There are two school of thoughts providing alternative views on Ujjayi pranayama.
- Ujjayi pranayama (according to the first school of thought)
- Ujjayi Pranayama (according to the second school of thought)
According to the first school of thought:
Ujjayi Pranayama I. Starting position
- Sit in any meditative posture.
- Exhale completely and deeply. Then, start inhaling slowly and with awareness through both the nostrils with glottis partially closed.
- Because of the partial closure of the glottis air flow in and out with friction thereby creating a sibilant (s) sound in the throat. This resembles to the hissing sound of a snake.
- Once inhalation is completed, adopt Nasika mudra and close the right nostril by the thumb and exhale through the left nostril very slowly with the same hissing sound.
- Make the exhalation as long as possible, always longer than the inhalation.
- This is one round. Perform nine rounds.
- Inhalation is through both nostrils and exhale through the left only in this practice.
- Hissing sound is produced at the throat both while inhaling and exhaling.
- Ujjayi is also known as “Hissing Pranayama” due to the hissing sound.
- Inhalations and exhalations should be slow and continuous.
- Partial contraction or closing the glottis can be learnt by making a swallowing movement and feeling the gentle pressure in throat region.
According to second school of thought:
- The Ud prefix here implies “Upwards” or “superiority”. It means expanding as well and implies power.
- Jaya implies victory, triumph or success. It stands for restraint or control as well.
In this process, the chest is fully expanded puffed like that of a conqueror.
- Keep the back erect and rigid. Lower the head to the trunk. Place the chin in the notch between the collar bones just above the breast bone (Jalandhara Bandha).
- Straighten the arms and place of the back of the wrists on the knees. Join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs. Keep the other fingers extended. (Jnana Mudra).
- Close the eyes and look inwards.
- Breathe out completely.
- Take a slow deep steady breath through both nostrils. The passage of air is felt on the roof of the palate and it makes a sound.
- Fill the lungs completely. Don’t bloat the abdomen in the process of inhalation .This filling up is known as inhalation or Puraka.
- Pull back the entire abdominal area from the pubis up to the breast bone towards the spine.
- Hold the breath for a second or two. This internal retention is called Antara Kumbhaka. Now observe Mula Bandha.
- Exhale slowly, deeply and steadily until the lungs are completely empty. Keep your grip on the abdomen as you begin to exhale. After few seconds(approx.2-3) of exhalation, relax the diaphragm slowly and gradually. The passage of the outgoing air should be felt on the roof of the palate while exhaling. This is called Rechaka (exhalation).
- Hold for a second before taking a fresh breath. This restraint period is known as Bahya Kumbhaka.
The process described from point 6 to 11 completes one cycle of Ujjayi Pranayama.
Repeat the cycles for 5-10 minutes . Keep the eyes closed throughout.
Lie on the floor in shavasana
- This Pranayama is known to aerate the lungs, remove phlegm, increase tolerance, soothe nerves and tone the entire system.