Ujjayi Pranayama - Victorious Breath
Pranayama is the control of breath. It is translated as an "extension of the prāṇa (breath or life force)" or "breath control.” By feeling and reflecting on the inhalation and exhalation of breath, it is a technique used to help create a deeper connection between the body and mind. There are a variety of pranayamas practiced, and the Ujjayi Pranayama is a technique used to calm the mind and warm the body. Practicing Ujjayi, while sitting in a comfortable position, you fill your lungs entirely by breathing through your nose while slightly contracting your throat.
Ujjayi is an excellent way to prepare for your practice while calming the body and creating internal body heat due to the movement of air passing through the body through a constricted throat. A focused Ujjayi can bring relief to tension and tight areas of the body. While practicing Ujjayi, you may become slightly lightheaded or dizzy because of the tightening of the throat. Other than this it is a safe practice for anybody to enjoy!
Sanskrit translation - "Ujjayi" comes from the Sanskrit prefix "ud" (उद्) added to it and root "ji" (जि): "ujji" (उज्जि), meaning "to be victorious." Ujjayi (उज्जायी), thus means "one who is victorious." Ujjayi breath means "victorious breath.”
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama
The heat created in the body through the friction of the air into the lungs, through a constricted throat, helps generate heat in the core and prepare the body for physical practice. The concentration of the breath helps focus the mind and forget external distractions allowing a deeper immersion into the practice. Ujjayi is a good starting point for meditation. The slow and rhythmic breathing can help relax muscles into a slow deep stretch. Pranayamas are essential for your yoga practice, and the Ujjayi breath can help improve it, by enabling you to concentrate on your breathing, relaxing deeper and longer into the poses. More specific benefits may include a reduction in headache pain, relief of any sinus pressure and also a strengthening of the nervous and digestive systems. An improvement in the length and quality of sleep may also be found. Ujjayi Pranayama - step by step
Begin in a comfortable seating position, such as Easy Pose (Sukhasana). Relaxing your body, gently close your eyes. Let your mouth open slightly. Relax your tongue and jaw.
Inhale and exhale through your mouth. Feeling the air of your inhalations pass through your windpipe.
On the exhalations, slightly contract the back of your throat, on the exhale softly whispering the sound, “ahhh.”
Once you become comfortable with the exhalations, also maintain the slight constrictions of your throat for the inhalations. The sound of your breaths will be similar to the ocean waves. Softly moving in and out.
Once you feel comfortable controlling your throat, then begin to gently close your mouth and breathing through nose, while keeping the same constriction in your throat. You will continue hearing the sound of the ocean. Keep your mouth closed but your lips soft.
Allow the inhalations to fill your lungs, trying to fill every corner of your lungs, and ultimately releasing the air and compressing the lungs for the exhale.
Concentrate on the sound of your breath, allow it to soothe your mind. The sound should be audible but not so loud that it could be heard from the other side of the room.
Begin slowly seated with Ujjayi. Increasing the length of the practice with time allowing for more profound meditation. This method of breathing can also be introduced while practicing your yoga postures. Using the breath as a guide to your movements and reflection on the benefits of the poses.
Ujjayi pranayama is a great way to begin your practice or relax and reflect at the end of the day.
You can also watch a 10 minute free tutorial on ujjayi pranayama with Guy Powiecki Do you want to Learn more about Pranayama read the post Pranayama the yogi's are of breathing