Ujjayi Breath: “victoriously uprising.” Ujjayi is the most common form of pranayam used during asana practices. It is often called “whispering,” “snoring,” or “Darth Vadar” breathing. To perform ujjayi breath, you must constrict or tighten the throat a bit in order to produce a whispering or snoring sound with your inhale and exhale. Breathe in through your nose and whisper the sound “heeee” while keeping your mouth and lips closed. Breathe out through your nose and whisper the sound “haaaa” while still keeping the mouth and lips closed. It may feel as if you cannot get in enough air at first, but this breath pattern will become easier as you continue to practice, strengthening your lungs and throat. The sound associated with ujjayi pranayam is important because it serves as a reminder to tune into your breath, and to keep the breath steady and even in inhale and exhale. If you are practicing vigorous asana (poses) and notice the ujjayi sound has stopped or your “haaa” is much shorter or longer than your “heee,” this is a good indication it is time to rest and refocus on your breathing before continuing the asana practice. The constriction in the throat also serves to warm and clean the air as it comes into the lungs, so it is especially important to practice in less than ideal air conditions.