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Pranayama Series: E1. Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breathing)

I often get questions pertaining to the topic of breathing and specifically how and when to breathe during yoga. There is some confusion of what type of pranayama should be used and at what point do you inhale or exhale.

Breathing is the most natural thing that you could possibly do, it is the first thing you experience when you are born and the last thing that you experience before you die. Without it you would not be here reading this blog.

It now becomes a question whether you are consciously aware of the breath or not. There are various types of breathwork techniques we call pranayama (prana = lifeforce, yama = observance) and applying the breath correctly depends on what is being practiced and what you are looking to experience.

The breath in yoga is considered a form of healing, purification and in some cases a source to access your inner power. Over this series I am going to explain the different types of breathing techniques that will help in reducing stress, managing your circulation and provide you with methods of centring and grounding during meditation. These ancient techniques will also increase your resistance to infection and the expansion of consciousness.

Your breath should be seamlessly divided into three phases:

1. Inhalation: Active and slightly contracted;

2. Exhalation: Passive and relaxed; and

3. Pause: Natural and effortless.

The exhales should be double the length if the inhales ensure a complete release of air from the lungs that will also deepen state of relaxation and discipline.

This video will explain Ujjayi Pranayama –(Victorious Breathing).

- Sit upright in a comfortable position;

- While seated in an upright and comfortable position, relax the shoulders, unclench the jaw and soften the eye sockets;

- Begin to gently close off 2/3rds of the back of the throat (Epiglottis). As you breath through the nostrils in a slow a committed pace you will produce an oceanic like sound that will reverberate in the throat and chest. This vibration will enhance your focus as well as heat the body form the inside.

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