And now lets deepen our inhales and exhales and activate the abdominal breathing. To deepen our breath, bring in the Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) or “victorious breath. I should be hearing the ocean like sounds resonating all around me. But usually what happens is that I hear myself breathing.
Same thing happens in the beginning of the class, when we come to being in presence with our body with three deep inhales and loud exhales through the mouth.
I remember myself years ago, sitting in one of my first individual classes, mortified to make a sound. There was no one there except my teacher to be embarrassed from. And I realised I am embarrassed before myself. After starting group classes I just kind of mumbled through the Om's and kept my breathing on the mute level. I envied some of the fellow yogis who were so free in their expression of self.
What I realised through the years is that some people will deep breathe, sing loudly and be vocal in a heartbeat. It comes natural to them. But those are the rare ones. Most of us initially just can't do it. It's bringing attention on us. It makes us feel that we are exposing ourselves. And usually that is the last thing we want in the moment. It feels like we carry invisible shields which only allow shallow, silent breaths, because deep loud breath would break that shield. And it's too much. Feels unprotected. That's why I believe no one should force the ''coming out''.
But when it happens, when you suddenly feel the comfort to be heard, it is a freeing moment. I still remember the liberation of being able to sing chants, breath loudly and sing Om.
There is a funny thing related to singing Om. Every time I overthink how my Om is going to sound like I fell out of breath. And when I just let it come from the belly it flows naturally. So for me it's a great reminder of letting go, releasing the ego, that I as a teacher need to have the perfect sounding Om. And it's also being realistic, because as much as I love to think I can sing, that ain't the truth. But even saying it out loud or in this case now writing it for everyone to see, it's liberating. So yes, I am dropping the expectations by saying out loud that I suck at singing. Not that you would have them towards me, it's the ones that I have towards myself. Or you have towards yourself.
One of the most liberating vocal asanas is the Roaring lion pose (Simhasana). I can almost imagine some of you saying no way after watching this video below. But I challenge you to try it, it is really about letting all go and it helps with voice-related difficulties (e.g., stammering) and throat-related problems (e.g., hoarseness and tonsillitis) because of the stretching of the tongue.
At the end it all comes down to the fact, that we are here a very limited amount of time. So do we really want to stay in the shields we are in or we want to break free of ourselves? Because what we often see at the end is that we were judging and limiting ourselves, not the others. If you realise that it't the others, walk away from them, but honey you can't walk away from yourself. So start roaring the bad shit out and the good inhale in!