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Understanding the Ujjayi Breath

Understanding the Ujjayi Breath
Ever heard your Yoga Teacher talking about the Ujjayi Breath in your yoga class?
Ever wondered if you’re even doing the right thing?

Here is a video I created just for you with some insight into this common form of pranayama:

To aid you further, here is an extract from one of my favourite books which gives an eloquent description of this type of Pranayama which is used in many styles of yoga, particularly Vinyasa Yoga:

To regulate the breath during the practice of asanas, the technique of ujjayi breathing is important. In ujjayi breathing you constrict your vocal cords slightly as you breathe so that you can feel the air as it flows past. A slight hissing sound often results—the more you constrict your throat and force your breath, the louder the sound. Conversely, the more finely you control your breath, the softer the sound. The goal is not to create a lot of sound but rather less sound. With practice and greater control, you should be able to breathe slowly and very smoothly. Then the sound will diminish and you can direct your attention to a more subtle indicator: the internal sensation of your breath flowing. Krishnamacharya used to give the standard instruction, “Feel a rubbing sensation in the throat”.

A. G. Mohan, “Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings” (p. 24)

Do you have any questions or concerns about the ujjayi practice? Feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’d love to be of help! 

2 Responses to Understanding the Ujjayi Breath

  1. Ujjayi breath is a very powerful too. I find that the cue to slightly constrict your vocal cords is not understood by most. Paul Harvey suggests making a silent haa sound through the mouth, gradually closing the mouth until you are exhaling through the nostrils. The breath can then be done through the nostrils without the use of the mouth.

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