In this 2 part video blog post I we are exploring a breathing technique called Ujjayi breath. Use the tutorial video to learn the technique and you can use the shorter practise video to deepen your own practise.
Ujjayi Breath, also know as whisper breathing or ocean breath is a type of yogic breathing. You might have come across it in your regular yoga class.
It’s is a type of breathing that creates a small tension in the back of the throat, this alight tensing in the throat, does two things, it creates the whisper noise, that you can hear on both the in and out breath, or also slows the passage of breath down.
Ujjayi breath has been seen in studies to lower cortisol, one of our stress hormones incredibly quickly. This hormone is released when we feel stressed, anxious or we experience panic. Practising this type of breathing regularly helps the nervous system to learn to settle more quickly. The more we engage the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system, done by engaging in slow deep breaths, we strengthen this system.
The parasympathetic part of our nervous system is the part that helps us to retune to feeling calm and safe after feeling stressed, anxious or experiencing panic. When we exercise the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagal nerve that runs through it, we are strengthening our ability to come back to a place of rest after stress and anxiety more quickly and easily.
The sound on the Ujjayi breath is also very comforting. It can sound like the sea, like a gentle wind in the trees. It can help in times of distress anxiety and panic, when we need to help our bodies and minds to find some calm.
It can be used when we feel distressed and anxious, as well as a regular tone up for our vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system.