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Breathing techniques

Before YTT, I’ve only heard of two yoga breathing techniques – Ujjayi and Kapalbhati.
Imagine my surprise to learn that there are at least 5 different techniques!
Although I knew what Ujjayi’s breath was, I did not get to learn this properly as breathing exercises
are usually brief in commercial yoga classes. For example, I always thought that the sound was only
made upon exhalation, instead of for both inhalation and exhalation.
When Jessica first demonstrated the Ujjayi’s breath in class, I was amazed at how her breathing
sound was so loud and consistent for both inhalation and exhalation. Jessica tried various ways to
help us visualise how to form that sound – from saying HAAA with mouth close, to imagine fogging
up a mirror, to bringing your tongue to the back and top of your throat.
It took me 4 weekend days of meditation, and random practices during the work day (my colleagues
were probably wondering what’s wrong), to finally manage a consistent sound that I can sustain
throughout meditation practice. I now have a goal to do this loud enough so that I can demonstrate
in class.
For Kapalbhati, I had the chance to learn this properly prior to YTT, so it was not too difficult. It was
interesting though to learn that one should not overdo this active breathing technique…
Of the three new techniques that we learnt, Bharmari (“Bumblebee”) was the hardest to master.
Most of us sound like we are gasping for air, so its quite ironic that this technique is supposed to
help with relaxation and insomnia!


Nge Hwee
200 Hour YTT Feb-May’21