One of the most common yoga breathing practices is the ujjayi breath, which means “victory breath”. Ujjayi Pranayama, which is often practiced in the classroom, promotes deep filling of the lungs. Ujjay is also often referred to as ocean breathing because the sound of the breath is similar to the sound of the sea when doing this practice.

In order to breathe ujjayi, you need to slightly narrow the glottis, creating air resistance. In this way, the air passes through the throat with a hissing sound, similar to the sound of waves breaking on the shore. The purpose of ujjayi practice is to calm the mind and focus on the breath. The noise of breathing and air resistance promotes concentration and allows the mind to be less distracted by thoughts. Long, slow breathing creates stillness of the mind, and the depth of inhalation and exhalation allows you to get in touch with inner strength. This practice is used to create a special meditative calm state during the practice of asanas.

How to practice

With your mouth closed, inhale slowly through your nose. When the lungs are filled to the top, take a short pause. As you exhale, gently squeeze your throat slightly and slowly expel the air from your lungs with a hissing sound like the sound of the sea. With each breath, expand your chest, completely filling your lungs with air. On each exhalation, completely squeeze all the air out of the lungs, drawing in the stomach. Both inhalations and exhalations should be long and deep. You can practice Ujjayi Pranayama both while doing asanas and in sitting meditation. It is also helpful to practice this breathing in any situation where you are feeling stressed as it calms the nervous system.