Ujjayi breathing takes me through yoga and envelops my movements. It is the breath I mostly use and the one that has come to feel most natural while doing yoga.
Move with your breath ~ Be with your breath
While guiding yoga class, Franklin has often advised us with those words, and indeed, I move with my breath because Ujjayi meshes with my movements.
If you’re listening to your breath, you’re not listening to your mind.
When taking class with Caroline either in her home or at The Yoga Sanctuary, she notes the benefit of being mindful of your breath. I love Ujjayi because it “talks” to me as it guides my pace, flow, and focus.
Okay, so what IS Ujjayi, this breath that “talks”. I have heard it described as the sound of an ocean rushing to shore and the sound of Darth Vader breathing. Quite different images, to say the least, but the intensity of sound is the same. Have you ever taken in a deep breath and then let it out to fog up a mirror…
How to do Ujjayi
Settle into a comfortable position, either seated or lying down on your back. Either way, begin to breathe in and out through your nose, taking breaths that are slow, long and deep.
As you breathe, you want to begin to hear your breath. The sound of Ujjayi comes from constricting the back of your throat as you breathe out, much the way you would do for fogging up that mirror. While you aren’t intending to serenade your neighbor, your breathing should be audible.
Benefits of Ujjayi
Absolutely the biggest benefit of Ujjayi breathing is to assist with concentration and focus. As Caroline says, if you’re listening to your breath, you’re not listening to your mind. And as Ellen says, you can
Quiet the chitavriti – the noise of the mind.
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