You know that noisy breath that yogis practice? Ujjayi breath calms the mind & body and serves as an anchor for yoga practices. You don’t have to be posin’ to use it–often I practice the deep, intentional breath walking down the street (my yoga teacher says it’s really breathing that does you good in any exercise). When you constrict the muscles at the back of your throat and force the air through, up and out of your nose, it sounds like the ocean–that’s what I always hear people say.
As I’ve fallen in love with the mountains over the last year, finding deep comfort in the tall mounds of earth that peek out behind trees and skylines, drawing the horizon higher, I’ve been a little crestfallen that the foundational breath of yoga has to do with the seashore instead.
What joy on Monday: our little family hiked to the summit of Mt. Pisgah, and as we wound higher and higher, I realized that ujjayi breath doesn’t only sound like the waves of the ocean: ujjayi breath sounds just as much like the wind blowing determinedly through the trees and ridges of the mountains.
Now I envision my dear Blue Ridge Mountains as I take poses and force air through my throat. Not only does that air mimic the wind of beloved hills, but also reminds me that the mountains and trees stand steady in the midst of blowing tempests, even as it allows the living air to change it slowly and slightly.