I WANTED to say something about my favourite ancient yogic breathing technique, Ocean Breath, sometimes also known as Ujjayi breath, or Breath Of Fire. A major part of effective yoga practice is Pranayama — control of the breath. Prana means life force, ayama means to regulate or lengthen. Do your yoga without effective breathing and it will still be a great workout — incorporate correct breathing and your physical and mental benefits will be intensified.
Ocean breath is easy — just take a slow, deep breath through the nose and exhale violently, also through the nose, making a deep, throaty noise. You’ll sound like a gorilla who’s being throttled. I like to breathe normally while moving through asanas and focus on Ocean Breath when I’m holding poses.
If you’re tense or worried, Ocean Breath will calm you. It balances the entire cardiorespiratory system. It will give your practice a meditative quality — it’s hard to think about your to-do list or that difficult colleague when you’re concentrating on getting your breath just right.
Physically, Ocean Breath will give you great benefits. It heats up the core, so making it safer and easier to stretch. It’s like a massage for your internal organs which will also release physical tension and detoxify the system.
When you’re holding your poses and doing your Ocean Breath, visualise your breath and use it like a meditation — imagine it swirling through your body, reaching the tips of your fingers and the tips of your toes. I guarantee that this will make you feel amazing! Happy breathing, yogis!