In class we have always talked about the benefits of the Ujjayi breath. These days those benefits are coming in handy in our everyday lives due to heightened anxiety and stress levels. Below is an article that talks about using the breath while wearing a mask. Below are deeper examples of the influence of this yogic breath.
1. Improves concentration in the physical practice. It links breath to movement and helps focus the mind and keeps your awareness on the present moment; becoming absorbed in Ujjayi allows the practitioner to remain in poses for longer periods of time
2. Instills endurance and builds energy that enhances a flowing practice by lending a meditative quality that maintains the rhythm of the class.
3. Stimulates Nadis (energy channels in the body) bringing mental clarity and focus. It diminishes distractions and allows the practitioner to remain self aware and grounded in the practice.
4. Ujjayi breath regulates heating of the body. The friction of the air passing through the lungs and throat generates internal body heat. It is similar to a massage for the internal organs; as the core becomes warm from the inside, the body becomes prepared for the asana practice. This heat makes stretching safer while the inner organs can be cleansed of any toxins that have accumulated.
5. A focused Ujjayi breath can release tension and tight areas of the body and encourages free flow of prana
6. Ujjayi balances the Cardio-respiratory System helping to carry oxygen to your muscles and organs and removing waste. It promotes diminished pain from headaches, relief of sinus pressure, decrease in phlegm, and strengthening of the nervous and digestive systems. Ujjayi Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and regulates blood pressure.
7. Ujjayi tells us when we need to surrender into a resting posture, as the breath should remain as even and smooth in the postures as when we rest. It allows us to practice honesty in our practice, taking a step back to let go of our ego. When listened to, your breath can be your true teacher, guiding you in a myriad of ways. The ancient yogis realized the intimate connection between the breath and the mind.
8. Ujjayi allows us to practice full deep breaths during the challenges of a physical practice. Therefore, we can stay just as equanimous when faced with the challenges of our daily lives.