Ujjayi Pranayama is a breathing exercise that is included in Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga and has been recommended by both ancient and modern yogis. It is a form of highly effective pranayama which can help to keep your body perfectly warm and the mind relaxed and cool. Read on to learn more about Ujjayi Pranayama.
What is Ujjayi Pranayama?
Ujjayi Pranayama is a type of pranayama or breathing technique that has always been regarded with high value in pranayama literature. The term has been derived from Sanskrit which means “victorious breath”. A practitioner is encouraged to breathe in and breathe out by only using the nostrils. A guttural vibrating sound is produced during inhalation which is caused by movement of the glottis with the passage of air. This sound is often described as an ocean-like sound which results from the friction of air inside the throat. Due to this reason, Ujjayi Pranayama is also referred to as “Ocean sound breath”. Ujjayi Pranayama can assist in calming the breath of the practitioner which can enhance the process of oxygenation of different body parts and build the all-important internal body heat which ensures inner healing.
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Steps of Ujjayi Pranayama
Here are the main steps associated with Ujjayi Pranayama.
Firstly, sit on the ground a perfectly comfortable posture and relax your body.
Close your eyes before you start with the pranayama.
Keep your jawline and mouth completely relaxed.
Inhale and exhale deeply and feel that the air is going through the windpipe during the process of breathing.
Produce a soft “AAAAHHHH” sound from your mouth during exhalation.
After you have attained a sense of comfort with the process of exhalation, focus on attaining a contraction around the back part of the throat while you are inhaling the air.
As you master the breathing process in this way, use your nose only for performing the breathing. You should ensure that your mouth remains shut and a sense of contract is there at the back of your mouth.
After repeated practices, the sound produced by your breathing is going to become quite audible. Focus on the sound of your breath and see to it that your inhalations can fill up your lungs completely.
During the initial stages, you can start by performing this pranayama or breathing exercise for about 5 minutes during which it can be repeated for about 3 to 6 times. You can then extend it to about 15 minutes as you become aware of the technique associated with it.
Tips for performing Ujjayi Pranayama
Remember these tips when you are looking to practice Ujjayi Pranayama.
The best time to practice Ujjayi Pranayama is during the early hours of the morning or during the evening.
Make sure that you practice this pranayama on an empty stomach.
Do not aggressively tighten your throat while performing Ujjayi Pranayama.
Don’t perform this pranayama by straining your body. Make sure that you are perfectly comfortable while you breathe.
Make sure that you perform this pranayama on empty stomach and always under the direct guidance of a professional Yoga teacher.
Your breathing must always remain smooth, steady and rhythmic.
The science behind Ujjayi Pranayama
Ujjayi Pranayama involves a powerful breathing technique which can offer a wide range of benefits for the mind and body. The nose breathing technique helps to humidify the indrawn air and remove all mud particles before it can be taken in. This means that practitioners can breathe in pure air by performing Ujjayi Pranayama. The murmuring method involved in Ujjayi pranayama sound helps the bronchi to softly vibrate which helps to activate ciliate epithelial tissue. In the traditional modes of respiratory activities, the pressure exerted on the bronchi during exhalation is rather mild. Ujjayi Pranayama helps to maintain a steady level pressure on the bronchi during both inhalation and exhalation. It helps to counteract collapsing of smaller bronchi, thus allowing exhalation method to be swollen. The amount of residual air inside the lungs can also be reduced in this way. Ujjayi pranayama is quite helpful for people suffering from bronchial asthma or chronic respiratory conditions that hinder a healthy life.
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama
Here are the main benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama.
Ujjayi Pranayama can help you to enhance the focus of your mind.
Your body can become strong and healthy and you will enjoy great vigor.
The breathing technique associated with Ujjayi Pranayama helps to produce internal heat.
When practiced regularly, it brings inner peace, gets rid of depression and produces a positive attitude towards life.
It can help a lot in clearing the blocked arteries and manage blood cholesterol levels.
Removes sinus problems, cataracts, migraine and rheumatism
The pranayama technique can reduce the chances of heart attacks and heart diseases.
Prevents different types of thyroid problems
It can improve skin texture, skin color, complexion and smoothness.
It can make a person’s voice melodious and sweet; this makes it ideal for professional and aspiring singers
Ujjayi Pranayama can cure chronic cough and cold, liver problems, indigestion, fever, dysentery and various other diseases
It can rejuvenate and soothe the nervous system and is good for the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves.
It improves the functioning of the immune system.
Regularly practicing Ujjayi Pranayama can help in achieving sound sleep.
By slowing down the pace and speed of breathing, it can help in enhancing the lifespan of the practitioner.
Ujjayi Pranayama refreshes and cleanses the Nadis and helps in smooth flow of energy through the various subtle channels throughout the body.
By filling the body and mind fresh life force or prana, this pranayama can enhance the functioning of different parts of the body.
Increased prana can fill a person with a strong sense of joy, happiness, confidence, inspiration, motivation as well as a greater sense of purpose
It can fasten different types of healing inside the body.
It can help in boosting the faculty of memory as well as get rid of insomnia.
Practicing this pranayama can help a person to become more aware of his or her inner self.
Heightened self-awareness of the surroundings is achieved through this pranayama which prevents him or her from making serious mistakes in life.
Ujjayi Pranayama can improve heart rate, systolic pressure of the body.
It is ideal for people who are looking to meditate peacefully and work on activating Kundalini energy
It can help in boosting concentration power.
The breathing exercise can strengthen the digestive systems and also minimize sinus pressure.
The breathing technique can improve the lisping issues in children.
The pranayama technique can help in flushing toxins out of the body.
Tension and anxiety is relieved though Ujjayi Pranayama.
It can work well to resolve asthma and other types of respiratory problems and diseases.
Practicing this pranayama on a regular basis can ensure complete physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing for a person.
Precautions associated with Ujjayi Pranayama
The following precautions must be followed while practicing Ujjayi Pranayama.
Patients of hypertension and heart diseases must not practice Ujjayi Pranayama.
Do not continue with this pranayama if you suddenly feel dizzy. Instead, wait till you reach back to normal state and breathe normally.
Do not put undue force while carrying out the breathing process.
So now that you are familiar with the techniques and health benefits associated with Ujjayi Pranayama, go ahead and start practicing it on a regular basis. You can also ask your yoga teacher to guide you until you are able to do it on your own.