Monthly Archives: August 2014

Ujjayi Pranayama – Victorious Breath

Each yoga class begins by bringing our awareness to the breath. We concentrate on deliberately linking breath and movement. It is through the breath that we are able to start to connect to the subtle body and the deeper energy reserves in the body.

The breath we use mostly in a Hatha Yoga class as we move through the asanas (poses) is called Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) Breath. Ujjayi Breath can be translated as Victorious Breath. It is where we inhale and exhale through the nostrils while slightly contracting the back of the throat. This makes an ocean like sound.

Here are some of the many benefits of this type of breathing :
• Slows the breath down.
• Calms the mind.
• Strengthens the nervous system.
• Strengthens the digestive system.
• Improves concentration and brings awareness to the physical movement.
• Warms the body.
• Directing the ujjayi breath to certain parts of the body can release tension and tightness in specific areas.

How to do it:
• Find a comfortable seat
• Begin by exhaling through the nose
• Inhale through the nose, partially narrowing the passageway through the throat.
• Exhale through an open mouth as though you were trying to fog a mirror, making a ‘hhhhaaa’ sound.
• Try this a couple of times.
• Now repeat but close the mouth as you exhale.
• Repeat a few times allowing the breath to flow smoothly and softly like waves in the ocean. You can place your hands over your ears to hear the sound more clearly.

Relax and enjoy this deep smooth breathing as you feel the prana circulate around the body.

Justine
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Aloe, Aloe – 12 ways to use Aloe Vera

It warms my heart when I notice my kids harvest Aloe Vera, split it open and rub it on their cuts and scrapes. I have succeeded in teaching them something, they know that Aloe Vera is a living first aid plant, soothing, healing, cooling and calming, how cool is that (excuse the pun)! This plant has a long and rich history, it has been used medicinally for over 5000 years, Cleopatra used it as part of her beauty routine and it is mentioned in the Bible.

This plant is heavy, unctuous and slimy (Kapha qualities for those interested in Ayurveda), although it looks spiky it is a very nurturing plant. Aloe Vera is super useful and it grows really well in pots, so no matter how small your home; you can always find space for a small Aloe Vera plant!

Commercial Aloe Vera juices are often diluted and combined with unwanted additives, so I would encourage you to grow your own plant. Here are 12 of the many benefits of this wonderful plant that the American Indians call ‘The Wand of Heaven’:

Aloe Vera is widely used for many skin conditions, it is an excellent healer for cuts and wounds, and this plant has amazing antibacterial properties, rub the gel directly on.
This plant is high in vitamins and minerals so helps boost the immune system.
Aloe Vera contains Vitamins A, C, E (along with K and B12) so it is fantastic for the skin, just rub the gel directly on your face to cleanse before you moisturise.
Make a homemade facemask, scrape the gel straight from inside the leaf of the plant, mix with some honey, apply to your face – leave for 20min while you relax and then […]