Sunday, December 13, 2009

15 Minute Yoga Snack: Ujjayi Breathing

Ujjayi , which translates as victorious, breathing is a balancing breath that is both energizing and relaxing. It is a diaphragmatic breath, which first fills the lower belly, rises to the lower rib cage, and finally moves into the upper chest and throat. The oceanic like sound-comparable to waves rolling in and out- is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. As the throat passage is narrowed so, too, is the airway, which then creates a "rushing" sound. Because the diaphragm is controlling the length and speed of the breath, it is becoming stronger which is, in part, the purpose of ujjayi.

We started today's 15-Minute Yoga Snack (15MYS) in Virasana (Hero's Pose), our knees out wide, sitting on our feet. We took 3 large Balloon Breaths, filling our bellies, by breathing in first with the nose, and then releasing our bellies by breathing out through the nose. We set our intentions: to feel energized and revived, ready to concentrate on our studies.

We leaned forward into Balasana (Child's Pose) and rested for a few breaths.

We sat up into Easy Pose and did Bumpy Camel, Washing Machine & Dryer. From there did a rousing round of Frog Push-Ups. We ended with a low squat, pressing our thighs open with the backs of our arms and then everyone practised Crow Pose-I was so impressed with the kids focus and determination to try to balance and also with how many kids could actually balance the pose.

We then lay on our backs and took i some relaxing cleansing breaths. Carefully, we did 1/2 Ardha Sarvangasana (1/2 Shoulder Stand)-which is the queen of all poses. Everyone was very energized and happy after that.

We ended class with Sa-Ta-Na-Ma meditation (4x out loud, 4x whisper, 4x in head, 4x whisper, 4x out loud).


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