Ujjayi Pranayama, or Ocean Breath, is a breathing technique that enlarges the back of your throat to encourage each breath cycle to be longer. Long, deep, controlled inhalations and exhalations help in an increased supply of oxygen to the brain and clear and calm your mind. It is a supporting exercise for most yoga asanas.

Let’s take a deep breath and look into its benefits, steps, and what it does to the body!

What Benefits Does The Ujjayi Pranayama Hold?

The ocean breath helps yoga asanas to have more power and focus because it concentrates and directs your mind. A clinical study conducted by the Department of Neurophysiology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, found that ujjayi pranayama can increase your oxygen consumption by approximately 50%.

Practicing Ujjayi also calms your body’s flight-or-flight response and thereby promotes relaxation. While your body is telling you that it wants to get out of a pose as soon as it can, you can calm it down with Ujjayi pranayama.

What Does Ujjayi Pranayam Feel like?

Think of your throat as a garden hose with each breath you take flowing through it like a trickle. That’s how an ocean breath feels like. The power of the water that is passing through will increase if you partially cover the hose opening with your thumb. Right? In the same way, you can deepen an ocean breath with your throat. During your practice, you can direct the powerful breath that comes in through your narrowed throat into the body areas that need it.

It is common to refer to vinyasa yoga as “breath-synchronized movement,” meaning that you move from one pose to the next with each inhalation or exhalation. However, this pattern of breathing (the Ujjayi pranayam) isn’t just for vinyasa yoga; it’s a full, slow breath that can be used to find your reserve tank during long holds.

How to Perform Ujjayi Pranayama The Right Way?

  • Sit tall with your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.
  • Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath without trying to control it.
  • Concentrate on how your throat feels when you breathe. Start to tone the back of your throat (the glottis or soft palate) to slightly restrict airflow.
  • Envision that you are misting up a couple of glasses. A gentle hissing sound could be heard when you do that.
  • Start applying the same throat contraction when you inhale once you are comfortable with the exhale. Again, you must hear a soft hissing sound.
  • Close your mouth and start breathing through your nose when you can control your throat on both the inhale and exhale. Maintain the same tone you used when the mouth was open when toning the throat. The noise of the breath coming in and out of the nose will continue.

That is how you perform the Ujjayi pranayam the right way! Keep this breath in mind and use it whenever you find yourself in a position where you need a little extra support.

Common Errors People Do While Doing The Ujjayi Pranayam

Tightening your throat is the most common mistake. A very slight constriction is all you need.

As you get used to the practice, practice the pranayama frequently. You must be able to do it without having to stop during your yoga sessions. You should get feedback from your yoga instructor about whether you are doing it correctly or whether you need more instructions or modifications.

With the right training, advanced practitioners can try out other variations. One advanced technique is to use muscular locks (bandhas), like the throat lock, and breath retentions (kumbhakas).

Safety and Precautions

This breathing pattern might be hard for you if you have asthma or other breathing problems. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop the exercise and make sure you are breathing deeply enough. Also, you shouldn’t feel any pain at all.

A Final Word on Ujjayi Pranayama

The translation of the Sanskrit word “ujjayi” is “to conquer” or “to win.” This is in line with the ability of this breathing technique to raise the heat, prana, vitality, and concentration. According to ancient yogic texts, a yogi can overcome illness through Ujjayi breathing.

Practice Ujjayi pranayama by sitting down for five minutes. To get maximum benefits, increase your time frame to 15 minutes. Start incorporating your breath into your movements gradually. If you suffer from the following conditions, set aside practicing this pranayama for some other time:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart conditions
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Acidity
  • Chronic fatigue

If you suffer from anxiety or high blood pressure, avoid bandhas and breath retention.


1. What is ujjayi pranayama?

Ujjayi Pranayama, also known as ocean breath, is a breathing technique where the practitioner breathes softly with a whisper. It is compared to the sound of the waves hitting the shore or the wind blowing through the trees.

2. Who should avoid ujjayi pranayama?

Pregnant and menstruating women should avoid practicing Ujjayi Pranayama because it causes a temperature change and puts strain on the abdominal organs, both of which may not be safe.

3. What is the benefit of Ujjayi?

It improves psychic sensitivity, calms the mind, and soothes the nervous system. It reduces blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and alleviates insomnia. Although it is a calming pranayama, it also has a heating effect and encourages oxidation.

4. Which types of yoga practice is Ujjayi breath commonly used in?

Ujjayi breathing can be used continuously in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It is also used frequently in Flow Yoga, Power Yoga, and Vinyasa.

5. Which bandha is formed in ujjayi?

Antara kumbhaka is the internal breath retention, and Moola bandha is the contraction of the pelvic region. To empty the lungs while performing the Ujjayi pranayama, exhale slowly, deeply, and gradually. Maintain your grip on the abdomen as you begin to exhale.

6. Which mudra for Ujjayi?

When combined with Mula Bandha or Ashvini Mudra, Ujjayi Pranayama quickly eliminates negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression. It can make cases of digestive issues, flatulence, and nausea brought on by indigested substances or spoiled food go away.