Ujjayi Pranayama – The Ocean Breath

Ujjayi Pranayama – The Ocean Breath

We are all familiar to the calming sound of the ocean, the waves tumbling towards the shore; the peace it brings to our mind is unfathomable. Now imagine creating this sound with your breath. Ujjayi in Sanskrit translates to ”victory” hence it is known as the victorious breath, but the sound you create while practicing this pranayama mimics the ocean waves so it is also known as the ocean breath. Mastering Ujjayi pranayama can be a little tricky for beginners; as mere inhaling and exhaling cannot produce the sound of the ocean.

How to perform Ujjayi?

If you are a newbie, follow these steps prior to getting the hang of it.

  1. Sit in padmasana (lotus position), keep your eyes closed and back erect.
  2. Place your palms on your knees in Gyan mudra.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose.
  4. Now exhale with your mouth open producing an HAAAAAA (like the sighing sound you make when you are really disappointed).
  5. Repeat the above steps 3 times to get a hang of it; if you focus intentionally on the sound you produce when exhaling, it almost sounds like the ocean.
  6. Keep your eyes closed and chest out.
  7. Inhale deeply through your nose, like your breathing through a straw – keep your throat closed.
  8. When the air hits your throat it will produce a gushing.
  9. Now exhale through your nose with your lips sealed and your throat closed. Exhale completely pulling your stomach inwards towards your spine.
  10. Practice for 3-5 rounds, till you are able to produce the ocean breath loud enough that its audible to someone sitting next to you.

Keep in mind that both inhalation and exhalation should be over the same length of time and that your breathing should be smooth and controlled, not forced. Ujjayi breath can be practiced for as long as 15 minutes according to your capacity, start with fewer rounds and build your way up.


When to perform Ujjayi?

  • When you feel overburdened; take a moment and try this breathing technique it will help calm you down.
  • Before performing any activity that requires your utmost concentration; ujjayi pranayama is the best to keep your mind from wandering and help you focus.
  • Before exercising; this breathing technique helps you garner the energy inside you making your workout session more efficient.
  • Before starting your mediation; ujjayi pranayama can bring about a soothing effect on your mind preparing you for your mediation routine.
  • During cold climates or if you naturally have a cold body; ujjayi breath has the ability to produce a lot of internal heat, keeping you warm on the inside.

Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama

  • Promotes healthy
  • Enhances focus and concentrating.
  • Increases positivity and self-awareness
  • Generates internal heat, energizes the body and mind
  • Strengthens the throat and vocal cord, promotes respiratory health.


Do not tighten the throat when practicing this technique.

This pranayama must be done on an empty stomach with at least a 5-hour space between the practice and meal.

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