Having trouble sleeping? Try some ujjayi breathing from the comfort of your bed. This soft throat breath calms the nervous system not only at night but when ever we need to relax and chill out, especially in our yoga poses.
Ujjayi Breathing may be taught and practiced in various ways which will achieve different outcomes. Some schools teach it as a loud sound, which is a bit like Darth Vader breathing, whereas others prefer a very soft sound that only the practitioner can hear. Some practice it on both the inward and outward breath whereas others only the outward. They all have their merits and you need to try them all to feel what is right for you. Before you try anything else become familiar with the soft sound on the outward breath.
Calms the mind and the body
Helps to keep the mind focused
Stimulates circulation and digestion and increases oxygen absorption
Assists with insomnia
There are no cautions, anyone can do it, although if one has a heavy cold you should wait until you are well. If you find the practice incredibly relaxing don’t practice while driving 😀
Let’s try it:
1. Ujjayi breathing can be practiced lying down, standing or sitting up and eventually in all asanas.
2. For the first breath, breathe in deeply through the nose and breathe out the mouth taking your time so that the outward breath is nice and long.
3. Keep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and for the next 3 exhalations softly whisper “haaaaa” on the long exhalation. This makes a slight constriction in the throat and slows down the release of air.
4. Now close your mouth and keep the same constriction in your throat for each exhalation.
5. Keep the breath deep, slow and smooth and practice for as long as you have time.
Learn more about using breathing techniques for your yoga practice by coming to our classes!
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training