Jan 2018

Urjayi means the victorious breath

The pranayama that most yogis are familiar, it is the breath used in vinyasa practice.   

Jai means victory—from expansion or victoriously uprising—which refers to the movement of prana through sushumnA nADi. It also can translate to the awakening awareness that is happening in the yogi’s consciousness.  The breath is the bridge for the mind/body connection.  With practice, overtime it will have the quality of strength and surrender.  It will be the focus of asana to create the mediation in movement. 

The glottis is the space between the vocal cords; it is what is activated when urjayi breath is engaged.

The importance lies in the actions of the throat, not so much the sound. The sound is the byproduct. 

Urjayi is what is going to warm the body and prepare the tissues to open in the asanas and move deeper into th poses.

It is the most important component to asana or vinyasa practice. If one is not learning how to breathe consciously then the asanas become just movements—it is not yoga.  Yoga is a whole/ complete practice, meaning it incorporates: mind, body, breath, and spirit. If one is not breathing, the practice remains purely physical.


Means even or equal breathing, the breath has a symmetrical rhythm to the inhale and exhale.



In a seated position exhale making the HA sound from the back of the throat, like fogging a mirror, 3 times.

Notice the sensation, the sound and how you can control the breath easier. 

Now seal the lips and keep the same sensation and sound in the back of the throat, practice this 3-5 times.

Resist the urge to force the breath or bring it into the nasal passage. 

The exhale is easier to master then the inhale, usually. 

Next add in the urjayi inhale, the indention in the throat will hollow and the sensation is like sipping through a straw.  The sound will make SSSS, like a snake.  

Practice samamvritti counting the even urjayi inhale and exhale (5-20 times)

Often a count of 4 or 5 is a perfect, slow duration, even for a beginner. 

A 6 count is a good pace to strive for.


Urjayi sound not only resembles a good movement of breath, and therefore prana, but also an inner alignment with the bandhas.

Samamvritti should first be practiced with focus on just the inhale and exhale.

When one has established equal duration, inhale kumbhaka (retention) can be added. 

In Asana the breath is the linking mechanism:  

Attention to the breath is refined through consistent sadhana.  It will resemble the effortless effort we strive to attain in movement, transition and asana.  

We use the breath to enhance movement, deepen asanas, and facilitate transitions. 

The breath initiates movement and the breath keeps going after the movement has stopped.  

The exhalation deepens asanas (downward movement) and the inhalation lengthens (upward movement) them.

The breath is considered first in transitions.

 Urjayi Samavritti Pranayama with Kumbhaka:

Transition from each breath should be smooth without gasping. 

Ratio 1:1:1. 

·      Inhale for a count of 3-6 secs

·      Hold for 3-6 secs

·      Exhale 3-6 secs

·      Practice (5-8 times)

When inhale, exhale, and inhale retention are smooth, then add exhale kumbhaka. 

Ratio 1:1:1:1. 

·      Inhale for a count of 3-6 secs

·      Hold for 3-6 secs

·      Exhale 3-6 secs

·      Hold for 3-6 secs

·      Practice (5-8 times)

When using retention, practice of the bandhas is necessary (bandhas will be practiced later)


  • Aids in digestion, circulation, strengthens nervous system and removes wastes and toxins.


Urjayi Anuloma, Viloma, and Pratiloma

Anuloma and viloma are another form of alternate nostril breathing called nadi shuddhi.


Alternate nostril on the exhale and urjayi on the inhale

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale left

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale right, that is one round

·     Regular inhale (no urjayi, variation)

·     Repeat 5 rounds, gradually building.


Aids in digestion, circulation, strengthens nervous system and removes wastes and toxins.  Increases respiratory health, has powerful relaxing effects that helps to soothe depression and stress.  It calms the brain and promotes clear reasoning.  It can help in recreation of lung tissue and enhances their capacity. It increases digestive power, soothes and invigorates the nerves, and clears the sinuses. It purifies the brain, asthma, cold and gastric problems.  With regular practice, it can strengthen the immune system. If aids in circulation you have cold hands and feet this may help.


Alternate nostril on the inhale and urjayi on the exhale

·      Inhale left

·      Exhale urjayi

·      Inhale right

·      Exhale urjayi, that is one round

·      Repeat 5 rounds gradually building.

·      Regular exhale (no urjayi, variation)

·      Inhale 2 sec, pause Inhale 2 sec, pause until full, exhale urjayi, that’s one round (variation)

·      Inhale urjayi, exhale 2 secs, pause, exhale 2 secs pause until full, that’s one round (variation)


First variation helps low blood pressure, 2nd helps high blood pressure.


Is a combination of the last two techniques

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale left

·     Inhale left

·     Exhale urjayi

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale right

·     Inhale right

·     Exhale urjayi, this is one cycle


Are the same as anuloma