Your YOLY challenge this week is to incorporate a simple form of pranayama or breath control into your daily practice. The technique is called Ujjayi Breathing.
On YOLY Week #1, I challenged you to take 5 minutes each day to just breathe. If you took this first step, you had the chance to follow your breath and become more aware of the quality of your breathing. In pranayama practice, it is important to get to know your breath before you start manipulating it.
Ujjayi Breathing can be described as a slight deepening of the normal breath. It is best done from a supine or seated position in which your body is nicely aligned. Allow your belly to remain soft and close your eyes.
As you inhale, visualize the stream of your breath entering the nose and moving along the upper palate to the back of the throat. It will feel as though you are drinking your breath. Allow the exhalations to return along the same path.
In the beginning, it may be helpful to open your mouth slightly. Ujjayi is sometimes characterized by a sound that is similar to that of a scuba diver or Darth Vader.
As with any form of pranayama, begin with a few rounds and rest in between. If, at anytime, you feel anxious or agitated, return to your normal breath. Take no more than 5 minutes per day to practice your ujjayi this week.
Enjoy and let the life force be with you!