DEMYSTIFYING: Ujjayi Breathing ~ The Oceanic Breath

How often do you go to a class and the teacher asks you to do an ‘ooo-JAH-hee’ breath with very little explanation as to how and why?

In this episode of Demystifying Yoga, I take the time to help you understand how to do this Ujjayi Pranayama* practice. We will also cover why it is beneficial to practice Ujjayi breathing in our yoga practice. 

Some of the benefits to Ujjayi breathing are:

  • Relaxing the nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve

  • Allowing you to become more present

  • Connecting movement with breath

  • Controlling the rate of our breathing

We will also practice an extended exhale with the Ujjayi breath. This will extend the benefits of the practice and help keep you present as you become familiar with this breathing technique. 

I do go into detail during the video, so if you would just like to skip straight to the practice skip to 06:26 in the video. 

STEPH’S TIP : This extended exhale exercise is just what I need if I am struggling to go to sleep or get back to sleep after waking at night. It is especially helpful if my mind is busy or my body is cold. Afterwards, I’m relaxed, my body warms, and I drift off to enjoy some sweet, sweet ZZZZs. 

For the extra curious ones out there, who love the nitty gritty detail like me and want to know what part of the throat is actually activating to make the sound, it is called glottis. When we slightly close the glottis or as I suggest in the video constrict the back of the throat. We are actually half closing the glottis to create the ‘Ha’ sound.

*Pranayama means Breathing in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a language of ancient India in which yoga was first practiced and later written about.

Thank you for joining me today as we demystify this yoga world and make it more accessible for you to get the benefits of your yoga practice.

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