A guest post at http://www.puntabancoretreats.com/incorporate-ujjayi-breath-daily-routine/
How often do you focus on just your breath? Perhaps it’s only when you’re in a yoga class or right before you fall asleep. Maybe you notice your breath more if you’re mad or upset — or maybe you never notice it at all. Our busy lives make it hard to remember to take a moment to focus on the breath. If this practice is one of the most important aspects of yoga, then why are we not utilizing its benefits off the mat?
Prana represents our life-force energy and ayama means “control.” Simply put, Pranayama is the control of breath yet its function is far from simple, as it is responsible for the vital energy in the body. There are many forms of Pranayama with a variety of purposes, but one of the most well-known and important among them is the Ujjayi breath.
Benefits of Ujjayi Breath
Ujjayi means to conquer or be victorious: using this pranayama will keep you in the present moment and improve your concentration; any outside distractions will be drowned out by the audible sound the breath makes. Deep inhales and exhales warm the back of the throat, which relaxes the body and alleviates stress. When you surrender to the breath you become more aware of your body and mind.
When to Use Ujjayi Breath
The Ujjayi breath is versatile and can be practiced at any point during the day no matter where you are. Even during a busy work day — when you’re being tugged left and right without a moment to sit on the mat and return to your breath — the ujjayi breath can be practiced. It’s available to you at any point during the day, no matter where you are.
Taking a Break
As humans, we often overwork ourselves without even noticing that we’re doing so. No matter how busy you are, take the time to pause during the day. Step back from your tasks and use the Ujjayi breath to recenter and relax.
Feeling stressed or irritated can ruin an entire day. Incorporate the Ujjayi breath into your routine to connect to exactly why you are upset and address the root of the issue. Perhaps you’ll find that what’s bothering you is petty and doesn’t deserve to be dwelled on. Perhaps the Ujjayi breath will deliver you your “aha!” moment of the day. At the very least, it will allow you to release tension from the body, mind, and breath to ease the stress.
Journaling, like the Ujjayi breath, is a great technique to reflect on the day and leave the past in the past. Find a quiet spot to journal and integrate the Ujjayi breath, helping to improve your focus. Allowing both techniques to process out the stresses of the day.
For those who have trouble falling asleep at night, the Ujjayi breath can save you from those hours of tossing and turning. Close your eyes and focus on your rhythmic breath. Let the feeling of the Ujjayi breath in the back of the throat soothe and relax the mind. Utilize this technique to help you to rid the mind of distractions, release tension, and allow you to follow the audible inhalations and exhalations into the deep rest of sleep.
Practice & Guidance
Focusing on the breath — and nothing else — is not an easy task. Your mind may be prone to drift off into thought and that’s okay. Forgive yourself and bring the mind back to the breath. Learning and mastering the art of pranayama takes patience and guidance; even with the simplest of techniques, like Ujjayi breath, it can help to have a mentor that has been practicing yoga for years. Find a local studio or teacher that you enjoy working with and ask them to elaborate on the art of pranayama. If you’d like to dive even deeper into the study, give yourself an immersive yoga experience at a group or private retreat.
The Final Result
The Ujjayi breath is versatile and isn’t simply reserved for the time on the mat. If life is throwing too much at you all at once, remember to take a break and incorporate the Ujjayi breath. By consistently practicing the art of this pranayama, you will gain a better perspective of your everyday stresses and emotions. You will be more calm and relaxed, fully enjoying your day and the people you share it with.