The Ancient Yogic Practice of Ujjayi Pranayam (conscious breathing)
Ujjayi translates to “victorious”, and is also known as the Ocean Sounding Breath (pranayam), because of the gentle ocean sound you create while practicing this breath.
Benefits of Ocean Breath include:
- Balancing effect on the heart and lungs
- Increases heart coherence (HRV)
- Increases oxygen in the blood
- Relieves tension, stress, and anxiety
- Regulates blood pressure
- Balances the autonomic nervous system; calms the sympathetic “fight or flight” response and harmonizes with the parasympathetic “rest and digest” response.
- Simultaneously increases energy while you relax
- Helps you stay in the present moment, where the magic happens
Practice as an 11-Minute Med™:
Ocean sounding breath is an excellent breath to do while meditating. It naturally brings you into a deeper state of heart coherence, where healing and transformation begins. Ocean Sounding Breath is also an excellent choice for reducing stress in the moment its happening as well–in the car, before a meeting, anywhere.
Here are a few things to remember about Ocean Sounding Breath:
- Both the inhalation and exhalation are done through the nose.
- When properly done, an “ocean sound” is created by gently constricting the opening between the vocal folds (glottis) at the top opening of the throat as air passes in and out.
- As you narrow your throat, the trachea (wind pipe) also constricts and creates a soft sound similar to putting a beach shell up to your ear. That is the sound you are trying to create.
To practice Ujjayi or Ocean Sounding Breath begin by:
- Sit with a straight spine, either cross-legged in easy pose or in a chair.
- Close the eyes 9/10ths of the way, and gaze straight ahead.
- Begin to breath in and out through the nose with a slightly constricted throat. To get the idea, you may want to practice through the mouth first by fogging a mirror or cleaning your glasses with your breath. That is the sound you are looking to produce. Now simply shift the pattern to your nostrils and keep the mouth closed with relaxed facial muscles and lips.
- Slow the breath down and keep the inhalation and exhalation of equal length.
8 breath cycles per minute (inhale approximately 3-4 seconds, exhale 3-4 seconds) is relaxing and relieves stress. Parasympathetic nervous system begins to be influenced.
4 cycles per minute (inhale approximately 7-8 seconds, exhale 7-8 seconds): shifts in mental function. Increased feelings of awareness, visual clarity, heightened body sensitivity.
Remember to open up your abdomen as you inhale (as a baby does while sleeping), and draw the breath from the navel point to the collar bones.
Open the rib cage and draw the breath up to the collar bones.
Begin for 3-5 minutes, and gradually work up to 11 minutes.
At 11 minutes, Ocean Sounding Breath will begin to change the nerves and the glandular system.