Ujjayi Pranayama

The prefixed “Ut” attached to verbs and nouns, means upwards or superiority in rank. It also means blowing to expanding. It conveys the sense of Pre-eminence and power. Jay means conquest, Victory, triumph or success. Looked at from another view point it implies restraint or curbing.

Ujjayi is the process in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest puffed out like that of a proud conqueror.


  • Sit in any comfortable position like Padmasana, Siddhasana or Virasana.
  • Keep the back erect and rigid. Lower the hand to the trunk. Rest the chin in the notch between the collar-bones.
  • Stretch the arms out straight and rest the back of the wrists on the knees. Join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs, keeping the other fingers extended. (This position or gesture of the hand is known as the Jnana Mudra, the symbol or seal of knowledge. The Index finger symbolizes the individual soul and the thumb the universal soul. The union of the two symbolizes knowledge.
  • Close the eyes and look inwards.
  • Exhale completely.
  • Take a slow, deep steady breath through both nostrils. The passage of the incoming air is felt on the roof of the palate and makes a sibilant sound. This sound should be heard.
  • Full the lungs up to the brim. Care should be taken not to bloat the abdomen in the process of inhalation. (Observe this in all the types of Pranayama.) This filling up is called Puraka (Inhalation).
  • The entire abdominal area from the pubes up to the breast-bone should be pulled back towards the spine.
  • Hold the breath for a second or two. This internal retention is called antara Kumbhaka.
  • Exhale slowly, deeply and steadily, until the lungs are completely empty. As you begin to exhale, keep your grip on the abdomen. After two or three seconds of exhalation, relax the diaphragm gradually and slowly. While exhaling the passing of the outgoing air should be felt on the roof of the palate. The brushing of the air on the palate should make as aspirate sound. This exhalation is called Rechaka.
  • Wait for a second before drawing a fresh breath. This waiting period is called bahya Kumbhaka.
  • This completes one cycle of Ujjayi Pranayama.
  • Repeat the cycles for five to ten minutes keeping the eyes closed throughout.
  • Lie on the floor in Savasana.

Ujjayi Pranayama may be done without the Jalandhara Bandha even while walking or lying down. This is the only Pranayama which can be done at all times of the day and night.


  • Ujjayi Pranayama aerates the lungs, removes phlegm, gives endurance, soothes the nerves and tones the entire system.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama with out Kumbhaka, done in a reclining position, is ideal for persons suffering from high blood pressure or coronary troubles.   
  • Ujjayi Pranayama involves shallow breathing aimed at flexing diaphragm. This type of breathing is good for health as it improves oxygenation needed in many body functions.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama helps calm the body as it increases the circulation of blood. Ujjayi provides meditative effects by allowing maintaining the tempo of workout session, without any distractions.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama helps strengthen the digestive and Nervous system. It helps reduce risk to diseases that are caused by accumulation of bile, wind or phlegm.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama allows eradicating a large amount of wastes from the body, as it improves the circulatory system needed to purify the nerves and tissues.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama also clears the lungs and nasal cavity. In addition to that, it has proven an effective remedy against diseases of the respiratory system.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama also has positive effects on the digestive system and helps alleviate stomach upset and irregular bowel movements. The exercises can develop your concentration powers.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama can also be effectively used for pain reduction, insomnia, and migraines.
  • The most remarkable benefit Ujjayi Pranayama has to offer is that it performs internal purification, activation and energizing along with outer control and conditioning all at once.
  • Ujjayi Pranayama also improves digestive capacity and enhances functioning of the respiratory systems.