing optimisation techniques taught by her freediving instructor, Emma Farrell. ‘Breathing optimisation’ is a method of breath work developed by Emma that has been used to teach Olympic and Para-Olympic athletes as well as competitive and recreational water sports enthusiasts such as freedivers and swimmers, as well as singers and musicians, and people with breathing difficulties.

In establishing The Breathing Practice, Eleanor has designed classes that are a blend of breathing optimisation techniques, pranayama breathing, breath control exercises and breath awareness meditation. The classes are designed to achieve optimal well being, a deep sense of peace and relaxation, and clarity of mind, in addition to increased awareness of breathing.  Some classes have more emphasis on meditation whilst others emphasise breath control.

Eleanor herself suffers from tinnitus. She found that practicing breathing exercises on a regular almost daily basis has reduced the severity of her tinnitus. There is no consensus amongst medical professionals with regard to the cause or treatment of tinnitus,  but Eleanor very much believes that her breath work is the reason for the reduction in her symptoms.

Education and experience: Eleanor worked internationally in the Middle East and Africa as a journalist and photographer for many years, and is the author of several books. Later into her career, she qualified as an English lawyer and has a Masters in International Law from SOAS, University of London. She studied classical and contemporary dance for many years and started practicing yoga in her early 20s, practicing both Ashtanga and Vinyasa flow yoga with a variety of master yoga teachers at The Life Centre, London, and at yoga retreats in Thailand. She has been a teacher of both dance and yoga from time to time.  She remains physically active and continues to freedive, scuba dive, swim in open water and practice yoga. She also races triathlons.

To know more about Eleanor’s photography click here.

If you’d like to get in touch with Eleanor please contact her using the contact form on this website.

“Who would have thought breathing exercises could be so diverse and relaxing. Thanks Eleanor for brilliantly guided, super enjoyable and beneficial “breathing with meditation” sessions. I always leave refreshed and relaxed.”

Aude, Entrepreneur and Lecturer in Sustainability Leadership, London

Breathing

Breathing is something we all do. It is a voluntary physiological mechanism. We inhale, we exhale, all day long all night long, all our lives. Sometimes we are conscious or aware of our breathing – maybe in a yoga class or when training for a specific sport or activity – but most of the time, it is happening in the background of our everyday lives. In and out, inhale and exhale, through the day and the night.

Our breath is our life and improving the quality of our breathing has the potential to improve the quality of our well-being and the quality of our lives generally. There are many different ways to breathe and the way that we breathe will affect the way we feel. Some breathing helps us feel relaxed and steadies the mind; while other ways of breathing can do the opposite,  leaving us light headed, dizzy and disoriented. How we breathe and the quality of each breath is the focus of the exercises taught at The Breathing Practice. By gently focusing our attention on our breathing during our practice we can help quieten a busy mind and bring a general sense of well-being to our whole being.

The exercises taught at The Breathing Practice are based on a combination of ancient yoga breathing techniques (known as pranayama), breathing exercises used when training as a Freediver (that is, diving under the water on a single breath) and other exercises developed to assist people suffering with lung conditions such as asthma. The exercises we practice enhance your awareness of your breathing and give you a sense of control over your breathing.

The overall practice is particularly good for reducing anxiety and the exercise known as ‘boxed breathing’ is particular good at calming a troubled mind and combatting panic attacks. This is a simple exercise of breathing and breath holds performed in a regular pattern that brings the mind and body into a steady state almost immediately. The exercise is straightforward: we inhale, hold, then exhale, hold. Each inhale and hold, and each exhale and hold is for the same duration. For example, we inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, then exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. We can increase this to an inhale/ hold /exhale/ hold of 6 counts and maybe even 8 counts depending on how we are feeling.  If we were to represent this exercise visually, it would draw the shape of a box – hence the name ‘boxed breathing’. This pattern of inhale/ hold /exhale/ hold can be repeated for as long as suits – for example up to 6 minutes, or more.

In our classes at The Breathing Practice, we practice boxed breathing in most if not all classes, starting with an inhale for 4 counts etc. All class participants love this exercise and say it gives them a sense of deep relaxation and stillness.

I hope you will join me for some classes at The Breathing Practice and share with me the benefits and goodness obtained from simple breathing exercises.

Eleanor

“We find the classes very relaxing, friendly and helpful. Eleanor has a very calm and reassuring manner which puts us at ease.”

Ken and Vijaya (both retired), Cambridge

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