Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing before we GO.
Breath And Asana
When focusing on breathing during asana practice, the control of the breath shifts from the brain stem to the cerebral cortex which makes us being aware of the breath. In that moment of awareness,the magic starts to happens. The mind will become more quiet and a calm and as a result-awareness arises.
In our physical practice, breathing has everything to do with the patterns in which we hold, perceive and move the body.
Breath awareness can eliminate joint compression and other imbalances from one’s postures and attitudes. Awareness of breath is also the foundation for flowing seamlessly in movement through an Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.
While doing yoga breathing your emotional stress in the whole system gets a break. The energy(prana) begins to flow more freely pushing through any emotional and physical blockages by automatically freeing the body and mind. That is why you “feel good” after a yoga practice.
Breathing And Calm Mind
If you have practiced some serious meditation you have certainly noticed that when the breath moves, the mind follows. Of course this works both ways.
This basically means that the breath gives us a tool to explore all the structures of our mental and emotional worlds we are all in.
But,when the breathing pattern changes,it is telling you that something is happening in your mind. Like disturbing thought maybe. Focus and empty your mind.Let it be one big NOTHING.
Because breath and mind are so connected, awareness and mindfulness of breathing can lead to an insight into the nature of mind. Eventually it leads to inner freedom.
Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is commonly translated as “victorious breath,” and has been used for thousands of years to enhance hatha yoga practice. Also commonly referred to as the “oceanic breath,” the sound that Ujjayi provides helps us to synchronize breath with movements during yoga, making the entire yoga practice more rhythmic.
It is the main style of breathing used when you flow and practice the more strenuous poses. When you start to cool down and move more into the relaxing poses, it’s time to let go of this way of breathing and to allow the breath to be more natural.
Ujjayi breath is both relaxing and energizing.
How To Practice Ujjayi Breathing
- Close your eyes, imagine looking down the nose, softly smile and begin to lengthen the breath.
- Next close the back of the throat a little like you do when you whisper something. You should now feel the flow of air moving through the back of the throat. Keep the mouth closed while you do this. The sound of your breath will be a little like the sound of the wind through the trees.
- Listening to the breath allows the breath to fully flourish. Keep the sound and length of the breath the same on the in and out breath.
Benefits Of Ujjayi Breathing
Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing it:
- Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Builds internal body heat
- Relieves tension
- Encourages free flow of prana
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice
- Builds energy
- Detoxifies mind and body
- Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities
When To Use It
It is good to use when:
- you are practicing Hatha Yoga
- you are agitating
- when exercising
- when you are nervous
Remember,breathing is our first essential “food”.