Mod 3 Breath Practice 4: Dirga Pranayama + Ujjayi SoundJun 30, 2023
Y4PS Breath Practice Four: Dirga Pranayama + Ujjayi Sound
Commonly added to the three-part breath in hatha yoga classes, the Ujjayi sound, or ocean-sounding breath, can engage your focus and take you deeper into your practice.
- Sit in any comfortable, upright posture on a chair or the floor
- Lift the crown of your head a little bit to ensure that your spine is long
- Rest your hands comfortably on your lap, palms up or down
- Before you practice each technique, take a “falling out” breath: a single full inhale through the nose, followed by a relaxing siiiiiiiigh out through the mouth
- As you sigh out the breath, relax anywhere in your body where you feel excess effort or tension
Technique 4: Dirga Pranayama and Ujjayi Sound
Commonly added to the three-part breath in yoga classes, the Ujjayi Sound, or ocean-sounding breath, can engage your focus and take you a bit deeper into your practice.
To layer on the Ujjayi Sound, you will simply breathe as you did in your dirga practice, but after a few breaths, experiment with a very gentle constriction at the back of your palate to create the sound of the ocean inside your head (as if you were holding a shell to your ear at the beach). This can be a little tricky at first, so experiment to find the right sensation in your airway; I sometimes cue students to imagine a Darth Vader breath, though at a much gentler and more benevolent level.
Read these instructions below fully on how to master the Dirga Pranayama and Ujjayi Sound technique, and then practice.
- Breathing in and out through your nose, inhale, feeling your belly expand first, then your ribs, then all the way up to your collarbones – as if you were inflating a pillow (in this case your torso) from the bottom up
- Taking your time as you exhale, reverse the order, feeling collarbones, ribs, and then belly deflating and relaxing
- Layer on the ujjayi sound: gently constrict at the back of your palate to hear the sound of the ocean inside your head (as if you were holding a shell to your ear at the beach)
- Continue to breathe in this manner for about 5 minutes
- Return to breathing normally and notice how you feel in your body and mind
Y4PS Breath Technique 4: Dirga plus Ujjayi Pranayama Journal Questions
What did you notice about this Dirga + Ujjayi pranayama practice?
What did you feel in your body/mind before the practice? After the practice?