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Ujjayi Pranayama(Ocean Breath) - Types and Benefits

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Introduction

Yoga teaches its practitioners a number of breath control techniques and each of these seeks to address different aspects of the mind and body. This write-up seeks to walk you through all that the Ujjayi Pranayama breathing technique entails.

What is Ujjayi Pranayama?

When translated to English, Ujjayi Pranayama means “breath of victory”. This breathing technique is aptly named as the manner in which it causes the belly and chest to expand enhances one’s confidence much like a victorious warrior. This breathing technique is also called “Ocean Breath” as it causes the air to move within the throat such that it creates a sound similar to that of waves in the ocean.

Types of Ujjayi Pranayama

Ujjayi Pranayama exists in only one form. However, practitioners can modify this breathing technique in the following way.

Ujjayi Pranayama with Khechari Mudra

Here, the practitioner must roll his/ her tongue back and place it such that it lies against his/ her palate while performing Ujjayi Pranayama.

Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama

Ujjayi Pranayama benefits practitioners in several ways. Some of the more prominent benefits associated with this breathing technique have been examined below-

  • Enhances Awareness

Ujjayi Pranayama is associated with steadiness, sound, and breath. Each of these elements help connect the mind, body, and spirit with the present moment. By connecting these elements to the present moment, Ujjayi Pranayama enhances the practitioner’s sense of awareness.

  • Helps you Focus

Ujjayi Pranayama allows you to stay focused and centred as you move from one yoga pose to another.

  • Builds Endurance

This breathing technique instills in yogis a spirit of endurance and brings about a meditative quality as it creates and helps maintain a rhythm.

  • Makes Stretching Easier

Ocean Breath helps prepare the body to perform yoga postures as it creates heat within the body. This heat allows you to stretch with greater ease. It also cleanses your organs and helps remove toxins from the body.

  • Relaxes the Body

Ujjayi Pranayama helps your body unwind and relaxes tightly bound areas of your body.

  • Slows Down your Breath

This form of controlled breathing slows down the pace of breathing which is believed to help increase your lifespan.

  • Nervous System

It helps soothe the nervous system and rejuvenates it.

  • Improves the Quality of Sleep

Ujjayi Pranayama promotes sound sleep and helps control snoring.

  • Helps with Challenging Yoga Asanas

This breathing technique encourages practitioners to take in full, deep breaths which are most helpful when they are required to do challenging yoga poses as they help the practitioners gain stability. It also allows them to hold these poses for longer periods of time.

How to Practise Ujjayi Pranayama?

Ujjayi Pranayama can be practised by following the steps listed below-

 

Step 1. Adopt a seated stance which allows you to keep your shoulder relaxed and away from your ears. Your spine should be erect and your eyes should be closed. In order to prepare to do Ujjayi Pranayama, you must become aware of your breath without attempting to control it in any capacity. Now, you must begin to inhale and exhale through your mouth in case you were previously breathing through your nose.

 

Step 2. Focus on your throat. With each exhale, you must attempt to tone the back of your throat (i.e., your glottis). You can do this by slightly limiting the passage of air. In your attempt to do this, you should notice that your throat produces a soft hissing sound.

 

Step 3. Once you are able to comfortably constrict your throat with each exhale, begin to apply this slight contraction each time you inhale. This contraction should also produce the same soft hissing sound. These sounds are the reason why this breathing technique is called ‘Ocean Breath’.

 

Step 4. Once you are able to control your throat each time you inhale and exhale, you must close your mouth and begin to breathe through your nose. You must continue to tone your throat in the same manner as you previously did when your mouth was open. This form of breathing will continue to produce a noise despite the fact that you are now breathing through your nose. This is the very essence of Ujjayi Pranayama and is called an ‘ujjayi breath’.

 

Step 5. You must continue to breathe in and out in this fashion. If your yoga teacher instructs you to move on an inhale you must produce an ujjayi inhale. This breathing technique can be used to help support you in maintaining other yoga poses.

Beginner’s Tip for Ujjayi Pranayama

Beginners must only attempt to practise Ujjayi pranayama under the guidance of a seasoned yoga teacher. It is important that beginners understand that this breathing technique should only be attempted when they are in a comfortable and relaxed state. Breathing techniques like Ujjayi Pranayama are learnt and mastered over time, so beginners must not get disheartened if they are unable to perform this breathing technique in one go.

How Often Should I Do Ujjayi Pranayama?

Ujjayi Pranayama can be practised for five minutes while seated. Those seeking to partake in a deeper meditation can increase this practice time to 15 minutes.

Some of the most seasoned practitioners do close to 320 rounds of Ujjayi Pranayama in a day which are broken up into four sittings of 80 rounds each over the course of a single day.

Precautions to Take to Perform Ujjayi Pranayama

Prior to attempting to perform Ujjayi Pranayama, it is highly recommended that you take into account the following considerations.

 

  • People who have been diagnosed with any underlying heart conditions as well as those who have high blood pressure should not attempt to perform Ujjayi Pranayama.

  • While this breathing technique calls on practitioners to tone their throats, they must ensure that they don’t tighten their throat. Instead, they must only produce a slight constriction.

  • Practitioners must only perform Ujjayi Pranayama as long as it is comfortable for them to do so. The minute they feel strained, they must stop.

  • This breathing technique must only be performed on an empty stomach.

  • Beginners must only attempt to perform Ujjayi Pranayama under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher.

Conclusion

Ujjayi Pranayama provides yoga practitioners with many benefits, owing to which many practitioners incorporate it into their lives. In a similar fashion, many people incorporate a number of exercises and dietary patterns in an attempt to lead a healthy lifestyle. However, despite these precautions people can still end up falling sick. In order to be prepared for such scenarios, individuals must consider purchasing a good health insurance plan. The value of such plans lies in the fact that they can provide coverage in the event that a policyholder falls sick or sustains an injury.

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FAQs on Ujjayi Pranayama

  • ✔️ What does Ujjayi Pranayama mean in English?

    Ujjayi Pranayama means “breath of victory” in English.

  • ✔️What sound is similar to the sound produced by Ujjayi Pranayama?

    When a person practises Ujjayi Pranayama, their throat produces a sound that is similar to the sound produced by waves in the ocean.

  • ✔️Can Ujjayi Pranayama be performed on its own or does it have to be performed with a number of different yoga poses?

    Ujjayi Pranayama can be performed on its own. It can also be performed prior to doing different yoga poses. Furthermore, practitioners can perform this breathing technique while they practise a yoga pose such that they can maintain their position for a longer period of time. 

  • ✔️Can you learn to do Ujjayi Pranayama on your own?

    You must not attempt to learn to do Ujjayi Pranayama on your own. You should only attempt to learn this breathing technique under the supervision and guidance of a trained yoga instructor.

  • ✔️Briefly mention three benefits associated with the practice of Ujjayi Pranayama?

    Three benefits associated with the practise of ujjayi pranayama have been mentioned below.

    • Ujjayi Pranayama helps your body unwind and relaxes tightly bound areas of your body.

    • It helps soothe the nervous system and rejuvenates it.

    • It promotes sound sleep and helps control snoring.