Ready to Relax?

Photo from last year’s trip to Maine. Saltwater bay leading out to the Atlantic…

The Ujjayi Breath, also known as Victorious or Ocean-Sounding breath, is a wonderfully relaxing breathing practice.

This breathwork is based on a steady inhalation and exhalation through the nose, with a mild constriction at the back of the throat.

The constriction creates an “ocean sound” that helps to focus the mind, and create a relaxation response in the body.

If you’re feeling anxious, nervous, or less than confident, or if you are dealing with medical issues, give this simple breathing technique a try. Practice upon waking, when lying in bed before sleeping, or anytime!

This breath is soothing and calming. There are no medical restrictions.

To learn:

1. Hold one hand up in front of your face—palm turned toward your face—and imagine your palm is a mirror. Next, pretend you are fogging up the mirror with your breath. To do this, exhale with an ‘H’ sound. “Haaaaaa…” This is the ocean sound.

2. Drop the hand, and repeat.

*Notice that compared to a exhaling normally, adding the ‘H’ sound allows you to lengthen your exhalation.

Inhale normally, and repeat. As you empty the air completely, the naval draws back toward the spine. Exhaling fully in this way will allow you to deepen your next inhalation.

3. Inhale normally, and practice the exhalation again, this time with the lips closed. Continue making the ‘H’ sound in the back of your throat as you exhale, but exhale through the nose, with the lips lightly closed.

4. Now, make the same ‘H’ sound with your mouth open as you inhale. You’ll find this to be super uncomfortable! So just do it once or twice. Then, keeping that constriction in the back of the throat, that ‘H’ sound, inhale through the nose with the lips closed.

Once you follow these simple steps, that’s it! You no longer need the above info. You’re ready to engage the Ocean-Sounding breath. Ready to relax.

A few suggestions to support your new breathing practice:

Sit comfortably with a long spine, or lie down. Soften the jaw. Soften the brow.

Breathe slowly and deeply, in and out of the nose. Lips are together, teeth apart.

Begin to engage the Ujjayi breath by inhaling and exhaling through the nose, while gently constricting the back of the throat, using the ‘H’ or ocean sound. Keep the lips lightly closed.

Extend each exhalation, emptying completely.

Deepen each inhalation, filling the body fully.

As you inhale, you may want to imagine the breath moving into the body through the lower belly, or pelvic region, and continuing up the torso, expanding the rib cage all around the body, feeling the breath in the sides and back of the body, then moving higher, under collarbones and into the tops of the shoulders.

As you exhale, imagine this 3-part wave of breath washing down from collarbone region to the pelvis.

Inhale—3-part wave of breath washes onto the shore—

(Up the torso from pelvic region to collarbones, and/or tops of shoulders)

Exhale—empty completely (from collarbones to pelvis) feeling the naval draw back toward the spine as the 3-part wave of breath retreats from the shore, returns to the sea.

Enjoy…

Besides being a published author and Songwriting instructor at Project Write Now in Red Bank, NJ, Mimi Cross is a 200+ hour certified Kripalu Yoga teacher. She has been teaching people of all ages Yoga and Meditation since 2001.

Come Together, Right Now…

Hopefully you’ve already dipped into your pocket for people in Puerto Rico, or maybe you’ve helped folks in Houston. If you live in Monmouth County, there’s another cause that needs your contribution, and in return, you’ll hear some amazing stories!

ComeTogetherFlyer

Project Write Now is delighted to announce this year’s annual fundraiser, “Come Together: A Performance + Party” to be held at the Two River Theater​ on Friday, October 13, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

If you’re local, I hope you’ll come hear a dramatic reading performed by students who will share their incredible writing. Michael Sarin and I will be playing miniature pieces of original music in between readings, something I’m really excited about. We hope the music will give the audience an extra moment to reflect on the the writers’ words, while at the same time evoking something more of the their work, possibly something invisible. (For a beautiful and articulate take on the concept of invisibility in writing, read this, an amazing piece from the August 25th New York Times Book Review by Roger Rosenblatt entitled “The Invisible Forces That Make Writing Work.”)

We’ll start the evening with a cocktail hour featuring music by singer-songwriter Austin Vuolo​. After the performance, the festivities will continue with more music, food, drinks, and lots of conversation and community!

Please join me for this special celebration! You can purchase tickets here.

For more information about Project Write Now, a non-profit dedicated to helping people of all ages become better writers as they gain the confidence, skills, and insight needed to reach their personal, academic, and professional goals, please visit the PWN website.

Thank you!

Light of Day Winterfest 2016

Oh Sandy, the aurora is rising behind us . . .

An aurora in its own way, the music of Gedeon Luke is filled with light. Now that light will benefit people in the very area that Bruce Springsteen made famous with songs like 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) who were adversely affected by the recent storm.

Please take a listen to Gray, over at the iTunes store. Then buy it. All proceeds from the sale of Gray will go directly to helping victims of Sandy.

GL

Living about ten minutes away from Sea Bright, New Jersey, one of the hardest hit areas, I’ve heard a lot of stories from friends and strangers alike whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the storm. I knew I’d eventually say something/post something about the storm on Sirenstories, and since Gedeon was one of the first artists featured on this blog, spreading the word about his charitable musical effort makes sense to me. It’s one small thing I can do to help.

Having the gutters blow off our house during Sandy was scary—I slept in my clothes that night, afraid I might have to leave home at any moment. But losing power wasn’t too tough. After Irene we invested in a generator. Irene hit us harder than Sandy, we had a landslide on the cliff in front of our house and almost lost the 1930’s gazebo over the edge. But our home wasn’t really in danger. In other words, I have a lot to be thankful for. We moved the gazebo. We planted things on the hill. We were lucky.

There are so many ways to help people, and if you’re like me, you’ve already contributed somewhere,  maybe to a food pantry, or a fund. But we don’t have to stop there, and getting a copy of Gray is one easy way we can help.

I’m going to get my copy now, see you over on Gedeon’s page at the iTunes store, okay? Thanks.

As of January 2013, the number of businesses along the Jersey Shore that sustained damage from Sandy was up to 19,000. Please support NJ coastal businesses. Thank you.