Ujjayi-Pranayama - the victorious breath
You're wondering what's with that hissing noise that can be heard in some yoga classes? Today we want to introduce you to Ujjayi breathing, a breathing exercise with which you can easily experience the effect of breathing for yourself.
Ujjayi Pranayma - The Victorious Breath
The Ujjayi breathing is one of the basic exercises in yoga, but it appears in almost every yoga class. With the help of Ujjayi-Pranayama you will learn to positively influence your otherwise rough and often uncontrolled breathing and to calm your thoughts. Breathing is also often explained with a gentle sound of the sea or the fricative sound. Translated, Ujjayi means "victorious" and it means that we gain or regain control of our breath.
Guide to Ujjayi Breathing
As a first step, just imagine that you are breathing on a mirror. In Ujjayi breathing you do exactly that, only with your mouth closed. This creates a subtle hissing sound in your throat. Try exhaling first, and once you're comfortable with that, continue breathing with the murmur as you inhale. Then, relax and let your breathing become longer and more subtle. What happens anatomically here is a narrowing of the glottis, which means you can control your air better and the air flow becomes finer and longer. Something very similar also happens when singing or whispering. Additionally, the noise that is created provides an acoustic anchor point for your presence.
The Effect of Ujjayi Breathing
Breathing in and out through your nose also keeps heat in your body. Yoga asanas have a cleansing effect on the body and you can support this with Ujjayi breathing. This becomes clear when you hold your palm about one centimeter in front of your nose and breathe out once with your breath and your mouth open. This airflow feels warm and slightly damp. For comparison, keep your mouth closed and exhale through your nose onto your palm. This air, in turn, is much cooler and drier because the heat and moisture stays inside you. Breathing not only warms up the body, but energizes you and has a calming effect on your mind.
You can incorporate Ujjayi breathing into both your yoga and meditation practice. However, keep in mind that it is a very soft, subtle sound and not a spasmodic gasp. It should not make you feel stressed at any time, but should support you in your practice. When in doubt: less is more! Respect your limits and gently expand them with daily, mindful practice. Just a few rounds of this breathing and you will feel centered and grounded.
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