Ujjayi Breath

Ujjāyī : ooh-JAI-yee

The breath training of the class. Ujjayi is the type of breathing technique we use as we move through our postures, this alone can simultaneously relax and energize you. It includes an inhale through the nostrils and an exhale through the nostrils. That may sound simple but without practice it can be rather difficult to find and perform while in a physical bind (one hand hooked under the leg to the other over the back).

Physical Benefits:

The vagus nerve is the heart of the parasympathetic nervous system. It’s the 10th cranial nerve and it controls the organs of maintenance – the heart, digestion, breathing and glands.

One way Ujjayi breath creates physical changes in the body is by regulating the heating of the body. The friction coming from the air passing through the throat and lungs generate internal body heat.

Ujjayi can calm the nervous system. Because Ujjayi breath stimulates the Vagus nerve, it gives a calming sensation to the nervous system.

According to the National Center on Health, a Yoga practice including Ujjayi breath may improve your concentration, sleep, and help manage stress.

Spiritual Benefits: Ujjayi breath, being the breath that carries life force, inspires deep inward exploration. Because of the controlled rhythm practitioners are able to maintain focus but like all elements of yoga, it requires practice, patience, and an open mind and heart.

Practice the technique:

In ujjayi breathing, both inhalation and exhalation are done through the nose. 

As you inhale and exhale:

  • Keep your mouth closed.
  • Constrict your throat to create an ocean sound coming in and out.
  • Use your diaphragm to house the oxygen.
  • Keep your inhalations and exhalations equal in duration.
  • Keep the tongue neutral, if difficult keep the tip of tongue to the bottom of the teeth.  

When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.