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Winding Down with Anuloma Ujjayi

Anuloma Ujjayi is a variation of the Ujjayi breath that I blogged about last week. While almost all pranayama (controlled breathing) is calming, Anuloma Ujjayi is particularly relaxing because it emphasizes a long, slow exhale through alternate nostrils. It’s a nice way to wind down in the evening and to prepare for sleep.


As part of my exam for Viniyoga certification, I was assigned this technique to teach. The participants got totally relaxed, which is normally a good thing. But, I taught at 8:00 am! Coffee was required afterwards!AnulomaUjjai


Anuloma Ujjayi Breathing

This technique uses the Ujjayi breath for inhalation and alternate nostrils for exhalation. Only use the Ujjayi breath on inhale – not exhale. Your throat stays open and not constricted on exhale.

This breath is best practiced sitting either on the floor or a chair.

  • Take several easy breaths through your nose to begin relaxing and to bring your focus to your breath
  • Eyes are closed or softly focused
  • Inhale through both nostrils using Ujjayi
  • Raise your right hand to your nose*
  • Fully seal the right nostril with your thumb, partially seal the left nostril with your ring finger, exhale through your left nostril
  • Lower your hand to your lap
  • Inhale  through both nostrils using Ujjayi
  • Raise your right hand to your nose
  • Fully seal the left nostril with your ring finer, partially seal the right nostril with your thumb, exhale through your right nostril
  • Lower your hand to your lap

This completes one round. In other words, two breaths equal one round. Complete several rounds.

*Following is the hand position for the exhale: You will use the thumb and ring finger to regulate the length of the exhale. The first two fingers of your hand can be folded down if that’s comfortable. One nostril is sealed completely – at the soft part of the nostril flap. The other nostril through which you exhale is partially sealed by pressing down slightly just below the cartilage. The partial seal allows the exhale to happen more slowly than if the nostril were completely open.

Safety Pointers

Here are a couple of safety considerations to keep in mind. These apply to all pranayama techniques, not just Anuloma Ujjayi.

  • Your breath should never feel forced. If it feels strained reduce the length or stop completely. A smooth, steady breath is what you want.
  • Be sure the length of your exhale is always equal to or longer than inhale.

Anuloma Ujjayi is one of the more popular of the breathing techniques and is a good place to start for those relatively new to pranayama.

Have a wonderful week and …

Breathe Easy,


Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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