“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.” – Rumi
Two days ago I woke up with searing pain in my right arm. I had no idea what I’d done, but I couldn’t lift my arm and my shoulder was tender to the touch. This morning it became so intense I actually went to Urgent Care.
In addition to taking Ibuprofen and using the wonderful free app Insight Timer to listen to others’ recommendations and meditations for dealing with pain, I have been using Ocean Breathing (Ujjayi Pranayama) to keep calm, slow my breathing and manage the persistent throbbing pain. It really does help. Pranayama refers to our life force, and by partially blocking the glottis during Ujjayi (pronounced Ooh-Jah-Ee), the life force is harnessed and amplified.
Have you ever listened to the sound of the ocean in a shell? That’s what Ujjayi sounds like. To do it, make a whispering “ha” sound like the distant ocean. It helps to tuck your chin. After you get good at it, close your mouth but still make the sound while breathing slowly through your nose.
While practicing Ujjayi today, I contemplated Rumi’s quote. To me it speaks of how complex we each are with entire worlds existing in our minds and bodies, many of which are hidden from us like the depths of the ocean. I don’t yet know what is happening inside my arm, but I now find myself on a journey of discovery. Ujjayi Pranayama, also known as Victorious Breath, will help me get through to the other side.
Image from Yoga Teddy BearA-B-C for the letter “O.” This full color, hardcover book is a great way to introduce kids to the alphabet and yoga at the same time. Photo of K. Mae Copham meditating with “Cactus Arms” by Robert Oakley.