"Ujjayi breath" - victorious breath, or oceanic breath
Ujjayi (pronounced "oo-jai") is a Yogic breathing technique that has been used for thousands of years to enhance yoga practice. When practiced, Ujjayi creates a rhythmic sound that helps us to synchronize breath with movements during physical asana. It can also be an honest sign of when we need to surrender into a resting posture, as the breath should remain as even and smooth in the postures that challenge us as when we rest.
This breath is also very effective at calming nerves; next time you find yourself in a situation that could use some calming, try incorporating your Ujjayi breath.
Benefits of Ujjayi breath include:
- Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Builds and regulates internal body heat
- Relieves tension in tight areas of the body
- Encourages free flow of prana
- Regulates blood pressure and strengthens nervous syste
- Builds energy and instills endurance
- Improves concentration in physical asana by increasing feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities
Whole Body Breathing
To practice Ujjayi, we first fill the lower belly (activating the first and second chakras), then we fill our breath up to the lower rib cage (the third and fourth chakras), and finally we move into the upper chest and throat.
If you're having trouble getting started, follow these two simple steps:
- Seal your lips and start to breath in and out through your nose.
- Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. Exhale slowly through your nose while constricting the muscles in the back of your throat.
The inhalations and exhalations are equal in duration, resulting in a soothing, rhythmic flow. Ujjayi's inhales can be compared to the sound the ocean makes as the water is gathering up to form the wave, the exhales can be compared to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore. Fun fact: Some people compare Ujjayi breathing to Darth Vader from Star Wars!
When listened to, your breath can be your true teacher... ~ Breath is Life ~