What is that brings life to a human being or that starts the beginning of a life? Breath, the answer is breath. When we say breath, there is only one thing that comes to our mind – inhaling oxygen and exhaling oxygen. But is breath only about inhaling or exhaling. Yoga has revived the meaning of breath and its importance in your staying fit and healthy. When you enrol for learning this exercise at a yoga retreat, they explain you everything about the exercise and the importance of ‘breathing’ or ‘pranayam’in this exercise.

Yoga begins with meditation or ‘pranayam’ . This exercise depends on breathing completely. It proves that breathing is actually primary of element of a living creature. In this exercise breathing is called ‘prana’ which means ‘life force’. Prana is considered as a life giving element which is extracted from the air.

Breathing nourishes the body and mind with pure oxygen. It gets you rid of all the fatigue. It soothes the nervous system, improves concentration, calms the mind, and helps us to be strong in stressful situations. We usually take deep breaths when we are stressed. This helps more oxygen supply to the brain and thus refreshes your brain. Thus, breathing is a very essential activity. In yoga a very often used breath is ‘Ujjayi breathing’ which means ‘victorious’ in English. Ujjayi exercise is a type of pranayam. While practicing this exercise, Ujjayi benefits one in the following ways:

Increases the capacity of our lungs and helps the lungs to absorb oxygen more efficiently and effectively
Give a focal point to our mind, maximizes our concentration, unifies the body and mind, and balances opposing energies
Help your body relax safely and deeply in every pose that you practice
Stimulates the blood circulation and improves your metabolism

The sound of Ujjayi is created when you gently constrict the opening of your throat (this opening is located at the back of your throat) which creates some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath toward the back of the throat on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation (against this resistance), creates a soothing sound—something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out, a radiator hiss, snoring, “Darth Vader,” or even a scuba diver. The breathing itself is done through the nose on both the in-breath and out-breath.

Ujjayi breathing is difficult to master but once you learn it well, you will be able to incorporate it in your practice. Be patient and practice well, to benefit from yoga by incorporating Ujjayi breath in your exercise.

Eric Mayars is expert in providing information related to Yoga Teacher Training and other services like Seva and meditation retreats.

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Categories: Yoga