The thing you will hear every person who teaches or practices yoga say is that yoga starts with your breath. If you are able to control your breath while your heart rate is highly elevated during your practice you will then learn how to do yoga breathing in your everyday life to breathe through any situation that may be thrown at you. Yes, there is an intense physical aspect of your practice that increases your heart rate and naturally causes you to breathe heavier, but when you are able to really control your breath you will find that, even though you might be sweating profusely and your heart rate is through the roof, your mind is calm and your controlled breath is guiding you through the physicality of your practice.
Finding Your Victorious Breath
There are many different forms of breathing that can be done in yoga but the breath technique that is most commonly used during many types of yoga practice is the ujjayi or “victorious” breath.
The ujjayi breath is done with your mouth closed while breathing deeply through your nostrils. As you inhale, slightly constrict the back of your throat so you hear your breath rushing through the narrowed airway. Continue your exhale the same way as your inhale, eventually arriving at a natural rhythm between your inhales and exhales.
The best way to describe the way the ujjayi breath should sound is ocean waves rushing and crashing on the shore of a beach as you breathe in and out.
Since the ujjayi breath is popular when doing asana practice – the physical yoga postures like the ones found in Vinyasa Yoga – your muscles and mind become relaxed allowing you to get deeper into poses than you ever thought was possible. However, being able to go deeper into poses may bring about resistance in your body causing discomfort as you stretch.
Focusing on your ujjayi breath will guide you through the discomfort so you can really start to affect positive change in your body.
A Less Stressful Life
Since my body has become accustomed to doing yoga breathing while my heart rate is elevated during my practice, it naturally switches to yoga breathing when something causes my heart rate to rise in my everyday life.
One of the amazing benefits from practicing yoga that transfers to my real, everyday life is being able to deescalate a stressful situation so I can think clearer and make more rational decisions.
When you really start to focus on ujjayi breathing during your practice you too will soon see the benefits in your everyday life. Once you are able to approach any stressful situation that causes your heart rate to rise – such as a bad driver or an argument with a significant other – with calm, focused breath, you will find that your heart rate will begin to slow and you be able deal with any situation with a clear mind.
Not only is the ujjayi breath great at decreasing your heart rate in stressful situations, it also increases your energy levels by raising the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your increased energy levels and ability to handle any stressful situation with a calm, level mind will give you the confidence to continue working towards living a more happier and healthier life.
By adding yoga breathing to your life you are on your way to knowing what it’s like to be able to take a step back and think about how you want to react when presented with something that makes you anxious or stresses you out. Each day you stick with your practice and breath you become stronger both physically and mentally allowing you to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.
How has using yoga breathing in your everyday life helped you?
Stick With It!