When it comes to yoga, Ally Bogard is a teacher's teacher. She's deeply embedded in the yoga community in New York with roots in Canada, her original home. Her poetic way of speaking, challenging sequences, and spot-on intuition draw large, loyal crowds to her weekly classes at SKY TING and Yoga Shanti in New York City and trainings abroad. Since founding gaiatri, a yoga teacher training program based in Canada, she's made a name for herself within the wellness community as a silent but powerful source of wisdom specifically in the practice of cultivating attention through asana, meditation, yoga Nidra, and breathwork.
One of the most common things she sees and works on with her private clientele and in public classes is anxiety. "We know that someone is going to be in an activated, stressful nervous system and have low-grade anxiety if the belly comes in on an inhale," Bogard said. This is called a reverse breathing pattern and is, perhaps not surprisingly, quite common in today's always-on, digital, social media world.
"The practice of meditation and breathwork engages the subtle body, the intuitive body, the all-knowing body—that part of the body that knows and sees and hears the unseen and the unstruck," Bogard said. These are the things that, by keeping ourselves busy, we tend to push down. These are the things that grip on our organs, digestion, and musculature when we don't allow them to release. The diaphragm orchestrates a lot of this tension and release, Bogard said. In order to facilitate a diaphragmatic release, try this breathwork routine Borgard teaches often at workshops and trainings.