Contemplating the meaning of “Ujayii”

As I thought about the word “Ujayii”, I remembered my friend from high school. Her first name is Jaya, which she told me means “Victory”. So, I reasoned, “Ujayii breath” must mean something like “Victorious Breath”. I only know some rudimentary Sanscrit: the names of some yogic postures; a few other words that purportedly encompass large concepts, like namasté, jai bagwan, Om. Of course, my spellings are, of necessity, transliterations of the written Sanscrit, which is lovely, but an alphabet which which I have no familiarity.

Back to contemplating the ideas behind “Ujayii”, especially as it combines with the three part breath which I recently learned is called “Dirga”. Dirga breath is, essentially, diaphragmatic breath. Adding the Ujayii sound, accomplished by a slight constrictions the muscles at the back of the throat, results in a breathing technique that can serve as a focus during asana practice, and during meditative sessions. It is a calming activity, especially when the Ujayii sound is allowed to draw the mind’s attention. Maybe that’s why the sound is given the Ujayii name…focus on the breath can help the mind stay clear, focused, in the present moment. Clear, focused minds are calm minds, and calm minds can conquer fear, can relax into interesting and effective problem solving, can give an individual a peaceful mental oasis to enjoy. Those are victories, indeed!

Breathe, stay present, love life! That is my message to you today.

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