Ujjai Pranayama


Prana is subtle energy. It is a movement of energy inside of us. As we go within, we can actually touch a part of our being that is supporting, empowering, nourishing us. This is what we call “the Source within.” A seemingly simple, yet not so simple exercise can take us through different levels of awareness and Being and allow us to tap into that Source.

Today the practice will focus on the Ujjai breath. Ujjai means victory. When we breathe in the ujjai, we constrict an opening inside that is called the glottis. It is the opening in the windpipe area as we breathe into the lungs. In the glottis area there is a flap that is called the epiglottis that prevents food from going into the air passage. So when we are swallowing, the epiglottis closes off the windpipe. When we breathe and constrict the muscles around the windpipe, the breath makes a different sound. The breathing in has a particular sound and the breathing out has a particular sound. To understand the muscles involved, if you make a hissing sound, it will help you to identify the area. Then you can make the sound in a more gentle way. It actually regulates the breath, makes it slow and long.

It is also called a warming breath and it is said to be a cleanser of phlegm, improving digestion and helps us to balance energies. In meditation the hissing sound or what is sometimes called the “ocean sound” is a very soothing sound for concentration. Lets practice this breathing today and see how much more masterful we feel in our experience of the day.

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