What is Pranayama?

“Pranayama refers to breathing exercises which clear the physical and emotional obstacles in our body to free the breath and so the flow of prana – life energy” Erkhart Yoga

Almost all retreats work with breath and breathing from different perspectives. If this is your first time attended a Yoga Retreat, you will surely come out enriched with the basic notion of Pranayama.

The goal is to connect your body and mind, providing physiological healing benefits. Pranayama, if translated, means: Gaining control over your Prana. You control the timing, duration, and frequency of every breath and hold. 

Sit evenly on both sides, spine straight, neck elongated, shoulders relaxed

Will I learn Pranayama on retreat?

Yes, you will learn Pranayama and to develop your practice of Pranayama, it is recommended to follow masterclass or attend a retreat. And it is with consistent practice through time that you will develop your abilities and reap the benefits.

Retreats are places when teachers have more time and concentration to dedicate to Pranayama than in regular classes in the studio.

Most retreats combine Yoga with sea benefits during the warm season or spa facility to enhance the benefits of Yoga. Friendly temperatures release and relax your joints, making relaxation and lengthening of your limbs easier and more pleasant. Additionally, the surrounding vacation mood soothes your senses even more.

However, when back home, you can easily adjust what you learnt on retreat to suit your specific needs and possibilities.

What are my pranayama rituals?

I’m so in love with Pranayama that my following offline education will be Pranayama technics. I’m looking forward to this next opportunity in my journey. 

In general, when I don’t have time during the day, I will, at least, have my pranayama rituals. I found these rituals essential for grounding and balancing.  I’m honestly amazed at the power of breath.

Playing with breath in a pool

I have spent the last two months blessed with daily spa time, consisting of the perfect warm salt water pool, sauna and steam bath. I commonly don’t enjoy these fantastic blessings on a daily basis, as I don’t possess a spa at home – as most of us do not.

Anyhow, I would like to share my ideal pampering rituals when I  incorporate breathing.

On rainy weekends, I skip the beach and swap it with spa time. I start with a steam bath to warm up. It’s nice to do peeling before and a cool shower after.

Then I jump into the sea pool usually empty, at a perfect temperature where I enjoy breathing and diving. 

Pools offer a safe environment for the practice of breathing and movement. You can swap your sitting position with floating and concentrate on the simple technic of even lengths of inhale and exhale (slow and calm). Observe the travelling of your breath in your body. Coherent breathing brings your nervous system back in balance. 

I must humbly confess that being a fish for a while is very meditative and grounding. Thanks to almost two months of spa time, time spent diving in the water has become longer and more pleasant. Have you ever experienced the calming sound of silence in deep water? If no, give it a go. You can hear your body so much clearer.

Sometimes I can steal half an hour for myself and sometimes more. I adapt to my possibilities, skipping something or having a longer relaxed time when possible depending on my daily rhythm.

What are the secrets behind Pranayama?

Oxygen we get from inhaling stimulates our body. CO2 that we exhale relaxes our body.

For example, when you start hyperventilating because of stress with short, shallow breaths, breathing into a paper bag will help calm you

How’s that? CO2 that you exhale into the bag will calm your nervous system.

Breathing and retention help in maintaining the right balance between inhaling and exhaling, between Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide inside your system.

yoga hrvatska

Why is Pranayama essential and helpful?

Pranayama techniques are always introducing other elements into practice. This is called Kumbhaka, that we find already in Yoga Sutra.

Four aspects of Pranayama adjust the levels of O2 and CO2, and consequently the sensation of stimulation and relaxation. The practice of Pranayama is such a potent practice that it is usually better transmitted from teacher to student and you are better to be guided by masters.

The four main elements of Pranayama are:

  1. Inhale (puraka)
  2. Retention with full lungs of O2 (antah kumbhaka )
  3. Exhale (rechaka)
  4. Retention with empty lungs (CO2 rise) (bahih kumbhaka)

Usually it is easier to hold the air after the exhale as CO2 rises resulting in a sedative and calming effect on the nervous system. You can easily conclude how the practice of Pranayama if done under the proper guidance, can help you balance your nervous system.

Once you give this a go, you can easily imagine how managing your breathing process, if done correctly, can enhance your overall wellbeing.

How does Pranayama help your ordinary daily life?

Consequently, if you get up in the morning and need to wake up your system, you will probably focus more on inhale in your morning practice.  In reality in the morning, we are usually aware of all the stress we need to cope with during our busy day. This means that we have already been overstimulated since before our morning rise.

When you sit in the morning on the mat, focusing on a more prolonged and calmer exhale you will miraculously move your mood and become more grounded. It seems pretty simple, and it is! Though, a serious, disciplined and guided approach is needed to manage the natural healing potential of the breath.

Explore breathing with Marieke this September on Vis Island

Come join us in pranayama practice with Marieke during our Kundalini Your Eternal Self Retreat on Vis this September. You will experience great guidance in connecting your breath and movement.

As a result, a new sensation of gentle, yet transformative strengthening of your breath will be the best evidence of a return on your investment in yourself.

Kundalini energy is nothing more than your vital life energy that is directly connected with our breathing. Breath is essential to life. Our life on Earth, after we leave the womb, starts with inhale, and finishes with a last exhale.


Come continue your yoga practice by joining us on retreat in 2021.

11-17 September 2021, Balancing Your Energy SUP & SEA Yoga Retreat. Take time out for yourself and deepen your practice fully immersed in Yoga and the Sea, on the Dalmatian Island of Vis, CROATIA.

18-25 September 2021, Your Eternal Self, Kundalini Yoga Retreat. The opportunity to experience your eternal self on the gorgeous island of VIS.

Both of these retreats are on VIS island, a Covid safe zone.  All activities will take place in the open natural space with distance provided as needed. Island surface area is sunbathed throughout the year, which is a guarantee of cleaner space and ground.

And if you would like to get access to my first cooking book heres the link to Tamara’s Spring & Summer Fare

This is the first in a series of cookbooks where I have taken the best of vegetables grown and harvested in their natural season of spring and summer here in Dalmatia and created Spring and Summer Fare to invigorate the mind, body and soul.






ANY QUESTIONS: email Tamara – yogaincroatia@gmail.com

We look forward to welcoming you to Croatia.


The practices of yoga and meditation can help us know our higher self a bit better. Taking time to retreat helps us profoundly understand ourselves so we can have the life we dream of.

Our dreams can manifest from imagination into reality.
I invite you to bravely stand up to the parts of you that hold you back and go to that Retreat.

Your soul will thank you.

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