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Ujjayi Pranayama: Sharpening Focus

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The Ujjayi Pranayama forms the basis of breathing for many of the other Pranayamas and should thus be learned well and executed with perfection. The Ujjayi Pranayama, when being done, resembles the sounds of the ocean and is often referred to as ocean breath. This is so because it entails the constricting of the back of the throat while inhaling and exhaling.

Why do the Ujjayi Pranayama?

The Ujjayi offers many benefits to those who practice it. The benefits can be felt as early as after just a few weeks of practice. Some benefits that the Ujjayi bestows include:

• Bringing about quicker and sharper mind focus
• Increasing general alertness
• Maintaining thermostatic conditions inside our body in cold weather as it generates internal body heat
• It increases VO2 max due to increased aeration of the lungs
• The sound of the Ujjayi breath helps calm the nervous system
• It encourages the person to stay in the present moment
• Increasing Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and thus thus bringing about the burning of calories faster
• Claims to purify blood and increases blood circulation
• It reduces phlegm, relieves pain in the chest
• It alleviates dullness, reduces nausea and fatigue
• Ujjayi claims to lower hypertension
• It also lowers heart rate
• Ujjayi is very effective in pain mitigation and management
• Lastly, Ujjayi benefits migraineurs and insomniacs

How does one perform the Ujjayi Pranayama?

1. Sit on a mat on an even floor
2. Sit in lotus position, Sukhasana or in any position you are comfortable in as long as your spine is erect/straight
3. Now start breathing in through your nostrils. The inhalation should be slow and deep.
4. Feel the breath/air passing through your throat and air passage. You will be able to feel the breath by slight constriction of your throat while inhaling. The inhalation will sound like a hiss or the sound of the ocean. Keep in mind though that during this inhalation your abdomen will remain steady, only the chest/lungs will expand to fill up air.
5. Similarly, during exhalation chest should go inside and abdomen should remain steady.

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