A key aspect of Yoga is the Ujjayi breath (pronounced oo-jai).
The Ujjayi breath can be very soothing and it gives the mind something to focus on, due to the gentle aspirant sound which is generated at the base of the throat. The Ujjayi breath is also a valuable tool to learn during pregnancy, it is very centering and grounding.
During the yoga practice, the aim is to have each breath in sync with each movement of the body. For example, one inhalation is matched with one movement (inhale arms up look up), then the exhalation is matched to the next movement (exhale into a forward bend) and so on.
To do the ujjayi breath, breathe in and out through the nose, drawing the breath from the back of the throat, to create a gentle aspirant sound.
As Matthew Sweeney puts it – “don’t breathe with your face. Minimise sound at the nose and avoid clenching the teeth, let the teeth be apart – the aspirated sound should not bounce off the roof of the mouth. Thus, the sound drops into the throat and chest, allowing better diaphragmatic movement, with the bottom jaw relaxed and lowered slightly. The tip of the tongue can rest behind the two front teeth.
The sound of the inhalation should match the sound of the exhalation, rather than a louder and harsher sound on the exhalation. The exhalation should peaceful at all times“.
Below is a short guided breathing exercise. Find a comfortable sitting position and have a go.
See you in class soon.