The victory or ocean sounding breath is focusing, grounding, and aids in concentration.
Ujjayi Pranayama is called the ocean sounding breath because you make an ocean sound by gently contracting the glottis during the inhalation and exhalation. Ujjayi Pranayama is also known as the hissing breath or the victorious breath. The Sanskrit word “ujjayi” is translated as “to conquer” or “to be victorious.” This correlates with this breathing technique’s ability to increase heat, prana, vitality, focus, and concentration. Ancient yogic texts state that Ujjayi breathing allows a yogi to become victorious over death and disease.
How to practice Ujjayi breathing
This pranayama is done through the nose, but it is helpful to begin practicing breathing through the mouth.
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- Begin in a comfortable seated position, such as Easy pose or Accomplished pose. Feel your spine long, and your chest open but have your body relaxed and your eyes soft or gently closed. Allow your jaw and your tongue to relax, and let your mouth drop open slightly.
- Inhale and exhale through your mouth, using deep diaphragmatic breathing. To make the ocean sound, whisper the syllable “h,” feeling the contraction in your throat. Keep this contraction engaged on the inhalation and exhalation. After a couple of breaths, try to close the mouth, breathing through the nose while still making the ocean sound in your throat.
- Work on creating a soothing and pleasing ocean sound and on increasing the length of your inhalation and exhalation. Do not strain or force the muscles in the neck. Gently and patiently explore and notice how to change the sound.
Ujjayi breath in yoga
Ujjayi breathing is one of the most common pranayamas used in hatha yoga classes. The ocean sound helps synchronize your movements with your breath and boosts your focus and contraction as you move through your flow. At first, it will be challenging to maintain a smooth and audible Ujjayi breath throughout your practice. If you begin to strain in your breath during challenging poses, back off on your effort. It is also okay to take a break from Ujjayi if it becomes difficult or distracting to maintain.