The Why & How of Ujjayi Breath in Yoga

Yoga is the unity of mind and body and to achieve this unity, we often focus on our breath as we move through postures. Previously, I talked about How Pranayama Breathing Relieves Anxiety, but now let’s look at a type of Pranayama known as Ujjayi breath. In Sanskrit, Ujjayi breath means “victorious breath.”

Ujjayi breath is relatively easy to practice by constricting the back of the throat (just as you would while whispering) and forcing the breath to pass through the nostrils. The breath can be heard, and some compare it to the sound of the ocean. You may hear some practitioners even refer to this type of breathing as “ocean breath.”

Happy breathing

There are a number of benefits to this type of breathing, including:

  • This type of breathing helps balance our chakras, or “energy centers” in the body
  • Ujjayi breath is calming
  • It helps in regulating blood pressure
  • It helps the lungs work freely to pass air to all parts of the body (even off the mat)
  • Aids in concentration and focus (you can hold a pose longer while using Ujjayi breath!)
  • It can release tension in tight areas of the body
  • Strengthens the nervous and digestive system
  • Helps relieve headaches and sinus pressure
  • It regulates the heat throughout the body

While any type of healthy breathing is beneficial to the body, we can practice different types of breathing during our yoga practice to benefit not just the body, but also the mind!

Namaste,

Tina

Meditation and breathing

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