The Respiratory System – Ujayi breathing

My first class co-instructor once told me: The mind is like a monkey. It jumps from thought to thought. In yoga practice, this is not good because your mind gets drifted away. As far as I understand, Dristi is one way to keep the focus intact. Another way would be through Ujayi Breathing.

Ujayi breathing is created by regulating the airflow through the glottis. The constriction of the air passage results in the ocean-like sound. By consciously controlling this glottis and breathing, the mind is kept focused. I like the way my co-instructor taught the class to learn the sound simply by fogging up your own hand and then repeat with the mouth close. What a great idea!

Just when I thought the sound is the main function of Ujayi breathing, KY announced that the books, which she took the initiative to mass-ordered for many of us, has arrived. Flipping through that Muscles by Long book did I saw that there is actually more to Ujayi breathing!

Ujayi breathing has another name, which is also know as the “Breath of Fire”. Other than sounding like fire, Ujayi breathing actually increases the heat transfer from muscosal lining along the pharynx and nasal passages to the air, raising air temperature above normal.

Breathing is continuous subconsciously and if you were to think about it, you might just realized that the normal breath is actually quite faint, unless you are doing a heavy exercise. By engaging ujayi breathing, the breath does actually becomes deeper than usual, which is why it is not JUST sounds. It is a good pranayama that invigorates the body though deeper breath, yet calm the mind (and stop it from jumping from scene to scene). I guess this is probably why it is also recommended for people with headaches.

Just a thought for the day.

Huang Weiling

P.S. Finally done with 4 posts! (woohoo!)

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