Ujjayi Pranayama - The Victorious Breath!

Ujjayi Pranayama is a relaxing, yet empowering breath. It calms the mind and infuses the practitioner with energy, as all of the Pranayama techniques do. One of the meanings of Ujjayi Breathing is "Victorious Breath."

Ujjayi is utilized during Asana practice to increase oxygen and also to give a calming effect. It helps tremendously while performing some of the more advanced yoga asanas by aiding concentration and providing much needed oxygen and energy. Ujjayi, when done properly, sounds like wind going through a tunnel or the hissing of a snake. The sound brings us inward and has a meditative effect as we block out external distractions.

Sit in a cross-legged, full lotus or half-lotus position. Close the eyes and sit upright. Extend the arms and rest the hands palms down on the knees, or sit in jnana mudra (arms outstretched, palms up resting on knees, fingers extended, with index finger and thumb touching).

If you are trying to overcome chronic insomnia, you can practice this breathing technique while lying in bed. It is amazingly effective. The gentle sound of your breath, which sounds like the ocean when practiced properly, will have you falling asleep in no time.

Inhale deeply and slowly through the nose with the mouth closed, while slightly contracting the throat/glottis. You should feel the incoming air passing slowly through the back of the throat as you fill the lungs to their capacity. Hold the breath for a second or two, then exhale through the nose, again tightening the throat/glottis, allowing the breath to escape slowly, hearing a whispering sound as the breath escapes through a slightly tightened windpipe. Practice ten deep Ujjayi breaths.

Practice Ujjayi Breathing daily and increase the duration of practice from one minute to five or ten, as you progress at your own pace.

This Pranayama Technique can be done any time of the day or night for a calming effect, and is especially effective during Asana practice. Learn the details about Pranayama Yoga.

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