Pranayama: Ujjayi Breathing

Ujjayi breathing is an ancient yoga breathing technique. It’s commonly translated as “victorious breath”. It’s also known as “oceanic breath” because its hissing sound is like the gentle ocean wave sound. It is a diaphragmatic breath. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by the diaphragm.

The inhalation and exhalation are both through the nostril and we should keep the steadiness, length and smoothness of the breath as much as possible. This ocean wave like sound is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air but not tightening the throat.

To get the right sound for Ujjayi breath, try making the “haaaah” sound (like the sound you make when trying to fog up a window) while exhaling through the mouth. Then close the mouth and you will continue to hear the ocean wave sound as you breathe through your nose.

It is good to practice Ujjayi breathing throughout the asana practice because it enables us to maintain a steady and rhythm breath to our practice (help to stay focused), allow us to take in enough oxygen, and helps to build energy. It also increases self-awareness and feeling of presence. The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is very helpful to calm the nerves and is good for settling agitation and stress.

 

She Hui (200hr YTTC Weekend)