Ujjayi Pranayama is one of the Pranayama technique from Hatha Yoga. The name comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Ujjayi’ which means ‘to be victorious’. Therefore, it is also often referred to as “Victorious Breath”. Also while performing this breathing technique it creates a modulated soothing sound, like the sound of ocean waves, due to the fiction on air within the throat. Because of the ocean kind of sound it makes, this breath is also sometimes called “Ocean Breath”. It involves deep inhalation and exhalation from both nostrils with a half closed glottis. Here in this article we will further talk about Ujjayi Pranayama Benefits and Steps.
Ujjayi Pranayama Benefits and Steps
As the throat passage is narrowed, the passage of air through that creates a ‘hissing’ sound. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by diaphragm, the strengthening of this part is the main aim of Ujjayi Pranayama. Ujjayi Breath helps in equalizing and relaxing the breath. This will increase the action of oxygenation building internal body heat which is both energizing and relaxing. When focused and listened to the breath, your breath can be your true teacher, guiding you in a numerous ways. Before you incorporate Ujjayi breathing into your yoga practice, please go through the Ujjayi Pranayama benefits and steps explained below.
Ujjayi Pranayama Steps
- Sit in a comfortable position, such as Sukhasana, relax your body and gently close your eyes, relax your jaw and your tongue.
- Contract the glottis, so that the passage of the throat is partially closed
- Inhale deeply through your nose and feel the air of your inhalations passing through your windpipe making a slight hissing sound and the chest is slightly lifted up and the abdomen contracts a little.
- On your exhalations, breathe out very gently and smoothly, the throat continues to be partially closed and continue to make a hissing sound while you exhale.
- As you become comfortable with your inhalation and exhalations, you will notice your breath making an “ocean” sound, softly moving in and out, like ocean waves.
- Focus on the sound of your breath, allow it to quiet your mind. It should be audible to you alone, not so loud that someone standing away can hear it.
- Let your inhalations fill your lungs to their fullest expansion. Completely release the air during your exhalations.
- Start by practicing Ujjayi for five minutes in the beginning and increase your time to 15 minutes for deeper meditation.
- As you practise yoga asana’s, link this Ujjayi breath with your yoga postures. Inhale with Ujjayi as you expand and extend, then exhale with Ujjayi as you contract and bend forward. Maintain the connection of Ujjayi breath and asanas throughout your practice.
- Release your Ujjayi breath when your practice Yoga or Pranayama is complete.
EXTENSION: when this breathing has been mastered, fold the tongue back into Khechari mudra and continue with the Ujjayi breathing. When the tongue is rested, again fold it back.
Ujjayi Pranayama Benefits
- Consistent practice of Ujjayi Pranayama benefits in controlling the breath which in turn will calm the mind and bring awareness to the present moment. This helps in bringing positive changes to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
- When Ujjayi Breath is used in yoga asana practice, it improves concentration in the physical practice and allows the practitioner to remain in poses for longer periods of time.
- Ujjayi Breath Instils strength that enhances a graceful practice by lending a meditative quality which maintains the rhythm of the class.
- Ujjayi breath controls heating of the body. The brushing of the air passing through the lungs and throat generates internal body heat. It is like massaging the internal organs. This heat makes stretching harmless while the inner organs can be cleansed of any toxins that have accumulated.
- A focused Ujjayi breath can release tension and free up the tight areas of the body.
- Additional Ujjayi Pranayama benefits include diminished pain from headaches, relief of sinus pressure, decrease in phlegm, and strengthening of the nervous and digestive systems.
- Ujjayi tells us when we need to surrender into a resting posture, as the breath should remain as even and smooth in the postures as when we rest. It allows us to practice honesty in our practice, taking a step back to let go of our ego.
- Ujjayi allows us to practice full deep breaths during the challenges of a physical practice. Therefore, helping us to face any challenges in our daily life in a poised way.
Ujjayi Pranayama done with Kechari Mudra has following additional benefits
- Kechari mudra helps the practitioner to attain Samadhi or the super-conscious state.
- The yogi can overcome suffering from disease, decay and death. The immune system becomes strong and the body becomes divine.
- Through Ujjayi and Kechari Mudra, Yogi’s can do astral travelling. The mudra helps the yogi to detach the astral body from the physical body and travel in the astral planes.
- While practicing Ujjayi Pranayama, do not tighten your throat.
- If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or emphysema, consult qualified Yoga instructor before practicing Ujjayi Pranayama.
- Stop the exercise if you become faint or dizzy.
- Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
- If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor and Yoga instructor before practicing Ujjayi Breath.
Hope you have understood the Ujjayi Pranyama benefits and steps to perform. Consult an experienced yoga teacher near you to put this into regular practice.