Lesson Learned: Ujjayi Breath

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If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breathAmit Ray

the intention

To bring a deeper awareness of the postures by internalizing attention.


Benefits of Ujjayi Breath


Let’s learn Ujjayi breath.  Unlike regular diaphragmatic breathing, where the throat is relaxed and the breath is silent, ujjayi uses an audible vibration with some purposeful tension.

This type of breathing during asana or some pranayamas soothes the nerves and calms the mind.  The sound naturally draws attention to the nerves and calms the mind.  The sound naturally draws attention to the breath and internalizes focus.  It also helps develop awareness of the subtle body and psychic sensitivity.

Plus, using ujjayi during asana practice is an excellent preparation for meditation.

Ujjayi requires breathing against the resistance of a constricted glottis — the aperture in the throat that opens and closes to hold the breath.  It is located just behind the Adam’s apple.  The closing of the glottis is what allows pressure to build up before a cough and closes when you hold liquid in your mouth to gargle.

Ujjayi has a very distinctive sound.  It sounds a little like the ocean waves.  The breath is deeper than normal.  The easiest way to deepen the breath is simply to expand the abdomen fully during inhalation and to contract it completely during exhalation.

so let’s learn Ujjayi Breathing


  1. Whisper “ha” with the mouth open on the exhale, and whisper “ah” on the inhale.  Then gradually close the mouth.  You should begin to feel the glottis.

  2. You’ll hear a short pause in the sound of ujjayi after inhalation and exhalation, but don’t allow a pause in the breathing itself.  Each inhale flows into the next exhale.

  3. Be attentive to the soothing effects on the mind and the nervous system.  We’re going to be working with ujjayi through most of our asana practice.

When possible, let life unfold organically, like a yoga pose.  It doesn’t mean dominating the situation or the body.  

As with each breath, experience the newness of now.

  1. Ujjayi helps promote internalization of the senses.
  2. Ujjayi is a combination of two Sanskrit words, ud meaning up and jaui, meaning victory.
  3. Be patient with yourself if you forget ujjayi after only a few breaths.  Continued practice will allow you to keep track of both the posture and the breath.

about the lesson learned series

Our blog series entitled Lesson Learned is designed from a teachers perspective. We see so much, feel so much and have learned so much. This is our sharing ground from the front of the room.

If you would like to read more from this series, please click here: http://yogasamatva.com/?s=lesson+learned

The light and love in me bows to the light and love in you.
Om. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.

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