Ujjayi pranayama is the psychic breath. Combined with Aum it is an excellent relaxation and premeditative technique. It is easy to learn and can be practised by all, young and old, at any time of the day or night. You can use whatever position you find most comfortable, as long as the spine, neck and head all form a straight line. Lying down in shavasana is recommended, but no sleeping please. In this practice you must learn to snore without sleeping.
Relax your whole body and adjust your position so that you don’t have to change it at all during the practice.
Close your eyes.
Be aware of the breath flowing in and out of the nostrils.
Move your awareness down to your throat.
Feel the breath in your throat.
Contract the glottis.
Breathe deeply and softly.
Your breathing should sound like the gentle snoring of a sleeping baby.
You should have the feeling of breathing through the throat only.
Integrate Aum with each inhalation and exhalation.
As you inhale mentally chant Aum.
As you exhale mentally chant Aum.
Go on practising ujjayi and mentally repeating Aum.
With practice this technique can be done for hours, although five or ten minutes should be long enough to remove tensions and to relax or prepare you for additional meditational practices.
This practice, though it is so simple, has subtle influences on the whole body as well as the psychic plane. It calms the nervous system and removes all worries and troubles from the mind.
People who suffer from insomnia should have a quiet, deep sleep if they practise this technique in bed at night. They should lie in shavasana, without any pillow to elevate the head, obstructing the breath from passing through the already contracted glottis.
This practice is also very useful for people with high blood pressure, as it reduces the heartbeat.