Pratiloma Ujjayi

Last Updated: May 1, 2019

Definition - What does Pratiloma Ujjayi mean?

Pratiloma ujjayi is a pranayama (yogic breathing technique) that combines pratiloma – a type of alternate nostril breathing – and ujjayi – a deep breathing exercise with a narrowed throat that is sometimes called “ocean breath” because it resembles the sound of the ocean or “victorious breath.”

The term comes from the Sanskrit pratiloma, meaning “against the grain,” and ujjayi, meaning “to be victorious.” This breathing exercise calms and focuses the mind and balances the emotions. It is often used in preparation for, or as an aid in, meditation.

Yogapedia explains Pratiloma Ujjayi

Although pratiloma ujjayi uses two different breathing techniques, they are used separately in the same exercise, but never at the same time.

A typical pratiloma ujjayi cycle follows this pattern:

  • Pratiloma – Closing off the right nostril, inhale through the left nostril
  • Ujjayi – Open both nostrils and exhale
  • Ujjayi – With both nostrils remaining open, inhale
  • Pratiloma – Closing off the left nostril, exhale through the right
  • Pratiloma – Inhale through the right nostril
  • Ujjayi – Open both nostrils and exhale
  • Ujjayi – Inhale through both nostrils
  • Pratiloma – Closing off the right nostril, exhale through the left

That is one round of pratiloma ujjayi. Complete six rounds and then sit still while breathing normally.

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