My Yoga Journey
I remember when I use to practice so much yoga my body would never physically be sore, I started to wonder what I was really getting out of it. My early practice years were over 10 years ago now, and I love reflecting on how its evolved and changed. There’s been many breaks from my physical practice but I like to think the yogic practice is always there, I value so much about the teachings and learnings I’ve received from various teachers over the years.
After having my son Vincent, actually the week he was born I can recall being in the NICU with my legs up the wall (major swelling from pregnancy and labour) but I remember moving my body in ways that I’ve learned through yoga going WOW I’m not pregnant any more, I can actually twist my spine and move in the ways that were once so comforting. With the complicated times Vincent had as a baby I still practiced often, especially because he slept a lot…yay hypotonia/epilepsy life. But, then I started to get vertigo, often coinciding when I’d practice…which really upset me. I’ve practiced for all these years, the one thing that makes me feel like myself is now turning on me? I remember taking a break…physically. The practice changed, I was an exhausted mom navigating the special needs mom life. I started to find different ways to use my practice, it just came naturally, driven by my breath. Vincent would wake in the night seizure activity and while I couldn’t stop the clustering spasms I would hold him against my chest and deepen my breath, it would sometimes naturally sync to his once the spasms went away. This would calm me and I hoped him…these were some of the longest, hardest nights I’ve ever had and it has only been in recent months that his seizure are the most controlled than they ever have been. I feel like I’ll jinx it by saying it, but he doesn’t wake in the night from seizure activity anymore and I am so very grateful for that. The anxiety I had through those nights were so hard on my nervous system and my mama heart.
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, you can naturally calm your nervous system by finding your breath.
Finding your breath, the common practiced Ujjayi Breath (pronounced oo-jai).
Ujjayi Pranayama is an ancient yogic breathing technique that helps to synchronize breath with movement during yoga making the entire practice more rhythmic.
It’s also known as the ocean sounding breath, victorious or darth vader breath.
When practicing the ujjayi breath there is a gentle constriction at the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air.
I welcome you to find your breath, drawing awareness to its current state. No matter where you are in space or time, this subtle awareness can be made.
To practice the ujjayi breath, begin to take slow, controlled inhales and exhales, maybe counting to 5, 8 or 10 matching the exhales to the inhales.
There are many benefits to this breathing technique, once you begin to calm the mind, the central nervous system is soothed. You can improve your sleep quality, lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. You can naturally begin to build internal heat and improve longevity.