Yoga uses breath work quite a lot. Pranayama, (yogic breath work), has many different styles of breath to treat different ailments, provide emotional and mental support, and relief. I could go on and on about the benefits, but, today I want to focus on a style of pranayama that works for me.
The style of pranayma that is often used in yoga class is the Ujjayi breath. This breath is sometimes translated to, " conqueror's breath", " victorious breath", or “ ocean's breath”. I find this to be a very lovely and relaxing, an easy breath to reach for when nothing else seems to work.
A guide for you to give it a try:
Find your comfortable position, either seated, standing, or lying down. Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose. Exhale out your nose. On your second breath see if you can slightly drag the breath in and out along the back of your throat. Try not to tighten your throat, keep it soft. This “dragging” can create a small amount of noise. The hope is that this noise is pleasant. Reminiscent of the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out. It may feel slightly forced at first, so, never do more of this breath then feels comfortable. As you get used to the sensation, you may find that the quiet rhythm, your rhythm, is quite pleasant. Like sitting on the beach listening to the waves.
Here is a list of a few of my favorite books on the subject of breath or pranayama:
- The Healing Power of Breath- Richard P. Brown, Patricia L. Gerbarg
- Light on Pranayama: The Yogic art of Breathing -BKS Iyengar
- The Little Book of Yoga Breathing, Pranayama Made Easy - Scott Shaw
With all that we have talked about, most of all, remember this:
When you need a break.
When life starts pushing in from all sides.
Just close your eyes.
Forget all the other stuff.
Just breathe. Breathe in and breathe out.
Feel each breath.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
If you have any questions, or would like to practice with me, please don't hesitate to get in touch or join me in class or at an event!