The Meaning of Ujjayi
There is no exact definition, but we can get it from a Sanskrit dictionary by dividing the word into parts: ujjayi = uj + jayi = ud + jayi. The prefix «ud» means “upward or/and outward direction”, the word jayi (f.) can have the meaning “victorious”. So the whole term may read as “the one who is bringing victory”, but you can come across some other interpretations of the term.
Purpose of Ujjayi Pranayama
– It teaches you how to feel the sound vibrations
– It cleanses the subtle informational center in the body
– It helps to develop siddhi or mystic powers (though it is not to be discussed here since the subject matter is a complex one and not easy to achieve).
Ujjayi Pranayama Contraindications
– It is not recommended for kids under 14 outside of the yoga practice (some particular sequence or complex)
– In case of hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure
Ujjayi Pranayama Breathing Technique
Sit in any comfortable position. Do Khechari-mudra, i.e., bend the tongue upwards and backwards so that its lower part rests on the back of the palate. Breathe deeply and gently, like a sleeping baby. Feel how you breathe through the larynx.
Duration: as long as you feel comfortable.
There is another variation of the ujjayi, when you inhale for the length of 8 seconds or heartbeats, hold your breath for the same amount of time, and release your breathe or exhale for 16 seconds or heartbeats. When releasing the air from your lungs you do it through the mouth making the sound “s-s-s-s-s-s”.
Ujjayi Pranayama Benefits
This is the simple breathing technique, which has very soft and subtle effects on the body of the practitioner. It tones up the nervous system and calms the mind. People suffering from insomnia should practice this pranayama without Khechari-mudra, and it is best for them to do it in Shavasana. Ujjayi reduces the frequency of the heartbeat, so it is useful for people with high blood pressure. It also has subtle psychological effects and is often used in many mudras, and meditation practices.
Other benefits include:
– Stimulation of all the endocrine glands
– Particularly strong effect on the thyroid gland
– It rejuvenates the sexual glands, improving their functions
– It increases the internal energy currents and the energy with the surrounding space
– It increases mental alertness, concentration and perception
– Heals cold in women and impotence in men
– Rejuvenates the endocrine glands and their cures from diseases
– Treats pancreas, cleans the head and spine
As you can see it is not difficult to do Ujjayi Pranayama; you simply need to be attentive to the practice, listen to your body, and advance gradually.