Ujjayi Breathing Technique
In most Vinyasa and Ashtanga classes you may have been asked to “begin finding your Ujjayi Breath” and unless it has been properly explained to you this may have been confusing. So here we go, we would like to break down the Ujjayi technique a little bit, as well as its function and purpose within the Physical Asana practice.
What is Ujjayi Breath? Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai), commonly translated as “victorious breath”, has been used for many years to enhance yoga practice. The sound that Ujjayi provides helps yoga practitioners to synchronize breath with movements during yoga practice.
The Ujjayi Breath Technique
Firstly here is the technique; we must create a restriction in the back of the throat for the exhale, you can do a few practice rounds by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through an open mouth just like you are fogging up a mirror. Now we must do the same thing but with the mouth closed, still with the slight restriction in the back of the throat on the exhale. The breath should be smooth and long, not strained or too forceful, this can take practice.
Ujjayi Breathing Health Benefits
- It creates heat in the body through the friction created by the air in the lungs and throat it generates core heat from the inside, this prepares the body for physical practice.
- It focuses the mind, keeping ourselves more “present”, diminishing distractions and allowing us to immerse deeper into the practice.
- A soft and smooth Ujjayi breath can help to relax the muscles in slow deep stretching, and allow us to release emotions and blockages which may be the cause of stiffness.
- If in a challenging pose, the Ujjayi breath can assist with endurance, meaning we can stay in the pose for longer.
- Alternatively, it can act as a gage as to when we need to rest. If the Ujjayi breath becomes strained, or is no longer smooth then we can recognize that we need to take a step back and let go of the ego.
There are also physiological benefits to practicing Ujjayi such as reducing headaches, relief from sinus pain, and stimulating the nervous and digestive systems. Ujjayi does not have to be solely practiced in the physical flow either, it can be used as a breathing technique from an easy cross-legged meditation position.
Likewise Ujjayi breathing does not always have to be used as part of your physical flow either, long deep breathing is favored by some yogis. It is totally up to you what resonates with your practice! So have some fun trying it out, see if it makes a difference to your personal practice and add it accordingly to your arsenal of yoga tools.
From Everyone at Samadhi Yogashala & Wellness Center by Navutu Dreams,