Uj = To expand Jayi = Victory
Ujjayi Pranayama is not commonly used in general yoga classes although it is highly beneficial for Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga as it is very effective in calming the mind and warming the body. It forces mind focus and control of the breath so that the body receives an even and constant flow of prana giving rise to more energy and the ability to train at a higher level.
Ujjayi Pranayama is often referred to as “Victorious Breath” due to the victory over breath and mind control or “Ocean Breath” due to the sound it makes when performed.
How to practise Ujjayi Pranayama
It is best to start out practising this breath in Sukhasana or seated in a chair.
- Before you start, open your mouth and narrow the passageway of the throat and exhale the sound HAAAAAH pretending you are trying to fog up a mirror.
- Close your mouth, seal the lips and start to breath in and out of the nose
- Constrict the throat by narrowing the passageway as you did in step 1.
- Breath in and out this way through the nose with the mouth closed attempting a similar sound.
- Other ways to try to understand the narrowing of the passageway is pretend to be drinking through a straw or speaking in a whisper. You want to make a sound like the ocean or “SO” on the inhale and “HA” on the exhale.
To do Ujjayi Pranayama you must pay attention. The mind directs the breath and it cannot happen on its own.