Ujjayi Pranayama is one of the deep breathing techniques in Yoga. All deep breathing exercises (Pranayamas) calms our body and mind. Regular practice of any Pranayama relieves one from stress which awards longevity. ‘Ujjayi’ is derived from Sanskrit meaning ‘to be Victorious’. Therefore this breathing technique is called as ‘Victorious Breath’. You breathe through your nose where your lungs are completely filled with fresh Oxygen, and your throat is constricted to make a peculiar hissing sound. This breathing technique calms your mind and warms your body too. While practising this Ujjayi pranayam, the sound that you make is also called ‘Ocean Breath’. It is advised to learn Ujjayi Pranayam correctly from an experienced Yoga teacher.
How to practice Ujjayi Pranayama?
- All the pranayamas are practised early in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Sit anywhere in an open area, where there is ample fresh air and natural light in a comfortable posture, maybe in Sukhasana. Feel relaxed and breathe deeply.
- Close your eyes gently. Open your mouth slightly; allow your jaws and your tongue to relax.
- Now breathe in and breathe out deeply through your mouth. While inhaling, feel the freshness of the air and its travel into your body through the wind-pipe.
- While you breathe out, very slightly contract the back of your throat, as you would do while you whisper some secret.
- Just whisper an ‘ahhh…’ while exhaling just like during winters we would let out air to form fog on the glass panes / surfaces.
- While inhaling and exhaling slightly maintain this constriction at the throat, you will hear an Ocean wave sound.
- When you get the control of this breathing technique, slowly close your mouth and continue the inhaling and exhaling through your nose while maintaining the same constriction of your throat.
- You will hear the ocean sound. Your breath should travel through your vocal cords, through the back of your throat. Keep your mouth closed all the while.
- The sound will be heard by you, and not to the person standing few feet away from you. Just concentrate on the sound. It will soothe your mind, and relax your body.
- Fill your lungs completely with fresh air and exhale completely. Start Ujjayi pranayama with 5 minutes of breathing and gradually increase the duration to 15 minutes.
- Now link your breath to your movement. Practice Ujjayi pranayama while you do yoga postures. You can finish the Ujjayi pranayama when in Savasana.
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama
- In this particular Pranayama you breathe in and breathe out in a rhythmic manner. This rhythmic breathing technique is one of the most important components in Yoga asanas.
- By holding and controlling your breath your mind becomes calm and this in turn relaxes your stress points.
- Ujjayi Pranayama prepares you to take control of your wavering mind and you start feeling relaxed. You are now filled with positive energy which will heal your internal anguish and pressure.
- Ujjayi Pranayama is practised while doing any yoga posture. The rhythmic sound connects your body and mind and makes you feel completely relaxed.
- Regular practise would keep fatigue at bay. Your pent-up emotions will be released and you will start feeling rejuvenated.
- Any problems related to stress, lack of sleep, and nervousness will be solved by practising Ujjayi Pranayama daily.
Precautions while practising Ujjayi Pranayam
- Persons suffering with breathing problems like asthma, do not attempt at this Pranayama
- Do not tighten your throat. Gentle constriction is enough.
- It is better to learn and practice under expert guidance before you start on your own.
- Stop the breathing exercise immediately if you feel dizzy.