GUEST COLUMN: … triathlons and the breath …

Richard writes about how his triathlon pursuits have been significantly improved by breath work during his yoga practice

Swimming, cycling, running and breathing
by Richard  City of London  Dec 2018

triathlon pic

I have been training to compete in triathlons for about five years, and after making gains in terms of speed and technique across the disciplines of swimming, cycling and running, my progress began to plateau. With this in mind, a year ago I was seeking a yoga class to complement my training to ensure I could continue to make improvements in my performance.  This is on the basis that yoga is a key part of the training programme of most elite athletes (including triathletes).

I booked Priya’s hatha yoga class (not quite knowing what to expect), and haven’t looked back. The improvements have been remarkable, not only in terms of my core strength, but my whole body (in particular my spine) and mind are now more relaxed (which in a race is an important skill to have, as I often become tense). Priya has brilliantly (and cheerfully) guided our class over the last twelve months with a range of movements which have increased flexibility and posture, whilst challenging our minds and bodies in each practice. These sessions are now paying dividends, as I am able to take more efficient strides when I run (which has made me faster), ensured I am more relaxed on the bike by reducing my tendency to have tense shoulders which in-turn has helped me get more power with each pedal rotation.  When I swim my body is much higher and longer in the water, which helps me have a more efficient stroke.


One aspect of Priya’s classes which I was not expecting (but which is central to yoga) is breathing.  My breathing is now much slower and more controlled, which in-turn allows me to focus on my technique during my yoga practice and also whilst triathlon training.  As triathlon is an endurance sport, being able to control my breathing for a long period is key.  This allows my mind to focus on good swim/bike/run technique whilst reducing the stress on my body.

I still have much to learn (my balance needs a lot of work), but I would highly recommend Priya’s yoga classes to all athletes looking to improve their performance.

GUEST COLUMN: … it’s all about the breathe, really …

Beccy writes about how breathing fully has changed her yoga practice

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out
by Beccy City of London Aug 2018

Of all the exercise I do, yoga makes me most mindful of my breathing. Not only to give a rhythm to the movements, but to remain centred. To block out the other noises around me. To focus internally. To ease the muscles that little bit deeper into each stretch. To keep the body flowiIMG_0015ng.

Breathing is something that comes second nature, without thought, every day. But when it’s brought to the forefront of your mind in a yoga class it can be difficult to understand its importance until you see drastic improvements.

I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for 10 years, but until early 2017 hadn’t felt any real improvements in my movements, balance or flexibility for a long time. When I started with Three Jewels, the first difference – to any other class I’ve taken – was being told to focus on my breath instead of the movements.

My mind had always been focused on getting into position and thinking “I’m doing yoga’’. I didn’t quite understand the importance of focusing on how I was breathing until I noticed how much longer I could hold warrior postures and downward-facing-dog. Then how much deeper into these postures I could get. Then how much closer I could get to my legs in a forward bend. How much easier it felt to hold balances. How much easier it was becoming to push my body to go that little bit further with each practice.


All because I was told to focus on my breath, letting the movements flow with my breathing instead of the other way around. It’s the key element to any practice I do now, and I’ve seen more improvements in my own ability in the past 18 months than I had done the 8 years prior.

All because I was told to breathe.