Do you know what ujjayi breathing is? It is, of course, much more complicated than just breathing in and out (and my yogini friend Monica has a fascinating breakdown of deep breathing techniques in yoga, including a note that ujjayi breathing is not always considered the best to use during postures, which I had not realized!) but a simple definition is that it is a balancing and calming breath that we often use during our yoga practice.
Breathe in through your nose. And out through your nose.
That’s a mantra all on its own, and the suggestion itself has an ebb and flow that I find especially appropriate given the fact that ujjayi breathing is also known as “the ocean breath.” I’ve never found it a particularly natural thing to do, but the more I practice yoga, the more I find myself being centered by the work of warming up my insides, of steadying my heart, and of honing my focus. I’m always glad when I take a moment to really set myself up for a successful practice.
(I also meditate as much as possible, using many tools but often turning to Bex for her meditation exercises. I know it seems super hippie dippie but when I started doing self-hypnosis to prepare for childbirth, it all kind of clicked.)
It must be sinking in, because recently, I was facing one of THOSE days. The one where you have 10 hours of work and five hours to do it. The one where meetings bleed into meetings and to-do lists wrap to a second page and you have to work out and get your kid and make dinner and do the laundry and order toilet paper and find your missing shoe and…
…and I realized that I was creating a calm in my self-made storm.
I keep catching myself practicing ujjayi breathing at work — it’s my stress-relieving technique, but I didn’t realize I was stressed. #yoga
— Katy Widrick (@kwidrick) April 7, 2014
My subconscious created the peace that I apparently needed to put all of my stress in perspective. And that is pretty freaking amazing.