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.