19 Sep Full breath retention- Kumbhaka Pranayama
Kumbhaka- We become a force to reckon when we hold ourselves together.
Yogendra Pranayama-VII- holding breath (Kumbhaka)
In this Pranayama, after deep inhalation, the breath is retained.
Starting position :
- Do preliminary conditioning in Sukhasana or any other meditative posture.
- If not possible to sit on the floor, sit on a firm chair with an erect backrest.
- Keep the body above the waist straight and the spine erect. Keep eyes closed.
Sequence of steps for Kumbhaka Pranayama:
- Make a short exhalation and then start inhaling – slowly and rhythmically in one long and unbroken inspiration.
- Continue inhaling until a sense of fullness is experienced in the chest.
- Retain the inhaled air for a period of 10 seconds (preferably double the period of inspiration).
- Ensure: No exaggerated movement of the abdomen.
- While sitting spine, head and neck is maintained erect.
- Ensure facial muscles relaxed and nose is unconstricted.
- Inhalation is slow and rhythmic – long, unbroken and without jerks.
- Now exhale as naturally as possible – gradually, avoiding jerky or hasty movements.
- Take few normal breaths and relax.
- Practice daily, 5 rounds/session, with pause in-between rounds.
- Begin with a count of 5 seconds inhalation and 10 seconds retention. Gradually increase it by 1 sec/every week, when practised daily.
- Practice without strain to a count as per individual comfort
- Children under 12 years should not practice.
- Not recommended in serious cardiac and hypertension cases.
Benefits of Kumbhaka Pranayama:
- Hygienic effect on dead space air or residual air and alveolar air.
- Better ventilation of air happens.
- Favourable effect on intra-thoracic and intra-pulmonary air pressures.
- Increase in carbon dioxide level (due to retention) activates respiratory centre in brain leading to greater interchange of oxygen.
- Better oxygenation – improves health and concentration.
- Reduces strain on circulatory system.
The Yoga Institute has been conducting Respiratory Camps since 1987 where preventive measures for respiratory problems are covered. The 1-day camp held every month covers yogic techniques (asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, relaxation) talks by Smt. Hansaji and medical experts.