Ujjayi is a Sanskrit word that is comprised of two words:
-“Uj” which is a prefix that means moving upward,
-“Jaya” which means conquest or victory.
Hence, the word Ujjayi means the “one who is victorious”, and the Ujjayi Breath means the “victorious breath”.
The other reason why Ujjayi is termed so is that it is essentially a method via which the lungs are expanded fully in all directions, and the chest expands as well as move upwards which is similar to that of a victorious warrior.
Ujjayi pranayama stretches as well as warms the breath before it enters into the lungs. This assists in generating heat which is effective in getting rid of toxins present in the body.
Both inhalation and exhalation are performed through the nostrils. The breath is directed to the throat’s back while it constricts the muscles which cause a hissing sound similar to the sound of an ocean which is why it is also known as Ocean Breath. As the throat’s passage is made narrower, the airspeed is increased.
This pranayama requires mild glottis contraction along with upper opening part of your larynx and closing partially it through the epiglottis just like it generally happens while swallowing. By doing this during inhalation and exhalation of the air through both of the nostrils, a “sound of hissing ”- like an aspirant “hhh” sound is produced.
However, this sound shouldn’t be too strong as it might bring strain to the vocal chords, but it should just be audible to the practitioner. Both inhalation and exhalation should be, long as well as deep, and in the ratio of 1:2.
Ujjayi pranayama can easily be done for any length of time. It can be as few as 12 cycles on a regular basis which provides immense benefits to you but if it is practiced for 10-12 minutes daily the effect is transformative. No matter what time length you maintain, it is essential that the breath should remain slow, fluid, gentle as well as relaxed throughout the practice.
When you are ready to complete the practice, do it by complete exhalation and then release the constriction at the throat’s back and then finally complete one or two more full Yogic Breaths. Then, bring your breath back to the normal. Take a moment in order to notice the effects of the practice.
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath)
- It slows down the pace of the breath which is said to improve the longevity of the life.
- It cleanses as well as refreshes the Nadis which are subtle channels of the body.
- It promotes mental clarity along with focus.
- It is quite beneficial in enhancing memory.
- It also improves skin color and its complexion.
- It soothes and rejuvenates the nervous system.
- It also promotes sound sleep.
- This pranayama fosters a profound sense of relaxation as well as calmness in the mind and the body.
- It infuses the mind and the body with fresh prana, which is the vital life force.
- A focused Ujjayi breath can release the tension and tight areas of the body.
- The additional benefits of this pranayama include, relief of sinus pressure, diminished pain due to headaches and strengthening of the digestive as well as nervous systems.
Precautions for Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath)
- People who are suffering from any heart disease and high blood pressure shouldn’t combine Bandha and breathe retention in this pranayama.
- In case you feel dizzy then stop practicing this pranayama immediately and start normal breathing.
- Don’t tighten your throat during this pranayama.
- The proportion of breathing shouldn’t be forced under any circumstances.
- Breathing should always be steady as well as smooth and rhythmic.
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