The yoga practice is referred to as the eight limbed path. Depending on how you look at it, you are meant to make your way sequentially through the eight limbs starting with getting your moral and ethical house in order before proceeding to the third limb that we are well acquainted with—the asana or physical practice of opening and strengthening the body.
The fourth limb of yoga is pranayama, the breath practice. Ujjayi breath is one type of pranayama that is often employed in the asana practice. Ujjayi breath is often referred to as the ocean breath because of the sound it produces coming out of the nostrils.
Here is a simple way to feel if you are accessing the ujjayyi breath correctly. When you breathe naturally through the nose you will likely feel the hair, or cilia, at the tip of the nose, waving in the wind of the breath. The ujjayi breath comes from a different place at the base of the nose or back of the throat. When you are using the ujjayyi breath the air travels in a different pattern and you won’t feel the cilia at the tip of the nose moving as you breathe. This creates the ocean sound I referred to has a certain Darth Vadar quality to it.
The ujjayyi breath can be a powerful and meditative force in your practice and it is well worth exploring.