Ujjayi breathing is a breathing technique often used in meditation. Because of the way the breath sounds as you inhale and exhale, it is commonly known as ocean sound breathing meditation. This technique is both calming and balancing, and can make you feel more energized! It’s a great way to reduce your stress levels.
Ocean Sound Breathing Technique:
- Sit or lay in a comfortable meditation posture.
- Breathe naturally and become aware of each in and out breath.
- With your mouth closed, inhale through your nose. Breathe in and out while constricting the muscles in the back of your throat, which creates the ocean sound. (See notes for beginners below).
- Each inhale and exhale should be long and controlled.
- Take full breaths all the way into your belly, then all the way out. Concentrate on the “ocean” sound.
- Keep the tip of your tongue pressed to the roof of your mouth.
- With each inhale, say to yourself “sa,” and with each exhale, “ha.”
- Each inhale and exhale should be equal in length, smooth, and relaxed.
- If your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to your breathing.
Notes for beginners:
When you first start out, try this breathing meditation for 3 minutes or so. Then, as you feel more comfortable with the technique, increase your time. Don’t overdo it—just get the feel of it and relax into it.
Feel how your throat tightens as you whisper the word “ha.” After practicing whispering the word “ha” a few times, you will become familiar with the way the back of your throat constricts with the sound. Now try it with your mouth closed. Inhale and exhale, keeping the same constriction in your throat to make the ocean sound.
Listen to your body. If you become dizzy or lightheaded, stop and then continue after a few minutes. Limit your practice time in the beginning until you become comfortable with the process.
Maura Schuster, L.OM