In the 90 minute yoga classes this summer we will be practicing Ujjayi Breathing. This is a great practice for relaxation – calming for the mind and cooling for the body. It is also great treatment for anxiety and insomnia. Please be patient with yourself when learning this practice as it’s not the easiest practice to do.
Sit in a comfortable position, the spine erect and the eyes softly closed. Allow the breath to become steady, calm and relaxed; breathing through the nostrils and encouraging the breath to be full. Don’t force breath in or out, let it come naturally and feel the ‘ends’ of each inhale and exhale.
Bring the awareness to the throat and gently contract the glottis and continue to inhale and exhale with awareness at the throat. (If you are new to this practice, try exhaling through the mouth making a ‘haaaa’ sound. This will enable you to discover the contraction of the glottis. Tilting the chin down slightly can also help.)
Allow the breath to smooth, deep and slow – it will sound like baby snoring or waves breaking on the sand. Explore the gentleness of this breath – don’t feel as though you are gripping at the throat.
When established with the practice, with each inhale and exhale take your awareness to the abdomen, chest and throat in turn as they expand and contract to encourage full yogic breathing.
Ujjayi is a wonderfully calming breath and can help to relieve insomnia. Simply practice in bed in shavasana when sleep is being illusive.
Practice for 5 – 10 minutes each day – great for calming the body and mind before asana practice, meditation or relaxation.