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How Yoga Breathing Can Transform Your Practice and Your Life

Learn how anxiety can impact breathing and circulation and try victorious breath (ujjayi pranayama) in a yoga flow to deepen poses and reduce stress.



Have you ever been in the middle of trying a challenging yoga pose, taking a test or reading a disappointing email and noticed you were breathing rapidly or holding your breath?


In college, I woke up one morning with numbness and tingling in my hands. I was suffering from anxiety and breathing quickly, which limited the amount of oxygen going to my body. When the body is stressed physically or mentally, breathing can become shallow, fast and irregular. I began practicing yoga a few times a week, where I learned new breathing techniques. Over time, I began to apply these methods off the yoga mat to stay calm, grounded and focused throughout the day.


On average, we will take 6 million breaths in our lifetime. Although breathing is an automatic function of the respiratory system, conscious breathing can help improve blood flow, increase concentration, relieve stress and settle the nervous system.


In my hatha and vinyasa yoga classes, I encourage students to try victorious breath (ujjayi pranayama) as we integrate movement into the practice. Ujjayi breath involves sealing your lips and inhaling and exhaling fully through your nose, making an oceanic or light whisper sound in the back of your throat. It helps to build heat, maintain a steady flow of breath, link breath to movement, deepen postures and release tension.


Are you ready to give it a try? I put together a short vinyasa sequence so you can practice ujjayi breath. Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising.



I hope this practice helps you connect to your body and relax. If you found the video helpful, share it with your community and subscribe to my YouTube channel to learn more tips and try new yoga poses.


With gratitude,

Shannon

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