Ujjayi Pranayama: Procedure (Step-by-Step), Benefits & Precautions

Ujjayi Pranayama

Ujjayi Pranayama is a Sanskrit origin word. “Ujjayi” (pronounced oo-jai) comes from the Sanskrit prefix “ud” (उद्) and the root “ji” (जि). The Sanskrit word “Ujji” (उज्जि), means “to be victorious.” “Ud” means “bondage” or “binding,” as well as “upward” and “expanding.”
It suggests a sense of power and upliftment. ‘Jaya’ means victory and successor “to conquer” or “acquire by conquest.” Ujjayi (उज्जायी) means “one who is victorious.” Ujjayi breath means “breath of victory.” 
Hence, Ujjayi Pranayama or Ujjayi Breath is also known as Ocean Breath or Victorious Breath, which clears toxins out of the bodily system. This breathing technique is used throughout Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga practices.


“Ujjayi stretches the breath warms it before entering into the lungs and helps to build heat in the body. Through this heat, internal Agni (fire) is stoked, and a powerful healing process is unlocked.”
Ujjayi is one of the foremost necessary, nonetheless, one amongst the best pranayamas. It is practiced by contracting the glottis. Once done correctly, ujjayi sounds like a cat purring or light snoring.
When a healthy kid sleeps at nighttime, he invariably breathes by contracting his glottis, and you’ll be able to hear the breath in his throat.
Ujjayi could be a deep breathing practice that induces a meditative state. Ujjayi is formed by relaxing the breath instead of forcing it.
If you think about the throat and relax the breath, you may notice that you are breathing through the throat.
After all, the breath goes through the nostrils; however, the glottis is shrunk; thus, there is a light snoring sound.

How to do Ujjayi Pranayama?

The Sequence of steps:

  1. Starting Position: Begin seated in a comfortable or any meditative pose like Lotus pose (Padmasana) or easy pose (Sukhasana) and take a look to keep your spine erect, slowly relax your body and gently shut your eyes. Relax your jaw and your tongue. Inhale and exhale deeply, feel the air of your inhalations passing through your trachea. Keep your mouth closed, but your lips soft.
  2. On your exhalations, slowly and gently lower your chin towards your chest and slightly contract the back of your throat (the glottis– a section of the larynx).
  3. Start inhaling, slowly and rhythmically in one long and continuous inspiration.
  4. Allow the air to pass through the constricted throat, creating a “friction sound.” Remember one thing air should not feel inside the nose. As air touches the throat, a peculiar frictional sound will be produced.
  5. Concentrate on the sound of your breath; allow it to calm your mind. It should be perceptible to you.
  6. Let your inhalations fill your lungs to their fullest expansion until a sense of fullness is felt within the chest.
  7. Retain the inhaled air for a period of few seconds (preferably double the period of inspiration).
  8. Now breath out by closing your right nostril and exhale from the left nostril.
  9. Exhale as naturally as possible – gradually, avoiding jerky or hasty movements.
  10. Completely release the air throughout your exhalations.
  11. Now Take a few normal breaths and relax.

Recommended Practice

Initially practice daily, 3-4 rounds/session with a usual breathing pause in-between round. Increase your practice time to about five minutes daily. For more profound meditative experience, increase your time to 15 minutes.
At starting, begin with a count of 4 seconds inhalation and 8 seconds retention. Gradually increase it by 1-2 sec/every week, when practiced daily. Practice without strain to a count as per individual comfort

Best time for doing Ujjayi pranayama

  • Early in the morning at sunrise or evening at sunset.
  • After practicing Yoga.
  • Before doing meditation.

Also Read: Miraculous Benefits of Prithvi Mudra 

Ujjayi Pranayama Benefits and Cures

  1. Ujjayi pranayama acts as a miraculous remedy for thyroid issues.
  2. It helps to clear phlegm appetite.
  3. Ujjayi will increase the pressure of air within the lungs and expands the effective use of the lungs. This ensures the transfer of oxygen to every cell inside the lungs, instead of a considerably smaller percentage used during normal respiration.
  4. Increased oxygen transfer within the lungs enhances blood flow throughout the body, while the body is in an exceedingly relaxed state. The result is comparable to that achieved when the body is physically active, with the advantage of the full body being in an exceedingly relaxed state
  5. Conscious awareness is transferred into the unconscious mind that affects the nervous system governing respiration. A smooth rhythm is exerted on the nervous system that incorporates a profound result at the psychic level of the mind.
  6. It boosts the focusing power of the mind.
  7. Calms and Soothes mind so offers a positive attitude.
  8. It helps to dive into a deeper meditative state.
  9. There is an enrichment of the voice and makes the voice sweet and melodious.
  10. Best for those people that are in the singing profession.
  11. The contraction of the throat caused by ujjayi affects the carotid sinuses that regulate blood pressure within the arteries. Ujjayi exerts a small pressure on the carotid sinuses that, over time, lower the blood pressure that results in reduced tension and slows the thought processes of the mind
  12. All throat problems are cured
  13. It helps Stimulating and balances the thyroid. Thus prevent thyroid issues.
  14. The body becomes healthy, sturdy, and lustrous.
  15. Beneficial in chronic cold, cough, dyspepsia, liver issues, dysentery, fever, and other diseases.
  16. Very useful in asthma problems and alternative respiratory diseases.
  17. Dhatu shudhhi or purification of seven dhatus (elements) Skin, flesh, blood, bones, marrow, fat, and semen.
  18. Helps in cataracts and sinus issues, Rheumatism, and migraine conjointly.
  19. It helps to cure the Snoring problem.
  20. Improve lisping problems in children.

Swami Ramdev Video on Ujjayi Pranayama

Precautions

  1. It is best to perform breathing exercises for the first time under the guidance of a certified and knowledgeable teacher, particularly if you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or respiratory illness. It is best to practice ujjayi breathing under the guidance of a yoga/ Pranayama professional.
  2. It will be terribly beneficial if it is done on an empty stomach.
  3. Do Pranayama systematically according to the steps.
  4. Ensure: while sitting spine, head, and neck are maintained erect.
  5. During Bandha or breath retention, hold the breath according to your ability. If it is not possible, then do not hold your breath.
  6. Facial muscles are relaxed, and the nose is not constricted. Inhalation is slow and rhythmic, unbroken, and without jerks.
  7. Not recommended in serious cardiac and cardiovascular disease cases.
  8. Those people who are suffering from heart diseases & high blood pressure not to combine Bandha or breathe retention in Ujjayi Pranayama.
  9. Stop the exercise if you become faint or dizzy.
  10. Always work within your extent of limits and abilities. If you have got any medical issues, speak with your doctor before practicing yoga or take the assistance of Yoga teacher while doing Asanas and pranayama.

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