Ujjayi breath is sometimes called ‘the ocean breath’ or ‘oceanic breathing’.

It’s a controlled, diaphragmatic breath that’s achieved by gently tightening the muscles in your throat and breathing in and out through your nose, mouth closed. When you’re doing it correctly, you’ll hear a whispering, ocean-like sound and may feel a slight vibration in the back of your throat. Allow your chest to expand and deflate with each slow inhale and exhale.

We encourage students to breathe this way throughout class. It can be challenging and may take some time to master but helps bring your focus back to the breath when your mind wanders. It’s also an excellent barometer of how hard you’re working: if you’re pushing yourself too hard then you won’t be able to maintain the Ujjayi breath, so lessen the intensity of your practice until you can. Alternatively, if you keep losing focus on the breath, could you up your pace?

Ujjayi breath is a great way to stay connected to your practice, helping anchor you into the present moment. It’s also a great way of building the vital energy in the body and can turn your practice into a yoga meditation.