Breathing is something most vital of us take for granted. When we do notice it, it typically is in forms of sighs or lack of oxygen due to stressful situations (count to “10” sound familiar?).
In yoga, breathing is one of the essential tools for deepening your practice and increasing your flow of prana.
To dive deeper into the meaning of Pranayama…Prana means “life force,” and Pranayama means “control.” Together, Pranayama means mastering the life force that is within each of us.
By learning it, you are giving yourself the gift of being fully present to your practice. Pranayama is breathing techniques that train the practitioner to control the flow of prana in the body. Ujjayi – Sounding Breath.
Ujjayi – Sounding Breath
Ujjayi breath, also known as the “Ocean Breath,” is the first breath to begin your practice with. It draws the mind into a more focal point inward and a more meditative state.
It also brings more strength and stamina to your postures because you are focusing more on the sound of the breath rather than how your muscles are burning.
To start, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. The inhales and exhales long, deep and slow while contracting the muscles in the back of your throat. The sounds resemble the distance rolling of the ocean.
A technique to know if you are using the correct muscles in the throat is to pretend to fog a mirror. Continue to fog the mirror several times on each exhale.
Each exhale begin to close your mouth while continuing to “fog the mirror.” Once you can “fog the mirror” with you mouth shut, keep the same muscles contracted as you inhale.
The sound can be as loud as you need it. Keep the breath smooth by connecting the inhales and exhales. Remember not to create tension in the body.
This is an excellent tool when meditating, and the mind won’t mind its own business. Begin the Ujjayi breath, making it loud enough that you can’t hear your account interrupting you.
– Calms the mind and the body
– The breath becomes a focal point which enhances your concentration
– Meditation practice become more comfortable to concentrate
– Stimulates Circulation and metabolism
– Increases prana
– Increases sense – stimulates olfactory glands
– Lungs absorb oxygen more comfortably by opening the alveoli in the lungs.
If you feel dizziness or light-headed stop, then you can take a break for minutes. Perhaps spend shorter amounts of time practicing this breath.