Ujjayi, or Victorious Breath, involves contracting the throat slightly as you breathe in and out. This creates invigorating heat in the throat region and the hot air that passes through the respiratory passages helps to dry these passages and remove dampness.
Ujjayi is therefore very good for the removal of phlegm, cold, mucus and damp from the body. It also helps with tonsillitis, weak digestion, neurological tremors and oedema (due to its drying effect).
- If you can, have a clock that ticks audibly so that you can keep a track of the seconds. If not, then don’t worry, just try to maintain an even interval of about one second between each count.
- Sit in meditation posture, with the spine held upright, and the mouth and eyes closed. Keep the chin parallel to the floor, the shoulders relaxed, the hands on the knees, or the lap, with the palms turned up.
- Engage the throat muscles as though you are just about to swallow or whisper. A slight hissing sound, often compared with the sound of the ocean, will be heard in the throat area as the breath flows in and out when these muscles are engaged correctly.
- Keeping the throat muscles engaged for the entire duration of your Ujjayi Pranayama practice, lightly contract the abdominal muscles and breathe into the chest for 5 seconds. Retain the breath for 5 seconds, then exhale for 5 seconds. This is one complete Ujjayi breath.
- Perform 6 – 12 Ujjayi breaths. As you do your cycles, keep the breath even and steady. Depending on your capacity, you can increase the duration of your inhalations, retentions and exhalations.
- To finish, allow the breathing to return to normal and observe how you are feeling for a few moments before opening your eyes. Remain in the state of calmness for as long as you can after coming out.
The instructions given above combine Ujjayi with Trinity Breath. You could change the duration from 5 seconds to 8 seconds or longer, depending on your capacity. Remember to work within your limits when determining the length of the inhalations, retentions and exhalations. Never hold for so long that you feel any strain or tension. Alternatively, you could choose to practice Ujjayi without any retention of the breath, especially in the early stages of your practice.