“Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is an ancient yogic breathing technique that helps calm the mind and body. Commonly translated as “victorious breath,” Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system and releases feelings of irritation and frustration.
Here is how to perform Ujjayi breath:
Take an inhalation that is slightly deeper than normal. With your mouth closed, exhale through your nose while constricting your throat muscles. If you are doing this correctly, you should sound like Darth Vader from Star Wars.
Another way to get the hang of this practice is to try exhaling the sound “haaaaah” with your mouth open. Now make a similar sound with your mouth closed, feeling the outflow of air through your nasal passages. Once you have mastered this on the outflow, use the same method for the inflow breath, gently constricting your throat as you inhale.
Try shifting into Ujjayi breath whenever you find yourself becoming aggravated or stressed, and you should notice a prompt soothing effect. If you practice yoga, focusing on Ujjayi breathing will help you stay focused and centered as you flow from one posture to the next.
Finally, Ujjayi is also useful when you’re doing aerobic exercise such as running or cycling. In fact, some Olympic-level athletes have introduced Ujjayi into their training routines to improve their respiratory efficiency. Experiment with this breath technique when you are working out and see if it reduces wear and tear on your body.” – The Deepak Chopra Center
If you can breathe, you can do yoga. Yoga is not about the physical postures. The physical postures are simply a part of your personal tool box that enhance your practice and bring you a sense of calm and relaxation. The physical postures will also help strengthen, tone, and bring forth flexibility to the physical body, but the physical postures are not the entire package of the practice of yoga. Think of the physical postures as the tip of the iceberg. The physical postures will be the starting point for many people in their practice of yoga, and they will certainly pave the road to something much bigger for yourself. By bigger, I am simply referring to anything you want it to be. It could be a calmer mind , a more compassionate attitude, healthier body, stronger connection to yourself and the world around you (spirituality ), etc.
It all starts with the breath. Your breath is your fuel for your practice. Practice it well, and all will happen. Ujjayi is used in all forms of yoga practices. Here at Cal Poly Pomona Yoga Club we practice hatha yoga. Think of Hatha yoga as the roots of a tree, and the various branches of that tree will include Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin yoga, Iyengar Yoga, etc, etc.
Much love, and namaste.