Updated: Mar 26
Ujjayi breath is also known as the Victorious breath, or Oceanic breath....it is said to sound like waves rolling up against the shore.
What is the purpose of using Ujjayi breath?
When we use the Ujjayi breath it strengthens the lungs and diaphragm; it strengthens the respiratory system. The long slow breaths shift us from being in a stress response with our sympathetic nervous system activated into a relaxation response with our parasympathetic nervous system activated. The parasympathetic nervous system triggers our body into rest, digest, heal and grow mode. The mind calms down, which helps to quieten any unconscious striving or any over aggression as you move through asanas, and this in turn helps to prevent injuries. So you can use your Ujjayi breath throughout your asana practice, or you may like to use a few Ujjayi breaths in preparation for your meditation practice.
When first learning how to Ujjayi breathe please start in a seated position with your spine long and your hands resting over your lower belly.
1st. Inhale through your nose, mouth closed, and as you exhale consciously draw your belly back towards your spine. Activate your Mula Bandha, lift through your pelvic floor and contract your lower abdominal muscles.
2nd. Inhale mouth closed. Exhale with an open mouth, (continue to activate your Mula Bandha on expiration), whisper the word “whisper” and extend the “r” sound. Can you notice the slight constriction at the back of the throat? This slight constriction helps to slow and lengthen your breath.
3rd. Inhale mouth closed. Exhale start with an open mouth making an “r” sound, halfway through close your mouth and continue the ”r” sound.
4th. Now with your mouth closed and the back of your throat slightly constricted take an equal length inhalation and exhalation, slowly breathing in and out for 4 - 6 seconds each.
Note - It is easier for most people to constrict the back of the throat on exhalation when first starting. Keep practising and before you know it you will be making sounds like the waves rolling up against the shore.
You can find my guided 'Practice & Benefits Of Ujjayi Breath' recording on Insight Timer (a Free guided meditation app).
I wish you all the best with your Ujjayi breath practice.
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