Take a moment. Inhale Deeply. Exhale Slowly. This, a single moment of focused attention to the life flowing inside of you, is yoga. Awareness to the breath, or prana, is what distinguishes yoga from other physical activities. Prana, a sanskrit word, meaning “life force energy” is the energy that sustains all of life, and is the very essence of what the soul is.
In yoga, we turn inward, and explore the connection between the breath, our vital life force, and the mind to find clarity. We take this attention to the breath a step further and work to control our inhales and exhales with the Ujjayi breathing technique. Ujjayi, also known as victorious breath, is a large breath in through the nose to expand the lungs and infuse them with fresh oxygen; and a calm release of the breath through the nose with the mouth closed and a gentle constriction in the throat. This type of breath maximizes the amount of air intake to support the flow of oxygen though our blood and throughout our entire bodies. Ujjayi Breathing generates a natural body heat which enters our body through the lungs and acts like internal massage for the other organs. The breath helps to clear toxins from the body by replacing them with fresh oxygen to clean and nourish our bloodstream
This practice of victorious breath, can impact your life outside of yoga in wonderful ways. The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is incredibly helpful to calm nerves, and settle agitation or stress. As we center our conscience awareness with the rhythm and flow of the body, we are in a better position to notice any heavy thoughts or emotions that may be weighing us down. We can then purposefully respond, instead of carelessly react, to the events in our everyday lives. And, while we may never be able to fully control our ever changing external circumstances; this sacred moment of pause reminds us that we always…always have the power to stand in a place of peace and DECIDE what it is we want and who it is we want to be.