How To Do Victorious Breathing (ujjayi breathing)

Victorious Breathing (ujjayi) Definition and Use

When we talk about the name of this breathing in Sanskrit, it reads Ujjayi Pranayama.

Ujjayi can be translated as one who is victorious. While prana can mean breath or life force. Yama can be translated as control.

So, in full translation, this breathing can mean one who has mastered breath control; however, the most common translation is victorious breathing.

Ujjayi breathing in itself is and is not difficult to master. It all depends on whether one is familiar with the way he/she breathes thoroughly.

In yoga, there are different breathing techniques, so if you have not yet tried this breathing technique, feel free to start practicing three-layer breathing first (breathing with the stomach, lungs, and upper lungs).

Once you have mastered three-layer breathing, it will be much easier for you to begin the practice of Ujjayi breathing.

If you are just at the beginning of your yoga practice, you should keep in mind that breathing itself is an involuntary activity. Most people during their lives do not even realize how they breathe. I believe you will agree that it is very sad, but it is what it is.

Not being aware of breathing has a very big impact on the very quality of our lives. It is most characteristic of people who do not breathe consciously that they do not fully use their breathing capacity. In this way, they do not expel the stale air from the lower abdomen; they do not get rid of all the toxins that are accumulated inside their bodies.

Try to be aware of your breathing; each inhales and each exhale. You will soon become aware of the changes that are taking place at the level of your entire being, both at the physical and psychological level of your existence.

By using victorious breathing during yoga practice, the internal temperature of the body rises. Accordingly, people who incorporate this kind of breathing during their yoga practice may sweat a lot.

You know how some people who have never been to yoga ask questions that are not directly related to yoga itself. For example, one such question could be: “Can I lose weight with the help of yoga?”

My answer to the person who asked such a question would be that she could lose weight with yoga; however, she would have to practice victorious breathing for the entire class, and that class would be a dynamic class such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga class.

Ujjayi breathing lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Research has shown that this form of breathing calms the nervous system and thus quiets the mind.


How to Use

If you are a a beginner to this form of breathe, there are steps to take first.

Be sure to get comfortable in a seated position before you start breathing. You can sit in the lotus pose, half lotus pose, sit in a chair or armchair or sit on the floor with your back against the wall. Always try to keep your entire spine completely straight while performing victorious breathing; this rule certainly applies to all other breathing techniques as well.

Keep your chin level with the floor, relax your shoulders, not too much, but don’t keep them too high, either. Therefore, the shoulders should not be at the height or above the collarbones; the correct position of the shoulders is slightly below the level of the collarbones. It’s that relaxation you’re aiming for.

Place one palm of one of your hands in front of your open mouth. Inhale through your mouth, and exhale through your mouth. Try to make the inhalation and exhalation the same length. If the inhalation equals the count of 3, let the exhalation equal the count of 3. With the exhalation, you become aware of how that same exhalation expels the air from inside your body, and the air hits your palm. This way of breathing is very similar to the sound of waves.

Breathe this way 5 times

The second step inhaling and inhaling through your nose, and exhaling further through your mouth. Become aware of the flow of air in your throat.

Breathe this way 5 times The third step involves keeping your mouth closed during both inhalation and exhalation. Become aware of the inner sound with each inhalation and exhalation. Inhalation and exhalation are the same lengths the entire time.

Breathe this way 5 times

The fourth step is to place your tongue on your palate

For most people who have not practiced this way of breathing before, it will be uncomfortable at first. They certainly won’t be able to do it very long. That’s totally fine; it’s all a matter of practice and patience.

If you can, breathe in this way 5 times

This fourth way is the way of breathing that most drive the internal heat inside your body. In this way, you get rid of all the toxins that have accumulated in your body.

Victorious breathing is a breathing technique that is often associated with more dynamic styles of yoga such as Vinyasa and Ashtanga.


Practice of Ujjayi breathing should be learned under the direction of a qualified teacher.

About the author

Urosh Martinovic

Urosh Martinovic is a yoga and mindfulness teacher. He has experience in more than 7,000 guided classes. His work includes 1 on 1 online classes and workshops. Uros is a founder of holistic portal for Balkan Moja Solja Joge (My cup of yoga).