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Darth Vader and Yoga: A Connection Through Breath

Yoga is all about connecting your breath with your movements.

It's called ujjayi pranayama (pronounced oo-jai pra-na-ya-ma). Some instructors call it "ocean breath," "victorious breath," or "Darth Vader breath." It is said that Yogis performing this breath alone can create enough heat to melt snow around them. If you walk into an Ashtanga yoga class, you will be overwhelmed with an amazing and powerful sound - it feels like the walls themselves are pulsing.

Basically you are turning your ordinary breath into an audible one. When you can hear your breath, it's easier to follow and concentrate on. You can focus on letting your inhalations and exhalations guide your movements - then it's kind of like a moving meditation.

Want to know how to have that audible breath? Then

  • Say out loud - "I love Yoga."
  • Now whisper the same words, "I love Yoga."
  • Keeping your mouth closed, slowly exhale out through your nose and whisper "I love Yoga," again. Now inhale and whisper the same phrase.
  • The breath is moving to the back of your throat and nose.
  • Now slowly inhale and whisper one syllable,"Love." Exhale and whisper out "Love."
  • When you're ready, practice breathing this way, through your nose, keeping the breath deep in the back of your throat.

This breath creates the rhythm you use to guide your yoga practice. Take long and deep breaths, and you'll feel its relaxing effects instantly.

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