Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Archive for the ‘Yoga/PiYo/Pilates’ Category

Four Tattvas For Yin Yoga Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 2019

I’ve been preaching about the four principles of a Yin Yoga practice. The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga calls them tattvas and it lists three.  Tattva is Sanskrit and it is said to mean truth or principle. Some say it stands for “thatness” or reality. So we could say that these are four intentions or goals of a Yin Yoga practice.

1) Come into the pose at the appropriate depth.

I was actually taught to come into a pose about 80% of what I can do or could do. So, first of all, there is a difference between what you can do in a 30 second hold and what you can do in a three to five minute hold. Start in a pose at 80% of what you can do and hold. Then see how it goes. There is always time to go further into the pose. Often time there is “sinking” or “relaxing” into a pose and if you started out at that 100% mark there would be no room to sink and relax. So starting out at about 80% gives you room to lengthen into it.

2) Resolve to be still.

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3) Hold for a time.

Since the tissue we are working with is not elastic and it really won’t stretch in the same way a muscle can be stretched it needs time to change and “lengthen”. Again, most of that sinking from relaxation doesn’t even come until after the one minute mark so the longer you can hold the more time the tissue will have to change.

4) Play your edge.

This comes after the “appropriate depth” idea. Once you have come into a pose at the 80% of what you can do, you want to push the boundary. That does not mean push into a pose that just means allow your body to sink into or relax into it until you are sure you can’t go any more. That doesn’t even mean go to you 100%, necessarily, it could . . . but it just depends. Remember every time we come to the mat it is different. There are days that we know we shouldn’t be doing what we consider to our 100% and then there are days that we are convinced we can do 110%. So that edge, that 100% is constantly changing and we can play that edge every time. That is where we affect the change.

So these are four principles that I learned that should be applied every time we come to the mat for a Yin Yoga Practice.  Starting at 80% will allow us space to sink/relax and give the body a change to lengthen.  Staying still will allow the Qi to flow.  Holding the pose give our bodies the time it needs for us to sink/relax and the Qi to flow.  And playing that edge ensures we will allow for change.

Do you have any tattvas you bring to you mat when doing Yin Yoga? 

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Rhythmic Breathing Health Helper

Posted by terrepruitt on September 11, 2019

I’ve written several posts about pranayama, the fourth limb of yoga, the practice or control (yama) of life force (prana), basically breathing techniques or exercises. I’ve posted about Dirgha or 3 Part Breath, Samavrtti or Equal Breath, Ujjayi or Victorious Breath/Ocean Breath, and Sitali or Cooling Breath. In those posts I have mentioned that I believe that all of us are familiar with the idea that you can take a breath to calm down or to slow down. I believe that most of us understand that a breath can do those things. Well, I am thinking there are other studies and papers out there that talk about how breath can help with physical changes, but I recently made note of very small study done in 2001 by a group of professors and physicians in Italy. Their report concluded that “Rhythm formulas that involve breathing at six breaths per minute induce favourable psychological and possibly physiological effects.”

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The report mentions reciting Ave Maria in Latin, yoga chants, or the rosary. These recitations caused a rhythmic breathing that equaled six breaths per minute. And 10 second breaths or six breaths per minute were the key to a consistent heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity.

A consistent heart rate variability can be a sign of good health as could baroreflex sensitivity. The heart rate variability/HRV is “a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat”1. The baroreflex is “(or baroreceptor reflex) is one of the body’s homeostatic mechanisms that helps to maintain blood pressure at nearly constant levels.”2

So, this is just another small confirmation that pranayamas can help counter the stress we all face every day.  The specific type of breathing that is consistent and rhythmic allowing for a ten second/6-breath-per-minute breath.  You could do a 4-1-4-1 Samavrtti type of pranayama, where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 1, exhale for 4, and hold for one.  That would total 10 seconds.  Or you could do that same type of count with the Ujjayi breath.

The report just acts as a guide to possibly help one decide on a length of breath.  Just another tool to help us in our yoga practice or our daily lives.

Do you ever find yourself taking a calming breath?  Do you ever use breathing techniques?  Is pranayama part of your yoga practice?

