Often in yoga classes, the instructor will tell the students to start ujjayi breathing.
What is ujjayi breath? This is the victorious breath that yogis use in many pranayama, breath control, exercises and in vinyasa flow yoga. The breath will become audible and like a bellow. It is a calm, controlled breath that can help the yoga practitioner remain calm and steady while moving from one pose to another in a yoga flow. It can be tricky to learn at first, but with practice, this type of breathing becomes more natural. When practicing ujjayi breath, the practitioner breathes in and out through the nostrils with the glottis in the throat slightly constricted. The breath is not nasally in sound, but the sound comes from the throat.
Ujjayi breath can be performed sitting or standing. To start learning how this breath should feel in the throat, start with the mouth open. Breath in and out through the mouth with a constriction in the throat. It is similar to breathing on a cold window to make a fog. Try to keep the constriction for both the inhale and exhale. As one becomes more comfortable with this breath, close the mouth and breathe through the nose while keeping the constriction. Practice this as long as necessary. Ways to learn to control the breath, is to keep the constriction and count the breath in. While exhaling, try to find the same count as the inhale. This will help the student learn to control the breath.
When incorporated with vinyasa flow, the ujjayi inhale is generally used when lifting up or expanding. The exhale tends to be when folding or constricting. This is very general though and, of course, there are some exceptions. A controlled breath during vinyasa flow yoga will help the student find control in his or her yoga practice.