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Ujjayi Pranayama: Victorious Breath

July 10, 2009
Picasso's Face of Peace.

Picasso's "Face of Peace."

“Closing the mouth, inhale with control and concentration through ida and pingala (both nostrils, and the corresponding channels they connect to), so that the breath is felt from the throat to the heart and produces a sonorous sound.”                                                                                                                                                                                   –Hatha Yoga Pradipika, chapter 2, verse 51

Ujjayi breath is the most common prananyama practice, and one that can be done throughout the asana practice.  It is a way to draw your attention to the breath, “relax the physical body and mind, and develop awareness of the subtle body” (Hatha Yoga Pradipika).  To find ujjayi breath, inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose, contracting the back of the throat.  This will create a raspy, audible exhale that immediately creates one-pointed focus.  Practicing ujjayi during asana helps to take the practice to a more subtle level and to effect the body and mind on a psychic and spiritual level.  The more you work on creating an audible breath, the more naturally you will be able to tap into it.  And remember, you never want to strain yourself during pranayama, so take it easy.

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