Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath)
This pranayama practice, known for its soft, soothing sound similar to ocean waves, can further create the relaxation response of deep and slow breathing,
Sit in any cross-legged position and begin to breathe through your mouth. While you inhale and exhale, try and constrict your throat, make it a little bit smaller. The result will be a sound “HA” that is similar to ocean waves. In the second phase of the Pranayama, you close your mouth and breathe through your nose. However, you must continue to use the same constriction on your throat. You can repeat this 10-15 times in total.
Sheetali and Sheetkari Pranayama
Sheetali, which means “cold” or “frigid” in Sanskrit. Also known as Cooling Breath, is a breathing practice that very effectively cools the body, the mind, and the emotions. It removes the excess heat in the body to further cool the body by reducing anxiety, fear, and depression. Sheetali requires an ability to roll the tongue by curling the lateral edges upward to form a tube. If you do not have this ability, an alternate variation of the cooling breath (known as Sheetkari)
Sheetali technique: Stick your tongue out and roll the lateral edges upward so that your tongue forms a tube and inhale through the mouth. At the top of the inhale, draw the tongue in, close the mouth, and hold the breath (apply Jalandhara bandha), just as long as feels natural—without any tension. Then, slowly exhale through the nose.
Sheetkari technique: Gently press your lower and upper teeth together. Separate your lips as much as possible. Inhale deeply and gently through the teeth with a hissing sound. Close the mouth, and hold the breath (apply Jalandhara bandha).
According to Ayurveda, the body has three vital doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Both Sheetali and Sheetkari pranayama are balancing the pitta or heat and neutralizing the other two doshas.
“When the breath wanders the mind is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed, the mind too will be still.” (2:2) – Hatha Yoga Pradipika