Ujayi breath (Ujayi = victorious), consists in producing a light guttural sound when inhaling and exhaling, by slightly contracting the glottis in the throat. Ujayi is a classical Pranayama with retention but it is mainly presented here for its usefulness in postures needing a higher supply of oxygen because of the efforts they imply. It can also be used during the Sun Salutations to keep a steady control of the breath when executing the movements.



  1. Sitting crossed legs, back straight, neck in line with the spine, eye closed.
  2. Slightly contract the glottis and inhale through the nose. When passing through the throat, the air should produce a light hissing sound.
  3. Exhale through the nose, the glottis still contracted. The sound should be the same on inhalation and exhalation.

The sound produced in Ujayi sounds like when one is diving underwater with the whole equipment. It could also be compared to the sound Darth Vader is making when he breathes through his mask.



  • Allows to control breath even during physical effort.
  • Enhances concentration of the mind because of the attention required by the production of the Ujayi sound.
  • When practiced with retention, one can feel all the benefits related to oxygenation of the brain and accumulation of vital energy (Prana).


Avoid retention in case of:

  • Lungs injury.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Abdomen injury.


Are breathing exercices any good for the brain ?

Yes. Breathing exercises have a very beneficial influence for the brain because an important supply of oxygen is provided, particularly during the retention of the breath. Moreover, some techniques such as the alternate nostril breathing allow to balance both brain hemispheres, hence optimizing the practitioner's mental faculties.



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