I used to do uddiyana as a kid to freak out my mother. (Hi Mom!) Long before I knew what it actually was, I’d suck my stomach WAY in and say, “Look!”

The shock value is just as good now as it was then. I forget, sometimes, how startling it is to see. It’s a normal part of my life, but when I look up after demonstrating it for a new person, their face reminds me how far outside of average this practice is.

Nowadays, I practice uddiyana for the way it feels in the muscles around my ribs and my back and for how much it frees up my breathing. My breath is always fuller after a few rounds of uddiyana. My energy levels go way up, and my anxiety levels go down.

I love uddiyana at the start of practice, for a richer breath throughout, but I also practice it as a standalone pick-me-up. It’s great while your water is boiling for tea in the morning or while your coffee brews.

How I originally learned uddiyana:

  • Brace your hands on your legs or on the floor in front of you.
  • Exhale forcibly and completely through your mouth.
  • Pull abdominals up and back toward the spine.
  • Spread your ribs and diaphragm wide.
  • Hold until it becomes interesting.
  • Release abdominals and inhale smoothly.

How I practice uddiyana now:

  • Brace your hands on your legs or on the floor in front of you.
  • Exhale forcibly and completely through your mouth.
  • Tuck chin and close the air passageway in your throat.
  • Attempt to inhale with the air passageway closed.
  • This automatically spreads ribs and diaphragm wide. It’s like inhaling, but without the air.
  • Hold until it becomes interesting.
  • Release abdominals and inhale smoothly.

If you find, during the month of December, that it feels like it’s been forever since you practiced yoga, stand up and do a few rounds of uddiyana.

Heads up though, you might wake up everyone in the room.

Happy Holidays!

 

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