Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath or Ocean Sounding Breath): Ujjayi Breathing

by | Meditate, Mindful Breathing, Mindfulness, Yoga

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Ujjaji Pranayama | Ujjayi Breathing | Victorious Breath:

This technique has a name which means “the victorious breath”. Ujjayi is a Sanskrit word composed of the words “inhale and exhale”. The prefix “Uj” precedes, meaning upward movement, followed by the word “Jaya”, which means conquest, victory. Therefore, it is usually translated as ‘victorious breath’. But why this name? Ujjayi pranayama is a method by which the lungs are fully expanded in all directions. Then, the chest expands and moves upward in a similar way to that of a victorious warrior.

ujjayi pranayama breathing

What Does The Ujjayi Pranayama Consist Of?

The stages of the Ujjayi breathing technique differs from others. For simplicity we distinguish between breath and pranayama (which includes the retention of the breath). To practice Ujjayi, one must constrict the back of the throat. Similarly to the constriction that occurs when speaking in a whisper. Thus, the breath heard is often compared to the sound of the sea.

Ujjayi flows in and out through the nostrils. The lips remaining gently closed. Contrary to popular belief, Ujjayi breathing is not just for a yogi. This technique can be used by anyone, at anytime. However, it is also a popular breathing technique utilized in Vinyasa style yoga.

Why Practice Ujjayi?

In general, yogic breathing techniques have shown advantageous effects on neurocognitive, psychophysiological, respirator biomechanical and metabolic functions in healthy individuals.

When practicing Ujjayi with an asana, several advantages can be obtained. By extending inspiration and expiration, one may experience a greater sense of vitality, followed by expelling toxins from the body. However, the real difference between Ujjayi breath and a “normal long breath” is the warming developed when the glottis is slightly contracted.

Along with helping synchronize movements, the heat that develops within the body, is said to help with flexibility. Thus, preparing the practitioner for a safer practice. The increase in the body’s heat level also promotes perspiration, believed by many, to release more toxins from the body.

Ujjayi Effect On The Mind:

The benefits of Ujjayi are not limited only to the physical realm. For example, observing the quality of the breath during our practice, (by listening to its sound), can almost tell a story. A tense, irregular breathing pattern, or forced breath may be an indication we should change something, to help loosen that tension. Maybe it’s within our mind. Maybe the change is within our body.

Ujjayi Pranayama:


  1. Sit on the mat in Sukhasana, easy half lotus position. Alternatively, try full lotus, Vajrasana or any other position that allows you to keep your back straight and comfortable.
  2. Start inhaling using your mouth.
  3. Always exhale with your mouth open trying to make that whispering sound (or what you do when you have to clean your glasses).
  4. On the next inhalation, start with your mouth open. When you are halfway through, quickly close your mouth and try to keep inhaling through your nose. You should now be able to breathe through your nose making the same sound you previously made when your mouth was open.
  5. On the next exhalation, (when you are halfway through), quickly close your mouth and try to continue breathing through your nose, always making the same sound.
  6. Now, continue to breathe through your nose only. Attempt to make the same sound you did when your mouth was open.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re a beginner or experienced yogi, Ujjayi breathing is a technique you will likely come across early and often. The more your practice, the better control you’ll have. Consequently, the better you’ll link breath to your practice, and grater potential to reap the exponential benefits yoga can provide.


  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470305/
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to purchase items, then we may earn a small commission. Hope you find something that you like!
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