The sun and moon of alternate nostril breath: another yoga tip from Claire

Italy- Alternate Nostril Breath (002)Our delightful yoga and meditation tutor Claire Murphy is returning to the Watermill this September for a special seven-day retreat, called Nourish — mind, body, and soul. There’s a link below for you to find out more details of this unique, joyful yoga and meditation retreat. Seven people have already signed up, so we have room for only four or five more.

And to whet your appetite and get you into the right mode — mind. body and soul — Claire has prepared a series of relaxing yet invigorating exercises for the week, which you can enjoy NOW, even before you come (or even if you don’t!)

This one is Alternate Nostril Breath.

“The sun (right nostril) and the moon (left nostril) divide time into day and night”  —Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4.17

Claire says: The foundation of yoga is the breath. It is also an important aspect as a means of support for meditation too. So, throughout your time on retreat at the Watermill, you will hear me mention the breath an awful lot. We often give it very little regard unless we have a heavy cold and therefore blocked sinuses, or we may have asthma or other respiratory conditions.

“Our whole system relies on the nourishment that is provided with each breath that we take; it boosts our energy; improves our ability to focus; can reduce anxiety and bring calmness, plus many other benefits.”

 Claire continues: “Alternate nostril breath helps us to align and balance the energies of the inner body. Most are unaware, until they are experiencing a heavy cold, that one nostril will be more dominant for a couple of hours and then the other. This cycle continues throughout the day, mostly unnoticed, that is until we are congested. (We all know that scenario: we can only breathe through the right side of our nose, and then suddenly we feel the left side clearing, only for the right side to then become bunged-up!) The science of right/left side nostril breathing and how it corresponds to the hemispheres of the brain is quite a lengthy subject, and one best saved for another day.”

Practically, however, says Claire, “You can check right now which channel in your body is more open. Sitting upright, hold the back of your hand beneath one nostril and breathe out, then move your hand so it is beneath the other nostril and do the same. Notice which side is stronger? When repeated a couple of hours later, you may find it has changed – it normally does every 1 ½ to 2 hours.

“Practising alternate nostril breath promotes the balancing of the energies within the body, the masculine and feminine, the hemispheres of the brain and helps to prepare us for meditation.”

Claire adds: “I look forward to seeing you on the cushion in Italy soon where we can explore this and so much more.”

Yoga retreat at The Watermill in Tuscany, yoga and meditation retreats

We’ll nourish your soul on rural walks and visits to ancient walled towns and hilltop villages, castles and14432947_10154449229557557_403500150842892678_nconvents. You’ll also savour the relaxed atmosphere of la bella vita italiana in local cafes, shops, restaurants and markets. We’ll venture a little journal writing and painting in The Watermill studio overlooking the river or under the shade of the vine verandah to nourish your mind. And we’ll nourish your body with fresh, home-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals lovingly prepared by the Watermill cooks, with many of the ingredients freshly picked from The Watermill’s own gardens. There will be vegetarian options for every meal, of course. Private sessions with a local Shiatsu practitioner are also available, at cost, on request.
yoga Claire croppedYoga, meditation and massage have been a way of life for Claire Murphy for more than 25 years and she’s passionate about teaching them. Together we’ve created a unique seven-day programme. You can see the itinerary by clicking here.

Claire has a wealth of teaching experience in both yoga and meditation, primarily focused on women’s health. Claire currently teaches classes for women through all stages of their life and has even run sessions for women in recovery from cancer. In addition, her approach is very much from a remedial perspective in which she sees yoga being available to everybody.


Itali 4 jpgIn addition to her yoga capabilities, Claire has studied meditation within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for many years as well as being a qualified mindfulness for stress relief teacher. It’s this presence and focus that she brings to all her teachings and infuses all her sessions with mindful awareness. Claire’s style of teaching is very eclectic, borne out of studying and training in various traditions over the years across the UK and in many other areas of Europe and extensively in the USA. She brings a sense of humour and imagination to her teaching in order to make it accessible to everyone.

The sessions at The Watermill will be friendly and welcoming and no prior experience of yoga or meditation is necessary: all levels from beginner to intermediate will be catered for and we’ll also tailor our sessions to your particular needs. The classes are secular (non-denominational).

Claire Murphy head and shoulders 2Yoga portrait shape 39 -16 September Nourish — mind, body and soul 

with Claire Murphy Four or five places left

To learn more about Claire and her retreat at The Watermill, please click here

Come and join us and nourish your mind, body and soul.

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