One of the most important elements in yoga practice is the breath. Ujjayi means "victory" in Sanskrit, so this is the breath of victory. Ujjayi warms the breath as it enters the lungs, helping to build heat in the body so that stretching is safer and the inner organs can be cleansed of any toxins that have accumulated. Through this heat, the internal agni or ‘fire' is stoked, and a powerful healing process is unlocked.
✔ Calms the mind and the body
✔ The breath becomes a focal point which increases the concentration
✔ Meditation practice becomes easier to concentrate
✔ Stimulates Circulation and metabolism
✔ Increases prana
✔ Come to a seated position.
✔ Lay your hands in a comfortable place on your knees or your lap.
✔ Close your eyes and turn your focus inward.
✔ Lift your chest, roll your shoulders back and down, reach the crown of your head towards the sky as you ground through your sit bones.
✔ Take notice of your breath.
✔ Start to deepen and slow it down as you relax into your seat.
To start Ujjayi breath, inhale as you constrict the back of your throat making a whispering "huh" sound. Start practicing first with your mouth open. Then do the same as you exhale. When you feel you have practiced enough, close your mouth keeping the same constriction as you continue breathing. Begin to even out your inhales and exhales. Inhale as you count to five and exhale as you count back down to one as this will help your breathing stay even.
This is ujjayyi breath. You know you are doing it right if your breath sounds like the ocean. With experience, your breath will become refined so that it is only audible to you and maybe the person next to you.
For beginners it is common to emphasize the exhalation, but eventually, the goal is to have an equal inhalation and exhalation, with the ujjayi sound on the inhale and the exhale.
Co-written by guest blogger Monique Berg & Dr. Nancy