Within months of my introduction to yoga, I was already using one yoga principle regularly off the mat... Ujiai breathing. While I practice, Ujiai helps me focus and direct my energy to meditate in movement, to make it through a difficult practice and to assure that I don't just hold my breath and pass out (hah).
Interestingly enough, that audible breathing technique (like fogging up a mirror, but with your mouth closed) can be useful in other difficult, painful and/or scary situations. Such as waxing, needles, roller coasters and getting blood work done.
Today was a blood work day. The last time was four years ago, where I also used Ujiai breathing so I wouldn't vomit and/or pass out in front of the seniors. Thankfully, as it did then, it was also successful today (that and Andrew was there to hold my hand).
Interestingly enough, other types of breath constriction combined with speaking- like whispering, where your vocal folds (cords), are brought together close enough to vibrate while allowing air to scrape past, can be harmful to these precious communication musical instruments in your throat. Whispering is bad for your vocal cords- don't do it.
Thankfully we don't use Ujiai breath all day, otherwise it would also become damaging to our precious vocal folds. (Yoga instructors out there: please don't model Ujiai breath during your classes, combined with your "yoga teaching" voice, it's most likely damaging!).
So, my first off the mat yoga practice has helped me get through various scary and painful situations. Thank you Ujiai breath.
What was your first Yoga off the mat moment?
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