Tag Archives: Ujjāyī

Breathing adjusted to the Ashtanga Yoga practice Ujjãyi Prãnãyãma

During the entire practice of the postural « sādhanā » in Ashtanga Yoga, we use a type of breathing called « Ujjãyi prãnãyãma », « the breath of the ocean ». There are many variations of the Ujjãyi.

The breathing (prãnãyãma) is always synchronised to the movements.

For a beginner, the inhalation and exhalation must have the same duration.

For an advanced yogi, the inhalation is a little longer.

The breathing methodology in Ashtanga Yoga :

  1. A continuous and uninterrupted flow
  2. Always breathing through the nose
  3. Opening gently the larynx region (Jālandhara)
  4. It should produce a soft sound (Ujjãyi)

Thereby the breathing sound (Ujjãyi) is obtained via the positioning of the throat (Jālandhara)

Jālandhara is the glottis control in the ujjāyī type of breathing; it is the positioning of two muscles of the thyroarytenoid laterals, which provokes the characteristic sound of the ujjāyī.

The specificity of the Ujjāyī lies in « control » partial opening of the glottis, in order to control/stop both the air coming in and their going out.


Nota :

It should not be confused with the uninterrupted breathing (Jālandhara bandha).


The three points in the Ashtanga Yoga practice

The key point of the « garland of postures » (Yoga Mālā), taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is called « Vinyasa ». It is described in the fourth śloka of the Yoga Korunta :

In Sankrit devanagrari :

« ट्री स्तनम् अवलोकय्é आसनम् प्राņआयाम द्रिस्थिहि »

In occidental characters :

« Trī stanam avalokayé āsanam prāņāyāma dristhihi »

That we can translate as:

The vinyāsa, the connecting movements between the postures, is composed of 3 fundamentals (Tristana) which are:

  1. The breathing (Ujjãyi Prãnãyãma – the victorious breath)
  2. The control of the pelvic floor and the abdominal ball (Mūla bandha),
  3. The focused gaze (drishti) in the postures (āsana).

Each of these spaces (positioning -Bandha) is one of components of the breathing technique called « ujjāyī prāņāmāya ».

The 3 points ashtanga yoga EN

When the three components (Tristana) are in harmony, synchronised with the movement, the sequence of Yoga postures and its rhythm, the yogi has reached the tristana. Once the tristana is reached, the yogi (le sādhaka) enters into the seventh part of the Aṣṭāṅgayoga, the meditation (dhyāna).

The ujjāyī breathing is the basis of the « Vinyasa ». The correct body positioning in the ãsana(s), comes from the Bandha(s). Drishti completes this trinity.