Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai ) is commonly translated as “victorious breath,” and is also referred to as “oceanic breath,”.
The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against this resistance creates a well-modulated and soothing sound—something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out.
If you’re doing this correctly, you should sound like waves in the ocean—the 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. Some people compare Ujjayi breathing to Darth Vader from Star Wars, if that’s helpful.
When to Use Ujjayi Breath
When you’re agitated: Since the Ujjayi breath is especially good for settling agitation and stress, and balancing the mind, try shifting into Ujjayi breath whenever you find yourself becoming aggravated or stressed. You should notice a soothing effect promptly.
When exercising: Ujjayi is also useful when you’re doing aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. In fact, some Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to improve their respiratory efficiency. Experiment with this breath technique when you’re working out and see if it reduces wear and tear on your body.
When you’re nervous: The slow and rhythmic nature of the Ujjayi breath is incredibly helpful to calm nerves. Next time you find yourself with a case of the jitters, try some yogic breathing to settle the worries.
Benefits of Ujjayi Breath
Ujjayi breath has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With ujjayi , there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the ujjayi breath:
- Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Builds internal body heat
- Relieves tension
- Encourages free flow of prana
- Regulates blood pressure
- Builds energy
- Detoxifies mind and body
- Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities