Different types of yoga breathing go by different names. One useful and beneficial breathing exercise to try is called Victorious breath. This is also known as Ocean’s Breath, ujjayi breath and the Breath of the Warrior.
This breathing practice calms the mind, regulates the nervous system and connects the vital functions through rhythmic, balanced, vibrational breaths.
This breathing technique engages the vagus nerve. The vagus is more like a major highway of the nervous system, connecting to all major organs and interfacing with parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs and digestive tract. During parasympathetic activation, also known as rest and digest mode, the body performs the vital functions of cellular repair, activating metabolism and enhancing relaxation.
When the sound of the breath (like a distant ocean wave) vibrates in the throat space, it tones and gently stimulates the vagus nerve. The residual vibration then travels to each organ along the parasympathetic nervous system pathway, regulating, synchronizing and balancing them.
Researched benefits of doing the victorious breath include:
- Increased oxygenation
- Warms the body
- Boosts metabolism
- Tones the lungs
- Regulates blood pressure
Let’s try Victorious Breath now:
- To begin, find a supportive upright position. Begin with a few deep, diaphragmatic breaths.
- Then start to tune into the sound of your breathing.
- As you inhale and exhale through the nose, gently constrict the airway toward the back of the throat to create an oceans sound or cavernous effect.
- This sound has also been likened to the sound one would make when fogging up a mirror on a cold day or the sound that Darth Vader makes in his helmet (may the force be with you!)
- Try to keep your breathing rhythmic and smooth, without restricting or closing off airflow.
- Do this for about 3-5 minutes or 20-30 rounds of slow, steady, ocean’s breaths.
- Return to a natural breath observing the effects of this practice.
- Do this any time you feel scattered or stressed, cold, or bored to strengthen focus and calm.
Victory to the beholder!