1-https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-rate-variability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789

2-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroreflex

 

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Twelve Principal Sinew Meridians

Posted by terrepruitt on September 4, 2019

I was looking over my Yin Yoga posts recently and I see that in my first one I mention that my training focused on the twelve principal sinew meridians. In subsequent post I split up the sinew meridians into categories: legs, arms, yin, yang, I even describe their points of origination or jing well points, but I never list them all in one post. To briefly clarify, the sinew meridians are different from the primary meridians as they are along the periphery or surface of the body. They are not as deep as the primary meridians and they are more of an area instead of an “exact” channel, so they are more easily targeted by Yin Yoga. They are not necessarily used for acupuncture because with acupuncture there is need for more precision. I can’t speak for you, but I find myself wanting to see a list so that is what this post is.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin YogaThe Twelve Principal Sinew Meridians are:

Small Intestine (Yang)
Heart (Yin)
Triple Heater (Yang)
Pericardium (Yin)
Large Intestine (Yang)
Lung (Yin)

Bladder (Yang)
Gall Bladder (Yang)
Stomach (Yang)
Liver (Yin)
Spleen (Yin)
Kidney (Yin)

 

 

 

The first six are arm meridians and the last six are leg meridians.

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As I mentioned I have several posts regarding twelve principal sinew meridians:

Jing Well Points Of The Feet

Yin Leg Meridians

Yang Leg Meridians

Jing Well Points Of The Hands

Yin Arm Sinew Meridians

Yang Arm Sinew Meridians

I know it is possible to compile a list from my various posts, but it makes more sense to me to have a post with a list.

Have you had an opportunity to try Yin Yoga?

Posted in Yin Yoga, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Quick, Easy Asana Reference

Posted by terrepruitt on February 4, 2019

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDI believe I have written before about how yoga is somewhat confusing because the asana seem to have different names. I can go to look up an asana and a completely different asana will come up than the one I was thinking of because the names get all wonky. I used to get very frustrated with that, but now I understand that the Sanskrit language originally was just a verbal language. And we all know how that works . . . if you haven’t ever actually played “Telephone” you probably have at least heard how it goes. Where one person tells a story and it gets repeated down the line and then the last person says what they heard and more often than not – depending on how many people the story went through – it is not what it started out to be. Imagine that with a language. And then once they did start writing it down it probably got changed through that process. And THEN there is the process of translation. We know what happens there, right? Things get lost in translation. Well, I have a handful of yoga books and if you were to look at them you will see writing in every one noting what the “actual” name of the pose is. Which is really me just having picked one of the many names and deciding to use it. Not ALL poses have multiple names, but many do. Well, I mention all that because one of the books I have I thought of recently when one of my students asked about a book of poses.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDThis book came to mind first because I think of it as a simple book. I found it easy to find poses. I like that there are cartoon characters drawn, instead of pictures of people posing. I really like that there is a “Pose At A Glance” page in the back that is just stick figures. So when you want to quickly get the name of a pose you can just flip to that and then look at the reference and then you have it. I never actually used the book as it was intended or at least as one of the intended ways for it to be used.

The book is separated into seven categories (sexy, calm, energy, restore, cleanse, sanity, and ragtime) and has poses that can help with each category in that section. In the front of each section there is even three sequences that one can do to gain benefits to help with that specific category.

For example in the sexy category some of the poses are: Chair, Warrior II, Staff, revolved triangle, and Cow Face Pose. The sequences in the beginning of that section contain some of those poses. So you can pick some of your favorite poses from the sexy category section and do them or you can do one (or more) of the sequences in the front of the section.  Of course, the way to use the book is almost endless, just like any yoga book.

 

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDThe book is Yoga to the Rescue by Amy Luwis and was originally published in 2007. It is a cute book. Just like with any yoga book, the names of the poses might be different from what you learned and even some of the instructions might be different, too. But I think it is a nice little easy-to-follow-quick-to-get-you-started book. If you really get interested in yoga then you will end up wanting more than this book provides, but it is like a yoga-starter book.

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Shake And Roll For Poses To Do

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2018

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesThere are so many different ways to practice yoga. I like to try different things aside from taking classes. I have applications on my devices, I’ve moved along with Youtube videos, I have created my own routines, I have just done what comes to mind, and I have practiced other ways.  I recently purchased Yoga Dice. It is a fun way to do some poses. There are so many ways you can use the dice. Each dice has five poses and their related chakra on it. There are seven dice which you can just shake in the tub then roll out.

