This is the breath that is most utilized in the hatha yoga practice. Jaya means to celebrate and rise up with life! Unfortunately, it’s not often taught in stages that allow the practitioner to understand its power. Done correctly, the lungs will fully expand and your inner body will puff up like a smile. It will soothe your entire system by toning the nerves. This breath is ideal for anyone wanting to strengthen their cardiovascular system!
Supine: Practice each stage lying down until they feel easy and soothing to the nervous system. The breath must be even before moving to the seated practice.
Stage 1: Focus on evenly filling both lungs and evenly emptying both lungs. Start with a count of 3-5 and build.
Stage 2: Focus on learning to lengthen the exhale. Take a normal inhale and practice slow, steady and consecutively longer exhales.
Stage 3: Expand the diaphragm laterally so the inhale doesn’t move to the belly. Hear the inhale and make the tone even during inhale and exhale. Tip: Mindfully turn the eyes downward on each inhale. Let the eyes relax with each exhale.
Stage 4: Begin with exhale and then lengthen the inhale to match length of exhale.
Seated: Sit with spine long so the muscles of the back can absorb and synchronize with the breath. You can sit in a chair or against the wall. Lift the chin and gently pull the top of the throat and lower ear in line with the spine. Rest hands on upper thighs so the arm bones drape out of the shoulder socket. Keep the eyes soft and turning downward on inhalation.
Stage 1: Exhale quietly without pressing down on the abdominals. Observe the flow of breath creating even fill of both lungs during inhale and even emptying of both lungs during exhale. (Same as Stage 1 supine)
Stage 2: Focus on learning to lengthen the exhale. Begin as in stage 1 with a quiet exhale. Take a normal inhale and practice slow, steady and consecutively longer exhales.
Stage 3: Focus on learning to lengthen the inhale. Exhale quietly without pressing down on the abdominals. Take long, slow, and deep inhales. The exhale will be only slightly shorter.
Stage 4: Full expression of Ujjayi
· Begin by gently exhaling any air in the lungs. Take a slow, deep, steady breath in through the nose.
· Make the resonate sound (like softly fogging a mirror, but through the nose) even in tone and quality.
· Expand the intercostals muscles and allow the shoulder blades to gently lift the front of the chest as the collar bone expands.
· Maintain the expansion of the inner body, the intercostals muscles, and diaphragm to begin the exhalation.
· Allow the breath to begin moving out with steadiness.
· After a couple of seconds, gently tone the pelvic floor and patiently allow the grip in the trunk to gradually release in a passive and soft way