The sunlight danced off the ocean this am and the glorious breeze made it a perfect day for our weekly yoga class. I was energized the second I could see the sea, and I knew right away meditation was gonna be a huge part of our lesson.
Today we focused on the topic of service.
Service to Self…it is often a challenge to focus positively on yourself?!
Some people are naturals at it…others feel unworthy or self indulgent?! doing so. Valuing yourself enough to practice self service is crucial to having a less stressful world.
In yoga practice this means listening to what your physical body needs and can handle. This means embracing where you are in your yoga journey and speaking kindly to yourself. This means finding a place for meditation in your practice.
Today I invited my students to make their entire practice meditative…using a calm mind to listen to their individual physical needs. It was a beautiful practice watching each student…Flowing through sun salutes at their own pace, moving to the level in each asana that served them best, and inviting them to use their breath to find the ease in each subtle change.
We closed our hour of bliss with Ocean Breath or Ujjayi Pranayama.
This breath is known as: Hissing Breath, Victorious Breath, I like to refer to it as the ultimate sigh of relief.
It has numerous benefits: It helps directs the breath, giving an asana practice extra power and focus, it allows the release of tension in the muscles and the mind, it connects us to the universal vibrations around us.
How to: Via About Yoga
1. Inhale and exhale deeply through the mouth.
2. On the exhales, begin to tone the back of the throat, slightly constricting the passage of air. Imagine that you are fogging up a pair of glasses.
3. Once you are comfortable with the exhale, begin to apply the same toning of the throat to the inhales. This is where the name of the breath comes from: it sounds like the ocean. (It also sounds like Darth Vadar.)
4. When you are able to control the throat on both the inhale and the exhale, close the mouth and begin breathing through the nose. Continue applying the same toning to the throat that you did when the mouth was open. The breath will still make a loud noise coming in and out of the nose. This is Ujjayi breath.
Today as you practice if you need a little something extra while holding a pose, remember this breath can replace deep yoga breath in the flow of asanas.