I have been rolling out all the dice and then arranging them in the order I want to do each pose. Then I do all the poses then roll them again.  I do this several times to end up with an hours worth of “routine.” When it lands on the chakra I just roll that dice again so it will be on a pose.

In addition to the poses on each dice being related to a chakra the poses are also split up into types of poses. So one dice is Sun Salutation Poses, one is standing poses, one is balancing poses, one is seated, one is forward bends, one is back bends, and one is core poses. So you could decide to just do one or two types of poses and only roll those dice.  You could also decide which dice to roll uses the chakra.

Really, there are so many ways to use the dice it is quite fun.  It is just another way to put together poses to get a yoga workout in, another way to practice.  I like to use the dice because then I don’t really have to think about what poses to do.  The way I have been doing it there is a little thinking as I need to arrange the dice that I have rolled into a sequence that makes sense for me, but you don’t even really have to do that if you want.

As I said, there are so many ways to practice yoga it is up to you if these dice would be something you would like to do.  I like it as it is just another way to practice.  I will probably end up posting again about how to use these dice because the possibilities just seem endless.

Can you imagine all the ways you can use this dice?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Knee Helper

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2018

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesThere are standing yoga poses, there are sitting yoga poses, there are reclined yoga poses, there are prone yoga poses, and there are some yoga poses that require the person to be on their knees. There are a lot of reasons being on one’s knees might be uncomfortable. Sometimes people just fold up their yoga mat to give them extra cushion under their knees. Some people have opted to bring in additional cushions and pads to put under their knees. Recently one of my students discovered this gardener’s knee cushion. She purchased it on sale at Orchard’s Supply. She bought it but wasn’t sure it would work, but then after she tried it, she told everyone else about it and they all came back the next week with one.

If not being comfortable on your knees keeps you from doing yoga, perhaps getting a gardener’s cushion could help. Now there is a different between “being uncomfortable” on your knees and “not be able to be” on your knees. I know there are knees out there that people are just not able to be on. If that is the case then a cushion is not going to help. This post and suggestion is just for the people with basically healthy knees that need a little cushion.

This cushion is a Laura Ashley cushion but I don’t see it on her website, but I bet there are other ones out there that are like this one. It is covered in neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made with) or something like it and it feels more comparable to a memory foam cushion then just foam or rubber. Some pads are made of form or cushion-y rubber, but this is different. So, if you are in the market for a cushion for your knees to use in yoga you might want to look into gardeners’ knee pad/cushion.  Then you can do yoga and your knees will thank you along with the rest of your body.

Do you like cushion under your knees during yoga?

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A Time For You To Relax

Posted by terrepruitt on August 6, 2018

It is funny how time is. It might seem like you just saw a friend a couple of months ago, but it turns out to be a year or two. You might think you just got your nails done – because they look good still, but it has been three weeks. You might think you just saw a movie, but it turns out it have been years. The same kind of thing bleeds into writing a blog, at least for me. Sometimes I think I want to write about a topic and I think, “I just wrote about that.” Then when I look it up it was years ago. Or the really funny ones to me are when I can’t even find that I posted about it at all! I have been wanting to write again about shavasana, but I was thinking I had just written a post about it. But it turns out I posted about it four years ago. That is so amazing to me because I can hear and see the person (the one I mentioned in the post) talking to me. Anyway, I wanted to say some additional things about shavasana.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesLet me alert you to the fact that if you come to my one of my classes, I always reserve time for shavasana. I like to start it at 10 minutes before the class ends. I like to give students about eight minutes. I consider shavasana a very important part of a class. I think of it as a sacred time. It is part of the yoga practice. It is part of the yoga routine. Just as much as all of the other poses, shavasana is about you, the student, and your body. Just like the prior portion of the class it could be the only time in my students’ day where they really are just doing something for themselves. There is nothing to be thinking of and no movement to be made. It is all about relaxation.

I feel it is very important to have this time in the day. Especially with the busy-ness of society. Just taking about 8 minutes to do nothing can help with so much.

Since I whole-heartedly consider this time to be sacred I ask anyone that has to leave before the class is over to leave before shavasana starts. The best way to go, if you have to leave, is to gather your stuff as quickly and quietly as you can and go. None of us mind putting away any props that were used (we only have chairs available) because the remaining students want to get on with their relaxation. When someone leaves – and there are times it is necessary – it kind of changes the atmosphere in the room so the sooner the departure the better so we can get back to the calm.

