Q: Just today we were talking about the Ujjayi breath… Could you explain a bit more specific how it should be and what’s happening in the mouth/throat area?

A:  The three steps KALIJI has outlined to learn Ujjayi are really the best way to feel this sound— when one breathes in as though sipping through a straw, one can feel the cool air in the same spot the sound is “made” — by this gentle lift in the back of the throat.  When one breathes out whispering “ahhh” , like fogging up glasses or a mirror, there is the same lift, a slight constriction in the same place.  By using these steps, instead of terms like “glottis”, students get the experience of the placement, rather than an explanation.

from Nandi: It is a slight closing of the glottis. Sounds that comes from the throat involve that. It can be taught that way in anatomy and explained. When we teach regular classes we don’t want people shutting down their throat too much and making an awkward strained sound. It’s why we don’t emphasize the glottis.

Kaliji uses the word “glottis” to explain the vocal fold movement (similar to that of whispering), but to feel it in the roof the mouth.  We need not be hesitant to use the word, but not to stick the sound there 😉

The less tension there is in the making of this sound, the more subtle and relaxing the technique can be.