An Introduction to Types of Pranayama
Ujjayi Pranayama is the most accessible breathing techniques of all. Ujjayi is a process/technique in which the breath is expanded, and the practitioner feels a sense of victory or success. While breathing in, the chest expands or puffs up like a triumphant conqueror, hence the name Uj-jayi (uplifted conqueror). Ujaayi is engaged throughout several types of asana practices such as Vinyasa and Ashtanga, but can also be a practice of its own.
- Ujjayi pranayama can be practiced in Padmasana (lotus pose), Siddhasana (cross legged) Virasana (hero pose).
Arms are stretched out, wrists resting on the knees hands in Gyana Mudra.
- Eyes are softly closed so that the attention can be brought inward.
- Breathe out completely.
- With a steady pace slowly start to breathe in through the nose and being aware of the air entering the nose and touching the top of the palate. The breath here makes a “sigh”ing (sa) sound. The sound is faintly audible.
- Hold the breath for a second or two.
- After retaining the breath starts to exhibit a little slowly with a steady pace. While exhaling the breath should be felt brushing on the palate making a “ha” sound.
- Once again hold the breath for a second or two before starting the next breath cycle.
- One can start practicing with Ujjayi breath starting from 2 to 3 minutes and can build up to 10 to 15 minutes twice a day. This is the type of breath-work that can be practiced throughout the day.
- Strengthens the lungs
- Improve endurance
- Soothes the nervous system
- People suffering from high blood pressure can also practice Ujjayi in reclining position, keeping in mind not to hold the breath after inhalation or exhalation