A yoga breathing exercise that helps one to conquer oneself is Ujjayi pranayama, also known as Conqueror’s or Ocean’s breath. Practising this technique will encourage focus and improve positivity. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety in challenging situations
How to practise Ujjayi pranayama:
1. Sit in a comfortable position with your back strong and upright. Keep the spine straight. Your shoulders and face should be relaxed. Your eyes can be open or closed, whichever feels easiest.
2. Be quiet for a moment, breathing at your regular pace. Allow your body and mind to relax.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nose. As you exhale, round your mouth and flow the breath up along the throat and out through the mouth – just as you would to fog up a mirror or make a ‘HA’ sound.
4. Practise this breath flow for a couple of minutes and concentrate on feeling how the air travels through the throat and out through the mouth.
5. Once you’re comfortable with this flow of breath, you’re ready to do Ujjayi breathing. Close your mouth and repeat the breath flow described above, but this time when you come to exhale, do so through the nose. On the exhalation, you will observe a gentle ocean sound as the breath flows up along the curved back of the throat.
6. Try to keep the breathing ratio as one second on the inhalation and two seconds on the exhalation (1:2). For beginners, it’s best to limit your practice of the Ujjayi breath-flow technique to no longer than five minutes. As you slowly gain more experience of Ujjayi breathing, you can extend the length of your practice.
7. Observe how your mind and body feels afterwards.
8. Now, whenever you find yourself in a situation when you’re feeling anxious and stressed, instead of letting it get the better of you, practise some Ujjayi breathing.
As with all physical activities, please do not attempt the breathing exercise if you have any medical or physical conditions that may be aggravated. If in doubt, always talk to your doctor first. Younger children should always be supervised.
Words: Dawattie Basdeo – follow @magnificentmemagnificentyou on Instagram or visit magnificentmemagnificentyou.com.