Ujjayi is a diaphragmatic breath, which first fills the lower belly, rises to the lower rib cage, and finally moves into the upper chest and throat. Inhalation and exhalation are both done through the nose. The “ocean sound” is created by moving the glottis as air passes in and out. As the throat passage is narrowed the passage of air creates a “whispering” sound. The length and speed of the breath is controlled by the diaphragm and this stimulates the vagus nerve which is part of the nervous system where we rest, digest, repair and restore. The inhalations and exhalations are equal in duration, and are controlled in a manner that causes ease.
To create the Ujjayi breath, you constrict the back of the throat, similar to the constriction made when fogging up a mirror. This creates an audible breathe like a whisper in the throat that is often compared to the sound of the ocean.