Ujjayi Pranayama

  1. Sit up straight in a comfortable position. 
  2. If you’ve never done this before, inhale through your nose, then exhale through your open mouth, slightly constricting your throat to make a soft sound, like the sound of a sleeping baby. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
  3. Now try it with your mouth closed. Inhale normally, then exhale through your nose, constricting your throat in the same way as before. You should still be able to hear the sound, though a little quieter than step 2. 
  4. Repeat, this time slightly constricting your throat on the inhalation as well as the exhalation to make the Ujjayi sound. 
  5. Continue to breathe slowly, deeply, and evenly in this way for as long as you like.

Hints

  • Do complete yoga breathing, inhaling first to the abdomen, then to the middle lungs, then the upper lungs. Exhale from the top down.
  • Feel where your throat constricts when you whisper “haaa” (as if you were creating steam on glasses to clean them). This automatically constricts the throat in the same way we do when we make the Ujjayi sound.
  • If you like, touch your fingers lightly to your throat as you do this. You should feel a very slight vibration. 
  • As you breathe in and out, feel the air pass across your palate or throat rather than in the nostrils.
  • Close your eyes to help you focus on your breath.
  • If your breath sounds jerky or strained, you are probably constricting your throat too much. It should be just a subtle contraction around the glottis, the place where you swallow.

Benefits

  • Eases tension, makes the mind more peaceful, relieves insomnia
  • Helps maintain a normal heart rate 
  • Soothes the nerves 

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