The most common form of pranayama is Ujjayi. Also known as “Victorious Breath,” this breathing technique empowers you by being both calming and energizing. It involves breath that rolls in and out of the back of your throat like ocean waves. Let’s look at exactly what Ujjayi breathing is and how it can be practiced anywhere to soothe your nerves.
What is Ujjayi?
Ujjayi is a pranayama breathing technique that uses the diaphragm and requires a gentle restriction of the flow of air at the back of your throat. To practice Ujjayi, start in a seated, relaxed position. When you’re first starting out, you can breathe in through your nose then out through your mouth with a gentle “huh” sound (like you’re fogging up a mirror). Once you have a hang of this, you can begin to do this same thing with your lips closed.
The more you practice pulling in and pushing air out of the back of your throat, the more you’ll be able to lengthen and smoothen your breath. Once you have a hang of Ujjayi breathing in a seated position, you can incorporate it into your asana practice for an even more soothing experience during high-stress moments.
Deep Breaths for Soothed Nerves
Whenever we get stressed, fight or flight mode kicks in, causing our heart rate to increase, our muscles to tense, and our breathing to shallow out. These physical reactions create racing thoughts and extreme emotions. Ujjayi breathing forces your breathing to even out so every part of your nervous system slows down. Studies have shown that this breathing technique can release tension from your body, reduce your stress, and improve your sleep. Once you have this pranayama practice down pat, it’ll be a practice you use whenever your stress response is triggered. Instant calm, when you need it most.
Practice It Anytime, Anywhere
The beauty of Ujjayi breaths is that they can be taken anywhere, anytime. When you begin to feel overwhelmed or stressed, you can pause what you’re doing wherever you are – whether that’s at your desk or in the middle of the grocery store – and breathe. The soft roar of your breath and the flow of oxygen will ease your mind and provide clarity.
Victorious Breaths to Conquer Any Moment
An important pranayama technique to have in your back pocket, Ujjayi breathing soothes your nerves so you can be at your best in any situation. When you begin to feel your stress response kicking in, use this breathing technique to anchor your mind. For even more stress relief, combine Ujjayi breaths with Health Yoga Life’s yoga classes, which are taught by certified instructors. Sign up here!