Every one of us has a tendency to get stressed or anxious; it is a part of human nature. A little bit of stress can actually be a great thing, but as humans we are usually inclined to over-indulge our emotions, even the nasty ones. However, appeasing one’s nerves can prove to be an arduous task. What I have found with my recent exploration of yoga, which I’m enrolled in at school as a gym credit, is that the “ocean breath” that yogis use when meditating and going through the motions of many of their moves is actually quite relaxing.
For example, I have struggled with being able to sleep on a normal schedule for a long time. I will stay up too late listening to music or watching television and those lyrics and story arcs plague my subconscious as I try to fall asleep. Recently, though, I started using Ujjahi breath – the formal term for “ocean breath”- to help focus myself and tire my mind late at night.
Ujjahi breath has been a staple in many forms of meditation and even in yogic positions of movement to help focus oneself on the task at hand. The reason it is nicknamed “ocean breath” is because the sound made when performing it resembles the sound of the crashing ocean waves. When practicing Ujjahi breath, inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose, and as the air passageway narrows and air moves the glottis, a rushing sound is created. There is no specific amount of time you are supposed to breathe for – leave that up to how much your diaphragm can take in and let out. However, try to make sure that your inhalations and exhalations are as equal in length as possible.
Ujjahi breath enables practitioners to maintain a set bodily rhythm, take in enough oxygen, as well as build up energy, and stay self-aware and grounded in yogic practices and in everyday life. So, if you feel as though you are struggling with keeping your cool, try this breath and hopefully begin to understand your body’s natural rhythms and needs.