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Ujjayi Breath

Posted by terrepruitt on May 30, 2018

I am looking through my posts because I was going to post about pranayama. As I am looking I don’t see that I posted how to do ujjayi breath. I mentioned it in one of my posts but I didn’t explain how to do it. The focus of that post is the possible benefits of it. I have a few posts on pranayama. Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga. It is a practice of controlling one’s breath, controlling the prana or life force. MANY people practice some form of breathing technique. Even if it is not really conscious. Sometimes we just slow down and take a breath. Well, yoga has an actual practice of it (pranayama) and they have several ways to practice pranayama. I have posted about the Equal Breath and Cooling Breath, but not about the type of breathing often recommended be used (that I know of) in many yoga classes. As I said I haven’t posted about ujjayi breath.

Are you familiar with ujjayi breathing? That is the breathing that makes a sound. Well, there are different theories on that (isn’t there on everything?). Some say it has to make a sound. Some think that you are not doing it right if you aren’t making a sound. Some say you don’t have to make a sound. Some say you shouldn’t be that loud. So, like so many things it can be done differently — sound, or no sound. I think that one can do it without making a loud sound, but some people really like to put it out there that they are doing their ujjayi breath. So, whatever.

In addition to the opinions about the sound, there are different ways to describe how to do it. Some people call it Ocean breath because they believe it sounds like the ocean when you are doing it. Some people call it Darth Vader breath because they think it sounds like Darth Vader. Some call it Victory Breath, and again, I am thinking that is because of the sound. There are many additional names for it, but it is ujjayi breathing.

One way to do it is to inhale through your nose then exhale through your mouth saying HAAAAAAAA. Do that a few times. Then inhale through your mouth, keep your mouth closed and exhale through your nose, but still “saying” HAAAAA. This is to help you with the sensation of the air passing through at the back of the throat. Ujjayi breath is breathing through the nose with the air passing through/over the back of the nasal passages and throat.

I also think of is somewhat like what Felix Unger, in the Odd Couple with Tony Randall, used to do. Remember his honking? But he used to open his mouth.

In my post I mentioned earlier, Breath: Quiet And Safe, I was explaining how it is believed this type of breathing tones the areas that relax and cause people to snore. So some believe this can help reduce snoring. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it is a nice way to breath during a yoga practice.

Do you practice pranayama?  Do you do ujjayi breathing during yoga?

6 Responses to “Ujjayi Breath”

  1. It is one of those breathing techniques I don’t think I’m doing right when I remember to do it. What I do in yoga is mainly a slower deeper breathing which is what I think I am usually prompted to do by the instructor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if you feel the air in the BACK of your nasal passage and throat and you hear a sound, then you are probably doing it right. 🙂 To me, as an instructor the MOST important thing is that the students ARE breathing. 🙂 Some people practice ujjayi and some don’t. So I generally instruct people to breath how they want and then go on to talk about ujjayi and nasal breathing. I think that the TYPE of yoga lends to the type of breath. Some poses require slower deeper breaths.

      In all the classes I teach the number one thing people ask me to do – remind them to breath.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not heard of ujjjayi breathing before but understand the importance of breathing in life. My wife and I are going on a yoga/ meditation retreat in Bali in a couple of weeks so we’re lookong forward to learn more (and feel more) about the benefits. Thanks for your post!

    Like

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