In yOga (see sanskrit transliteration scheme), prANAyAma (control of life-force through breath) is an important and ancient conglomeration of techniques to promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and enlightenment. In a previous article in this series, I have discussed a 3-part deep abdominal breathing technique.
In this article, I will discuss ujjAyI prANAyAma or Victorious Breathing technique.
This breathing technique can also be done in either “sitting up” or “lying down on back” positions. As you gain experience, you should do this in the sitting upright position.
Ocean Sound, Victorious Breathing or ujjAyI prANAyAma Technique
This technique builds upon the previously discussed technique 3-part deep abdominal breathing technique.
Time for Practice
- Practicing on an empty stomach is the best, especially in the beginning stages of the practice. If you are going to do this after eating, then you won’t be able to do the deep breathing without hurting yourself. So be careful.
- Whenever you feel fatigued and require a boost in energy and would like to calm your mind and body.
- Expand lung capacity
- Strengthen lungs
- Give more oxygen to the body
- Expel stale air in the lungs due to prolonged shallow breathing
- Prepares you for advanced breathing techniques
- Slows down your breath rate
- Opens your inner sense of hearing, so you can hear your higher self communicating
- Awakens and balances the throat cakra.
- Improves overall health
A Cautionary Note
- This deals with the throat cakra which when balanced promotes self-expression, fearlessness, courage, balanced speech, etc. However, in most of us this cakra is imbalanced which results in fear of self-expression and self-doubt, imbalanced speech patterns like too much long winded talking (which is, usually, a result of fear and self-doubt). When this cakra goes through a cleansing process, these suppressed fears may surface. They may come up as real fears for no reason, or physical pains around the neck, throat and shoulder areas, or thyroid problems, etc. During this time one must fully face these emotions and pains, and not suppress them again by distracting themselves from these emotions by some other means. You need to carefully watch them, express them (not to others, though). This is true for any of the spiritual techniques that deal with cleansing of the emotions.
- If you feel dizzy or have a headache at anytime, rest for five minutes and then try again. Listen to your body and do not push it.
- Also, follow the notes given in 3-part deep abdominal breathing technique
The 10-minute Technique
- Clear you lungs by first deeply exhaling all the air out
- Start with three (3) minutes of 3-part deep abdominal breathing technique
- Now, continue the deep breathing technique, but add the following to it.
- Start making ocean sound by slightly constricting the glottis in the throat (airway constriction) during inhalation and exhalation. Do not strain, it should be very light constriction.
- Deeply listen to that ocean sound. Feel it all around you and inside you. Listen to that sound to be coming from outside as well as from inside.
- At the same time focus on the breath as well.
- If you are comfortable, add the khecari mudra by lifting your tongue up and touching tip of the tongue to the soft palate on the roof and slightly to the back of the mouth. This is also discussed in 3-part deep abdominal breathing technique
- Continue this for five (5) more minutes.
- Do not end the breathing technique after an exhalation, but end it at the end of the inhalation, i.e., after you take deeper inhalation, just release the air to naturally go out on its own.
- Sit for two (2) minutes silently with your eyes closed. Just observe (witness) your inner state. Observe the state of your mind and breath. No need to focus on anything or modify anything. Just relax and just be there.
- Take a deep breath and exhale bringing awareness to your body. Rub your palms vigorously to produce heat. Cup your eyes with your warm palms, slowly rub them and rub your face, open your eyes and get up.
- (Optional) If you perform yOga nidra or yOgic Rest technique, you would benefit the most, now that you are much calmer after the breathing technique.
Update: Using “<em>…</em>” tags in the title was causing problems with the layout of tags pages (possibly because of the interaction with the “InSeries” plugin). Removed these tags.
I love this pranayama. Great article, very clear and easy to follow. I can’t stop doing it now :-). Any details on why you would not end on an exhalation?
I am glad you like it! 🙂
In the book, “Light On Pranayama,” B.K.S. Iyengar states that one should not stop pranayama after an exhalation because it weakens one’s heart. I don’t have practical experience with that. 🙂 So, as a caution I included it.
In Babaji’s Kriya Yoga , we are not taught that. However, by the end of the last round of Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, my body automatically takes another inhalation, so I guess it is body’s natural tendency after a strenuous pranayama round to do that and it was just made explicit in the pranayama book mentioned above (and I included that as well, as a precaution).
Thanks for the insightful article. Any idea if someone teaches these techniques in the seattle area?
Thanks for the appreciation. I am planning to start teaching these techniques soon, in the Seattle area, in addition to techniques being taught by my music teacher and mentor Ashok Kumara (Sadhana School of Arts) in Bellevue, WA. My course plan is in the works (of course, with his permission to include his techniques also).
In the meantime, if you are interested please check out Ashok’s website for the workshops and courses he offers in addition to South Indian Classical Music (Carnatic Music). I would surely recommend attending at least one of his workshop sessions. He is just great! He teaches different pranayama techniques from those mentioned here on the blog (these are very simple ones). You can mention me to him, when you see him. 🙂
Thanks so much for the response. Sorry I am already in Ashok’s class. I should have mentioned that. While I am learning great techniques from him I would also be interested in learning the pranayama techniques similar to what you have mentioned in your blog.
I have been trying to overcome bronchial infections that I have been catching frequently in the last 2 years and think that Pranayama will definitely help me overcome them. Let me know your thoughts and do keep me posted when you plan to start teaching them.
BTW I enjoy what you write in your blog. You write everything in a very simple and easily comprehensible manner. Thanks for the great effort.
For some reason your name felt familiar, though I may have not met you in person. If you like I can coach you on these pranayama techniques to help you with your problems. I have other ideas as well. If you like, you can just send me an email from the contact page.
Very relaxing technique. The breathing alone is helpful.
inhale exhale lol.. nice exercise in trout and lungs……………….
Cleanse Body, Pediatric Endocrinology,
You are very welcome.