Resident Yin Yogi @terrafirmayoga shares her musings on the magic of the Ujjayi Breath.
Ujjayi Pranayama is the most simple of all yoga’s breathing practices. And because it is so easy to do, it is so effective. It can be done in any position. Sitting down, lying down, standing up, doing yoga asana, driving in a car, going for a walk and even listening to a friend talk…
Effective at slowing down your nervous system, your heart rate and your racing mind. You need to breathe. Especially if you have anxiety, stress or depression, aches or pains, injuries or illness. You need to breathe.
In Yin Yoga we learn to breathe the Ujjayi breath in a yin way. Slow, steady and soft. There is effort, but it is minimal. This takes time and practice. I like to teach it at the beginning of every yoga class, as the breath is the essence of yoga.
The key to Ujjayi is a gentle narrowing of the throat passageway. This exaggerates the sound so you can hear it. The most important element of Ujjayi is the sound. As you slow down your breath and smooth out the flow, the sound becomes consistent and steady while becoming quieter and quieter. It is the internal sound that is so divine. It is the internal sound that heals our wounds and replenishes our cells. This breath is guaranteed to detox your body and cleanse your mind.
The slow pace of the breath allows time for oxygen to be absorbed into the cells with each inhale, improving the efficiency of your cellular breathing. Did you know that you have 50 trillion cells inside of you? If your cells are breathing efficiently this improves your metabolism which affects how your body handles nutrients from your food.
At the same time each exhale carries out toxins and waste product. Which yoga describes as purification. A way of making your body less dense. Simultaneously, your mind and emotions are cleared of the density as well.
The word ‘prana’ is a Sanksrit word which means life force. It is also called chi, mana and oxygen. Pranayama means you are moving this force through you. A body with high levels of prana is vibrant and doesn’t succumb to sickness. Any dis-ease will be improved by increasing your levels of prana. The level of prana moving through your body determines your health, vitality and glow.
In a general class you may have enough time for 5-8 minutes of Ujjayi. It is merely an introduction to the full practice of 20 minutes everyday. But 5-8 minutes is enough to get you started on your journey to wellness and it will help you go deeper when you practice the yoga poses which follow.
It is a mystery how this simple breath can weave magic into your life, but if you remember to breathe an Ujjayi breath or ten everyday, I guarantee it will change your life for the better.
Remember to Breathe…
Love Tara X
You can download a 7 minute guided Ujjayi practice with Tara on Spotify or iTunes.
Type in Tara Fitzgibbon or Breathe, Rest, Let Go.