How to practice
Tighten gently the opening of your throat. Make the breath slow and even, with your mouth open softly whisper “ha” whilst you inhale and continue while you exhale. It is easier and more natural with the exhalation, persevere with the inhalation and it will become easier. Then close your mouth and continue to make the sound with your mouth closed and your throat slightly contracted. Feel the air in the back of your throat and hear the soft, smooth, hollow sound of the breath. You are drawing in the air gently and smoothly using your throat, not sniffing or gulping. Breathe as if you were breathing through a long, slim straw without too much effort, calm and slow.
With this breath technique you have more control over the amount of air flowing in and out of your lungs, enabling you to breath more deeply and slowly. You will feel as if you have more energy and more control, and you will not tire as easily. You will feel more steady and more confident in the postures.
The sound of Ujaii brings your attention to your breathing, this strengthens your concentration and allows you to be more aware of the sensations of your body in the postures. It also alerts you to when you are pushing too far into a posture or trying something you are not ready for yet; when the breathing becomes erratic and is no longer even and smooth, you should ease off, show compassion towards yourself and rest.
Ujaii can also reduce blood pressure, ease insomnia and reduce mental tension.