Some students struggle to grasp the sound and source of Ujjayi breathing, while others exaggerate it to the point of wheezing. What’s the best way to teach Ujjayi? —Pamela
Read Aadil’s reply:
The Ujjayi breath is the breath of victory. In this type of Pranayama, the lungs are fully expanded and the chest is puffed out like that of a victorious conqueror.
The sound of Ujjayi pranayama serves two purposes: One, it stimulates the nadis, or energy channels, in the sinuses and at the back of the throat, which, in turn, promotes mental clarity and focus. And two, it provides a sound to latch onto, so that the mind can become more still. When the sound oscillates, the mind too is oscillating, and the student can hear this.
During the inhalation, I teach students to imagine a hole in their throat that they are breathing through, thereby creating the sibilant sound of pranayama. The inhalation should rub against the back of the nasal cavity and throat. During the exhalations, I ask my students to imagine that they are saying “ha” without the “a,” and to feel the breath rubbing against the frontal sinuses as it leaves the body. Both inhalation and exhalation must be done with the mouth closed, through the nostrils only.