I usually talk for three to five minutes, slowly having the students focus on relaxation from toe to head. Then they just relax as the music plays. This is the time where the body is allowed to enjoy the sensation – even on an unconscious level – of the poses they just practiced. It allows the body time to adjust before it rushes back into the go-go-go. It is the same for the mind. Shavasana is time and space for the mind to rest. That doesn’t mean that thoughts won’t crop up, but it is the time where you are allowed to just give thoughts a nod and a little push, so they go away and you focus back on your body and your breath. This is the time when you can also take a break from emotions or just let them flow. Also a time when your spirit gets to rest and relax. No need to exercise anything but stillness.

I know it is so difficult for some people in the beginning, but just like with any practice it gets to be something one can do.  And just like all poses some days you may be “better” at it than others.  It is all great, because it is all part of the practice.  The important part – at least to me – is to not skip it.

What are your thoughts on shavasana?  Do you like it?  Do you not like it?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

More On Yin And Yang

Posted by terrepruitt on June 18, 2018

I posted a little bit about Yin and Yang for a Friday Photo because I received Yin And Yang Himalayan Salt candle holders. The candle holders are not black and white, but in many depictions of yin and yang it is in black and white. The black is the yin and the white is the yang. The candle holders do have circles in each section, but again it is not colored. With the black and white versions there is usually a white circle or dot in the black side and a black circle or dot in the white side. The circle or dot is the representation that there is always yang in yin and yin in yang.

In that post I quoted the Ancient History Encyclopedia, stating the information it had for both Yin and Yang. I am just adding to that. I am adding some of the additional adjectives I have learned that can be attributed to each. Some of the words are repeats of what is in the quote.

YIN:

“Yin is feminine, black, dark, north, water (transformation), passive, moon (weakness and the goddess Changxi), earth, cold, old, even numbers, valleys, poor, soft, and provides spirit to all things.”

Earth, water, cold, dense, moist, heavy, constricting, negative, soft, yielding, slow, female

In regards to Qi:

moves downward, passive, cooling, relates to bodily fluids, relates to the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), runs the inner side of body

In regards to organs:

Liver, pericardium, spleen, lungs, kidneys, heart

YANG:

“Yang is masculine, white, light, south, fire (creativity), active, sun (strength and the god Xihe), heaven, warm, young, odd numbers, mountains, rich, hard, and provides form to all things.”

Heaven, fire, warmth, space, dry, light, expansive, gaseous, gripping, contracting, positive, hard, aggressive, fast, male

In regards to Qi:

Moves upward, active, warming, protective, alert, relates to the muscles, relates to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), rises in the morning, runs the outer side of body

In regards to organs:

Gallbladder, small intestine, triple heater, stomach, large intestine, bladder

Interesting as the idea is that one cannot exist without the other.  Do you have any to add?

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How Long Have You Been Teaching Here?

Posted by terrepruitt on June 6, 2018

People often ask how long I have been teaching Nia and/or Yoga. Sometimes a student will ask how long I have been teaching the class. In order for me to remember I have to think about something I remember specifically for one class where the supervisor called me when I was in the hospital visiting my mom. Then I have to think of when that was and try to piece it together from there. I did send out some information over a year ago regarding the class facts. It was kind of in the form of a thank you for keeping the classes going. I decided to post the information so I will always have it on hand and I can point people towards it.

Terre’s Class Facts:

Nia at the Camden Community Center:  Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 am. Friday at 10:15 am.

The Tuesday Nia class started on September 4, 2012. It has always been at 9:00 am.

There was a Wednesday Nia class for a very short period of time in 2015.

The Thursday Nia class started on September 22, 2013. Originally it was at 8:30 am, then in November 2013 it was changed to 8:45 am. Then in February of 2015 it was changed to 9:00 am.

The Friday Nia class started in February of 2015. It has always been at 10:15 am. It follows a class that is at 9:00 am so that is why it starts at 10:15 am. The fifteen minutes in between classes is supposed to be for the out going class time to finish, clean up, and vacate the room AND allow us to come in and get ready.

