Have you ever wondered what in the world they are doing?
Well, my friend, that is ujjiayi or victorious breath and the cornerstone of a vinyasa yoga practice.
The sound you are creating with ujjayi is like a whisper.
- Hold your palm up a few inches in front of your mouth. Imagine your palm is a mirror. As you exhale through the mouth try to fog up the "mirror." Practice this for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Now imagine there is a mirror on the back of the inside of your throat. As you inhale through the mouth, try to fog up that "mirror." Practice this for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Once you get the hang of this breath through your mouth, try it through your nose. You will find ujjayi by gently constricting the opening of the throat.
If you feel light headed at any point take a couple of regular breaths. Then continue practicing.
Once you get the hang of this breath while sitting, see if you can add it into your asana practice at home or during class. Start practicing it during downward facing dog or another pose that isn't too strenuous. Then incorporate it into standing sequences or while practicing more challenging poses.
We practice ujjayi for a number of reasons:
- Calms the nervous system—a deeply relaxing breath.
- Builds heat—great for keeping the body warm for physical poses and burning off toxins or negative energy in the body.
- Enables focus—being able to hear the breath gives the mind something to focus on.
If you enjoyed this post, check out Learn to Breathe: Alternatate Nostril Breathing or Breathing to Reduce Stress and Anxiety.