Learning to Exhale
Stay calm on race day by practicing Ujjayi pranayama, a yogic breathing technique used by Olympic athletes to enhance respiratory efficiency. Ujjayi Pranayama breathing focuses the mind, helps assuage feelings of frustration, brings strength to the legs and core and lengthens the spine, say Stan Woodman and Gina Norman, owners of Kaia Yoga Complete Wellness Centers. Practice the technique below, and then try using it during walks and runs.
- Inhale and exhale through your nose, directing the breath across the back of your throat.
- Do this for five to 10 minutes, trying to match the inhale and exhale length.
- During walks/runs, inhale through your nose, then exhale slowly through a wide-open mouth.
- As you slowly exhale, feel the breath across the back of your throat, and make a drawn-out “HA” sound.
- Repeat several times.
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