Published on May 19th, 2014 | by Catherine Tingey0
The Yoga Breath
The Yoga Breath
There is nothing as paramount in yoga as THE BREATH, and having just recovered from a bad chest cold, I’m reminded of how much I take the ability to breathe for granted.
In yoga, the breath is the through line, the thread that all the beads are strung upon, the foundation of everything.
Here in the west, Ujjayi breathing is most commonly taught and practiced. Called’ ocean- sounding breath’, or ‘victorious breath’, it is a breathing technique that helps focus the mind and relax the body.
The sweetest thing about Ujjayi breathing is that it keeps the focus INWARD. You don’t even have to be doing an asana practice to enjoy the benefits of this type of breathing.
Anytime throughout your day that you are in need greater calm, try taking 5 minutes for this breath.
Inhale and Exhale with an open mouth as if you were FOGGING A MIRROR. Your breath should be audible and create a ‘HA’ sound.
Now CLOSE THE MOUTH but continue the same fogging breath.
You will notice the sound becomes more audible with a slight constriction of the throat.
Try to find some relaxation in the breath. As in all yoga practice, we are seeking a kind of active ease, so while we are controlling the breath, we are not forcing it, nor are we creating tension through the effort.
On your inhales, take the breath down into the belly (activating the 1st and 2nd chakras). Visualize the breath rising to the rib cage and heart, and finally up into the chest and throat.
You can begin your practice by pairing the Ujjayi breath with either Virasana or Supta Baddha Konasana (one hand on belly, one hand on heart).