Yogis have used the chanting of the divine sound of Om for thousands of years to induce meditation and create a spiritual connection. Udgeeth pranayama is an ancient breathing technique that uses the sound and vibration of the Om or Aum mantra as its focus. It is also called the chanting breath, and it is considered as one of the simplest pranayama breathing exercises. This basic yet powerful practice helps to clear your mind, remove negative thoughts, reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system.
What is udgeeth pranayama?
The word udgeeth means “deep and rhythmic chant” while pranayama means ‘breathing exercises’ or “mastery of breath and energy.” Udgeeth pranayama is a breathing exercise using the rhythmic chanting of the Om mantra. It originates from the word “udgitha” which was described in the Chandogya Upanishad, one of the oldest yogic texts. This scripture defines udgitha as the chanting of the mantra Om. It describes the deep rhythmic chanting of the sound of Om combined with the conscious control of the breath as the most powerful way to use the mantra.
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Benefits of udgeeth pranayama
There are several physical and spiritual benefits of udgeeth pranayama. The practice of this pranayama helps strengthen concentration and focus, especially where there are external noises to distract you. It also helps clear out negative thoughts and emotions like guilt, fear, anger, and sadness. A recent medical study showed this breathing practice can boost weight loss and strengthen the lungs by improving pulmonary function. Another study found chanting Om for 10 minutes improved attention, created a positive mood, and cultivated a sense of social cohesion. It also known to help reduce stress, improve breathing, promote peaceful sleep and increase energy levels. Spiritually, udgeeth pranayama can bring about a state of trance-like awareness and create a sense of unity between us and the universe.
Udgeeth pranayama instructions
Here are the six steps involved in chanting breathing. You can practice this pranayama for 2-10 minutes, 1-2 times per day.
- Sit in a stable and comfortable position with your spine straight and long. If seated on the floor, you can use a cushion or folded blanket under the back of the hips for support. If seated on a chair, make sure both feet are flat on the floor.
- Close your eyes or soften your gaze and start to take deep breaths through your nose. Allow your body to relax and bring your awareness to your breath. Make sure there is no tension in the shoulders, neck or face.
- Focus on using diaphragmatic breathing so that only the belly rises and falls with the breath. Begin to chant the mantra sound Om with each exhalation.
- Work on having the exhalations as long as possible without strain. Allow the breath to create the sound.
- As you chant Om focus on the vibration of the sound and the sensation of the breath. Experiment with having the sound loud enough to keep your attention focused on the practice.
- Repeat the chanting while keeping your breath slow and your attention focused. End the practice with a moment of silence to integrate your experience.
Breathing practice tips
- Breathing exercises should always be done in moderation, and without strain. If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and rest.
- When practicing any type of breathwork, it’s best to start out small and gradually increase time spent practicing each week.
- It’s recommended that you do not force yourself to breathe deeply if you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Instead, focus on relaxing your mind and body before beginning your session.
- Deep breathing techniques will help reduce stress levels and anxiety, but they won’t replace therapy or medication.
- If you have a medical condition, it is best to consult your doctor before starting any type of yoga or breathing exercise.