Breathing techniques

Three Techniques Of Ujjayi Breath (Ocean or Psychic Breath) and its Benefits

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Urdhva Ujjayi by Soonu

Ujjayi Breath – Psychic Breath – Ocean Breath

Ujjayi Pranayama is classified as a tranquilizing pranayama as it soothes the nervous system and calms the mind. It has a deeply relaxing effect at the psychic level and is therefore also called the psychic breath. This Pranayama leads to a subtle state of mind. The name Ujjayi is a Sanskrit word, which means “to conquer” or “to be victorious.” Therefore, it can also be called “Victorious Breath.” The practitioner of Ujjayi will have the feeling of victory and will get rid of fears, which can be the reason behind many ailments in the body.

Because of the sound it makes, this breath is also sometimes called “Ocean Breath” or “Hissing Breath.” A great part of Ujjayi is that it can be practiced in any position as per the need be. Like those suffering from the slipped disc can even practice it in Makarasana. Hath Yogi Nikam Guruji of Shri Ambika Yog Kutir, Thane has classified Ujjayi breath into three different techniques:

1.Ujjayi Breathing Basic

  • Spread a Yoga Mat and sit in any of the comfortable asanas like Padmasana, Vajrasana, Ardh-Padmasana or even Sukhasana on it.
  • Allow the hands to rest on the knees.
  • Relax the whole body and become aware of the natural breath in the nostrils.
  • Shift the awareness to the throat region and feel the breath flowing in the throat.
  • Develop the feelings that the breath is being drawn in and out through the throat.
  • Contract the throat.
  • A soft snoring sound will be produced, similar to that of breathing of a sleeping baby.
  • Let both inhalations and exhalations be deep and slow.
  • It is important that the breath should not be loud and it should be audible to the practitioner alone.
  • Repeat the process 5 to 10 times.

2.Ujjayi Breathing (MADHYA UJJAYI)

  • Sit comfortably in any preferred asana on a Yoga Mat with hands resting on the knees.
  • Put both the hands on the waist gripping at the place just below the place where the rib-cage ends.
  • Exhale forcefully.
  • Contract the throat and inhale deeply generating a soft snoring sound.
  • Exhale deeply through the contracted throat.
  • Continue with deep exhalations and inhalations contracting throat and generating the snoring sound.
  • On every inhalation develop the feeling that whole rib cage is filled with the breath.
  • While every exhalation empties the rib-cage of breath.
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Madhya Ujjayi
  • The contraction and expansion of the chest result in the generation of heat in the rib-cage further resulting in the elimination of a cough from it.
  • Repeat this process 5 to 10 times.

3.Ujjayi Breathing (URDHVA UJJAYI)

  • Sit comfortably in any preferred asana on a Yoga Mat with hands resting on the knees and spine erect.
  • Make a frame by crossing the arms in front of chest so that elbows of one arm are clasped by the opposite arm’s hands.
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Urdhva Ujjayi by Soonu
  • Exhale forcefully.
  • While inhaling raise the arms over the head stretching the lungs to the maximum.
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Urdhva Ujjayi stage 2
  • Exhale and bring down the arms at their starting position.
  • Repeat the process 5 to 10 times.
  • Urdhva Ujjayi clears the phlegm from the respiratory tract and throat.

After understanding three different techniques of Ujjayi Breath, Ujjayi Pranayama can be easily performed, which is as such:

How To Do Ujjayi Pranayama

  • Spread a Yoga Mat and sit in any of the comfortable Asana like Padmasana, Vajrasana, Ardh-Padmasana or even Sukhasana on it.
  • Allow the hands to rest on the knees.
  • Relax the whole body and become aware of the natural breath in the nostrils.
  • Shift the awareness to the throat region and feel the breath flowing in the throat.
  • Develop the feelings that the breath is being drawn in and out through the throat.
  • Inhale deeply while contracting the throat (glottis).
  • A soft snoring sound will be produced.
  • Close the right nostril and exhale slowly with the right nostril.
  • This is one spell of Ujjayi Pranayama.
  • Try 3 to 5 spells of it.

Ujjayi Breath Contraindications

  • Do not contract the throat too strongly.
  • Too strong contraction of the throat and the resulting friction with breath can harm the inner walls of the throat.
  • The contraction should be slight and tender and applied throughout the practice.
  • The best Ujjayi will be when the snoring sound is audible to the practitioner himself.

Ujjayi Breath Benefits

  • The efficiency of the lungs is enhanced by its practice.
  • Respiratory tract and throat are freed from phlegm by the practice of Ujjayi Breathing.
  • It is very good practice for regulating thyroid gland.
  • Ujjayi is very good for the eradication of sinus.
  • Ujjayi is best for patients with Asthma and heart ailments.
  • Excessive palpitation of the heart is relieved by its practice.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama removes fatigue and supplies instant energy to the practitioner.
  • It is useful for curing enlargement of the spleen.
  • As the name suggests, Ujjayi gives freedom from bondage.
  • Ujjayi Breath is a tranquilizing Pranayama and calms the mind, increase the concentration and remove stress.

To calm the mind and for Concentration, also practice –

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama &

Bhramari Pranayama

In tantric meditation, the Ujjayi is used together with Khechari Mudra, the tongue lock, when one practice Ajapa Japa, Mantra Japa, Kriya Yoga or even Prana Vidya.

The Ujjayi breath or Ujjayi Pranayama should be followed by either Om Chanting or Bhramari Pranayama as the throat is best toned up for these two Naad Yog Practices.

About the author

Mahendra Kumar Vyas

Mahendra Vyas, with parental home at Jodhpur and born to Late Shri Goverdhan Lal Vyas and Shrimati Sharda Vyas, did Civil Engineering from M.B.M.Engineering College, Jodhpur. Shifted to Mumbai after completing engineering and worked with Sanjay Narang's Mars Group and Aditya Birla Group. With an inclination to spirituality and service, joined the Yoga stream and became a part of Yoga Niketan, Goregaon (west) in 2002 and since then practicing and imparting Yoga knowledge at Yoga Niketan and different corporates.

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