What is Ujjayi Pranayama? (also referred to as Ujjayi breath)
Many beginner students often ask, “What is this strange Ujjayi Pranayama breathing technique?” As a beginning yoga practitioner, it might seem odd that some of your fellow students sound like Darth Vader while they’re practicing. Here’s the explanation:
In Sanskirt, the word ujjayi means victory. Ujjayi or victory breath is a type of pranayama (controlled breathing) in which you breathe in a constant, even rhythm through both nostrils, holding your glottis partially closed.
Yes, when done “correctly,” it can sound like Darth Vader although some advanced practitioners are able to silently utilize the Ujjayi breath.
This method of breathing can be easily learned within just a few practices.
You can practice Ujjayi breath throughout the entire Ashtanga yoga series and other yoga practices if you want to increase the lucidity of your practice.
As a great teacher once taught me, there’s really no reason to open the mouth during a yoga practice. The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating & drinking. (Intuitively, this makes sense as our noses have the ability to filter air whereas our mouths do not)
Here is a video of Kino McGregor teaching Ujjayi Pranayama:
Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama include:
- increased concentration during practice
- more inward focus
- less distractions
- released tension