Ujjayi Pranayama

Also known as Ocean Breath and Victorious Breath.

This pranayama is most often used in association with the practice of yoga poses, especially in the vinyasa style. Vinyasa yoga is breath-synchronized movement, and the breath used is Ujjayi breath. When starting out, begin in a comfortable seated position, once familiar with your practice you may gradually introduce ujjayi into your yoga practice.

1. Inhale and exhale deeply through the mouth.

2. On the exhales, begin to tone the back of the throat, slightly constricting the passage of air. Imagine that you are fogging up a mirror.

3. Once you are comfortable with the exhale, begin to apply the same toning of the throat to the inhales. This is where the name of the breath comes from: it sounds like the ocean. (It also sounds like Darth Vadar.)

4. When you are able to control the throat on both the inhale and the exhale, close the mouth and begin breathing through the nose. Continue applying the same toning to the throat that you did when the mouth was open. The breath will still make a loud noise coming in and out of the nose. This is Ujjayi breath.

5. Now start to use this breath during your practice. If the teacher tells you to move on an inhale, make it an Ujjayi inhale. If you need a little something extra while holding a pose, remember this breath.

The overall benefits of using this breath are it’s detoxifying abilities. The throat and lungs are purified during practice of this pranayama, you may also notice a higher level of concentration and focus during your yoga practice when using ujjayi breath.

Directions by Ann Pizer, Yoga Guide.

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