Bali Blog / Ujjayi

Bali, Breath and The Ocean.

Chakra mist sea salt and aloe (heart chakra and the sea)

Ujjayi

 

I didn’t plan on waking up at 5am everyday in Bali during my yoga teacher training.   Morning practice began at 7, and my “commute” to the yoga shala took less than 30 seconds.  I could’ve slept in a bit, but the jet lag, insomnia, a twin bed, and anxiety all played a part in my early rising.  Whether an alarm was set or not, I woke up at 5, everyday, and walked the beach by myself.


At 5am on a March morning in Bali, the sun isn’t necessarily out yet, so I would sit on the steps of the yoga shala, sip my tea (a.k.a hot water and lemon electrolyte powder) and practice breathing until the sun began to peek out.  Sama Vritti Pranayama (equal fluctuation breathing in Sanskrit,) is balanced breath.  Inhale for a 4 count, hold the breath for 4, exhale for 4, hold the breath out for 4, repeat.  The space between the inhale and exhale is called Kumbhaka (Sanskrit).  If the mind starts to drift, as it inevitably will, without overreaction or judgement you return to the feeling of the breath, and come back to the count.   


The tide was low in the mornings.  The sand still reflected the blue night sky.  Oreo, the sweetest beach dog one could ever meet, would greet me every morning as soon as I stepped foot onto the sand.  She would just appear out of nowhere, run up and give me a little cold nose tap to my leg to say good morning. She’d sit there for a belly rub or two, and then scattered off to hunt for a breakfast of sand crabs.  


As the sun rose and the night sky faded into the morning, the waves strengthened with a balanced consistency.  The aquamarine waves crashed onto the beach, louder and stronger with each passing minute. I’d feel the wave pushing me back towards the shore, and then a slight pause as the water spread out and disappeared into the sand.  The pull of the tide dragging itself back into the ocean pulled on my feet, and yet again another pause returned as the shore would again settle before the next wave came in.


Every morning it felt as if the ocean was reinforcing the lesson of the breathing exercise, Sama Vritti and the Kumbhaka.  The tide came in as if on an inhale. The waves settled and paused. The tide pressed back out the sea as if on an exhale. The beach settled, and the process repeated.


One of the main practices in yoga is lengthening of the breath.  By respecting the Kumbhaka, you lengthen the space between the breath.  Some yoga texts refer to this space between the inhale and exhale not only as Kumbhaka, but as the best definition we have for describing the present moment.  


Ujjayi’s Chakra Mist with Sea Salt and Aloe is inspired by the Kumbhaka, the space between the breath.  Whether you use it as body mist before yoga class or post workout, Chakra Mist helps inspire us to take that pause throughout the day.  Not only to feel the breath, but also to feel the space created by the breath.

 

Deacon Yoga

Deacon Conroy
Yoga Teacher & Ujjayi Consultant

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