The pranayama technique known as Ujjayi can help settle your mind and body when you are feeling irritated, frustrated, or overheated. Although the origins of the word are unclear, one interpretation is "leading to success." This breath allows you to stay focused without generating unnecessary mental friction. Ujjayi creates a cooling influence at the back of the throat and has a balancing effect on the cardiorespiratory system.
To perform Ujjayi breath, take a slightly deeper than normal inhalation. On the exhalation, slightly constrict your throat muscles so as you breathe out it sounds as if you are snoring. The outflow of your breath is through your nose with your mouth closed. The result should be that you sound like Darth Vader from Star Wars.
Another way to get the hang of this practice is to first exhale the sound "haaah" with your mouth open. Now make a similar sound with your mouth closed, directing the outflow of air through your nasal passages. This should result in the desired breathy snoring sound. Once you have mastered it on the outflow, perform the same procedure on inflow, gently constricting your throat as you inhale.
Try shifting into Ujjayi breath whenever you find yourself becoming aggravated or upset, and you will notice a prompt soothing influence. Ujjayi is said to have a calming effect on the body while it helps the mind to focus. We recommend using Ujjayi while performing your yoga poses to help you stay focused as you move from one posture to the next.
Ujjayi can also be a useful tool during aerobic exercise.
Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to enhance respiratory efficiency. Try using Ujjayi while performing your cardiovascular workout and see if practicing this breath technique reduces wear and tear on your body.
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