 

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I started teaching the gentle yoga class at the Willow Glen Community Center on July 18, 2013. Originally I was asked to do it for one session. But then it turned into the next, and the next . . . This class is held at 6:00 pm. This class is part of the Leisure Class program, so students sign up for session. So sometimes there is a mandated break in between sessions. They do not allow for drop-ins at this center.

 

Gentle Yoga at the Cypress Community Center:  Tuesdays at 10:30 am.

I started teaching the gentle yoga class at the Cypress Community Center on February 25, 2014. The original time slot for this class was 10:00 am. But it was moved to 10:30 am so that I could get there from my Nia class at Camden. This class is also is part of the Leisure Class program, so students sign up for session. Sometimes there are breaks in between sessions, but we work hard to not have them because we like to just continue without breaks. This community center allows for drop-ins. So you don’t have to sign up for the entire session you can just come take on yoga class if you would like.

 

Stretch at the Camden Community Center:  Thursday at 10:15 am.

I started teaching the Thursday Stretch Class in May of 2016. The original time slot was noon, but it was moved so it could be after Nia. It has gone on hiatus at times due to various reasons (summer camps usually come in and take over the community center). This class is at 10:15 am, after Nia.

 

Additional information about the classes:

All classes are an hour long. Nia and Stretch are part of the SJCITY Fit program. The gentle yoga classes are a part of the Leisure Class program.

There have been other class that have come and gone. I started teaching in 2009 at a studio I rented in Willow Glen. I did that for four years. I have also taught for the City of San Carlos. I worked for a little fitness studio, I taught at other community centers in San Jose, and I rented other studio space. But since those classes are not longer happening, I didn’t make note of those dates.

I am very fortunate to have such great students and to teach these classes. It is common knowledge among fitness instructors that a class can be cancelled at anytime, especially at city community centers. If there are not enough students then the class gets cancelled . . . makes sense, that is just the way it is. So that we have had these classes for so long is just the biggest blessing. I am grateful.

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Ujjayi Breath

Posted by terrepruitt on May 30, 2018

I am looking through my posts because I was going to post about pranayama. As I am looking I don’t see that I posted how to do ujjayi breath. I mentioned it in one of my posts but I didn’t explain how to do it. The focus of that post is the possible benefits of it. I have a few posts on pranayama. Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga. It is a practice of controlling one’s breath, controlling the prana or life force. MANY people practice some form of breathing technique. Even if it is not really conscious. Sometimes we just slow down and take a breath. Well, yoga has an actual practice of it (pranayama) and they have several ways to practice pranayama. I have posted about the Equal Breath and Cooling Breath, but not about the type of breathing often recommended be used (that I know of) in many yoga classes. As I said I haven’t posted about ujjayi breath.

Are you familiar with ujjayi breathing? That is the breathing that makes a sound. Well, there are different theories on that (isn’t there on everything?). Some say it has to make a sound. Some think that you are not doing it right if you aren’t making a sound. Some say you don’t have to make a sound. Some say you shouldn’t be that loud. So, like so many things it can be done differently — sound, or no sound. I think that one can do it without making a loud sound, but some people really like to put it out there that they are doing their ujjayi breath. So, whatever.

In addition to the opinions about the sound, there are different ways to describe how to do it. Some people call it Ocean breath because they believe it sounds like the ocean when you are doing it. Some people call it Darth Vader breath because they think it sounds like Darth Vader. Some call it Victory Breath, and again, I am thinking that is because of the sound. There are many additional names for it, but it is ujjayi breathing.

One way to do it is to inhale through your nose then exhale through your mouth saying HAAAAAAAA. Do that a few times. Then inhale through your mouth, keep your mouth closed and exhale through your nose, but still “saying” HAAAAA. This is to help you with the sensation of the air passing through at the back of the throat. Ujjayi breath is breathing through the nose with the air passing through/over the back of the nasal passages and throat.

I also think of is somewhat like what Felix Unger, in the Odd Couple with Tony Randall, used to do. Remember his honking? But he used to open his mouth.

In my post I mentioned earlier, Breath: Quiet And Safe, I was explaining how it is believed this type of breathing tones the areas that relax and cause people to snore. So some believe this can help reduce snoring. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it is a nice way to breath during a yoga practice.

Do you practice pranayama?  Do you do ujjayi breathing during yoga?

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