André Foisy plays guitar in Locrian and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches at Turbodog Yoga in Chicago, IL. You can find his yoga teaching schedule and more information about him on his blog.
You’re on the road and you’re late for your next show because you woke up late after partying too hard. You’ve been on the road for days and you’ve been eating nothing but potato chips, ranch flavored sunflower seeds, gas station coffee and Taco Bell. You’re feeling crappy and everyone in the van is cranky.
André has been there.
Here’s one tool that I utilize to feel my best on tour: ujjayi breath. It’s the foundation of many yoga poses. So it’s important that we discuss this breathing technique before moving on to any other poses.
Many people find this type of breathing to be calming as well as energizing. I find that it’s good for quieting your brain, relieving anxiety, and helping create a hospitable environment in your brain when you tour.
Here’s how this breathing technique works:
–When you inhale/exhale, you gently constrict the opening of your throat so that you’re slightly resisting the passage of air. Your breath sounds like Darth Vader.
–The resistance means that you’re gently pulling the breath in on inhale and gently pushing the breath out on your exhale. The resistance helps you naturally lengthen and slow down your breath.
–When you breathe really slowly and deeply, the body’s other systems respond because their function is related to your breath.
The more that you practice breathing like this, the better you’ll feel. If you constantly breathe shallow the muscles associated with breathing get weak. So, the more you practice this type of breathing, the easier it will be for you to breathe deeper regularly because you’ll strengthen muscles associated with breathing.
-Makes you feel like you’re getting some ‘me time’ when you can’t get away from your bandmates
-Focuses the mind and improves concentration
-Strengthens the breathing muscles
-Calms the body
-Regulates the heating of the body
-Helps you get over that feeling you get when you party too hard
How to work in the pose:
You can do this pose while you’re standing or sitting. I suggest trying this with your eyes closed at first.
Ujjayi breath should be audible so turn the music off when you figure this out.
Beginning Ujjayi breathing:
1.) Inhale through your nose slowly and as deeply as possible without straining. Slightly constrict the back of your throat while you inhale.
2.) Slowly exhale with your mouth wide open. Keep constricting the back of your throat. Make an “aaahhhhhhh” sound in the back of your throat.
3.) Repeat several times, until you get the hang of making that sound in the back of your throat.
Full-on Ujjayi breathing:
4.) Repeat step 1
5.) Slowly exhale with your mouth closed. Keep making that “aaaahhhh” sound as you drag your breath across the back of your throat.
6.) Repeat these last two steps.
7.) Start by practicing ujjayi breathing for about five minutes while you are standing/sitting in one place.
Notice how your lungs and the rest of you feel when you take in fresh air rather than weed clouds.