Wanna be Darth Vadar? Well, I'm sorry, but I can't help you. I can, however, help you sound a little more like him! Today, I'm going to teach you the Ujjayi Pranayama. This is a pranayama or a breathing technique.
First, I'm going to start out with showing you around, what I call, the Power Pack or Breathing Apparatus. This special apparatus that you have is located between the hips and collar bones and it wraps equally, around your vertical (watch "Seated Pose" on my YouTube channel "Beyond with Elizabeth" for more info. on the vertical). Imagine that this space is a semi hard but flexible barrel and your legs and arms dangle off of that barrel and the head sits directly on top. To really feel this great big space in your body I will teach you a breath that is related to or sometimes called the:
3-part breath or Dirga Pranayama
1. Either find a comfortable vertical position (see my YouTube channel) or lay down on a firm surface like the floor.
2. Place your hands on your belly or just "be with" your belly.
3. Inhale through your nose and expand out through your belly.
4. Exhale through your nose drawing the belly back toward your spine, pressing the breath out.
5. Repeat steps 4 & 5 at least 3 times.
6. Now take you hands up to the sides of the ribs or just "be with" that part by bringing your imagination down to the ribs.
7. Inhale through your nose and expand the ribs out to the sides.
8. Exhale through the nose and draw the ribs back to the vertical line toward one another.
9. Repeat steps 8 & 9 at least 3 times.
10. Now do the same inhale and exhale into your heart center. This breath is probably more familiar to you. Be sure to exhale bringing the heart center back to the vertical line but not down.
11. Now bring a gentle wave of breath into the belly, ribs and chest.
12. Exhale in that same order belly, ribs, chest.
13. Gently repeat at least 3 times. Inhale belly, ribs, chest. Exhale belly, ribs, chest.
Exhale Ujjayi Breath-(or Ocean breath or Darth Vadar breath)
1. Inhale a gentle wave of breath, belly, ribs, chest.
2. Exhale belly, ribs, chest with your mouth open like you're fogging up a mirror.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 at least 3 times.
4. On the fourth exhale keep your mouth closed but still try to fog up the mirror.
Can you hear your inner ocean? Or if you prefer... your inner Darth Vadar?
I like the comparison to the ocean because after all we are composed of mostly water. I also like this comparison because after a pranayama session (breathing techniques) I sit still and my body breathes on it's own and I feel like I'm swimming, swimming in my inner waters. A developed and regular pranayama practice is wonderful! I'm hoping to do a lot more of this in my blog and my YouTube channel so, stay tuned!
Remember to live life like it's really long because sometimes, it is!
love (and I really do mean that!),
Your Yoga Teacher
PS- If you noticed I said "Exhale Ujjayi" and are wondering where the "Inhale Ujjayi" is then you win bonus points! You can also try the Ujjayi on the inhale. It's like you're sucking air through a straw in the back of your throat and it makes more of a hissing sound. Try it, you never know what will happen!