In the realm of pranayama, the ancient practice of breath control in yoga, Kumbhaka Pranayama stands out as a technique that involves breath retention or breath holding. This advanced practice offers various benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. In this blog, we will delve into the different types of Kumbhaka Pranayama, we will explore Kumbhaka Pranayama : How to do it and its benefits and things related to it.
First, let’s understand what kumbhaka means. The term “Kumbhaka” derives from the Sanskrit word for “pot” and represents the human torso, perceived as a vessel with two interior spaces: one at the throat and the other at the base of the pelvis. Kumbhaka Pranayama involves breath retention within these spaces.
Kumbhaka Pranayama : Types
Kumbhaka Pranayama is generally of two types. Antara Kumbhaka and Bahya Kumbhaka.
- Antara Kumbhaka Pranayama (Internal Breath Retention): In this type, the breath is retained after inhalation. It involves filling the lungs completely and holding the breath for a specific duration before exhaling.
- Bahya Kumbhaka Pranayama (External Breath Retention): Contrary to Antara Kumbhaka, Bahya Kumbhaka involves holding the breath after exhaling. The breath is expelled fully, and the lungs remain empty for a certain period before inhaling again.
Kumbhaka Pranayama: How To Do It
If you are wondering how to do kumbhaka pranayama, then below mentioned Kumbhak Pranayama steps can help you out.
- Find a comfortable seated posture, ensuring proper alignment of the spine, neck, and head. Close your eyes and relax your body.
- Begin with deep diaphragmatic breathing, inhaling slowly through the nose, filling the lungs with air, and expanding the abdomen. Exhale slowly, allowing the abdomen to contract.
- Start with Antara Kumbhaka:
- Inhale deeply to a comfortable count, such as five.
- Retain the breath by closing the nose with the thumb and ring finger.
- Hold the breath for the same count as the inhalation.
- Release the hand, lift the head, and exhale normally through the nose for double the inhalation count.
4. Transition to Bahya Kumbhaka:
- Exhale fully, emptying the lungs completely.
- Retain the breath by holding the exhalation.
- Hold the breath for a comfortable count.
- Inhale gently through the nose and release the hand.
5. Repeat the cycle, alternating between Antara and Bahya Kumbhaka, gradually increasing the duration of breath retention as you progress in your practice.
Kumbhaka Pranayama: Considerations
- Kumbhaka Pranayama is an advanced practice, and beginners should approach it gradually and with caution.
- Avoid practising Kumbhaka Pranayama if you have respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, high blood pressure, or are pregnant without proper guidance and approval from a healthcare professional.
- Never push yourself beyond your comfort zone or hold the breath to the point of strain or discomfort.
Kumbhaka Pranayama: Benefits
Kumbhaka Pranayama is well known for its exceptional benefits, some of them are listed below.
- Cleanses and purifies respiratory system, promoting better oxygenation
- Enhances respiratory efficiency by regulating breath and influencing air pressures
- Stimulates respiratory centre, improving oxygen exchange and lung function
- Reduces strain on circulatory system, optimising oxygenation and promoting healthier circulation
- Enhances concentration, mental clarity, and mindfulness
- Cultivates pranic energy, promoting vitality, well-being, and spiritual growth
Kumbhaka Pranayama offers a profound exploration of breath control in yoga. By incorporating breath retention, it provides numerous benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. However, it is essential to approach this practice mindfully, seek guidance from a qualified instructor, and practice with patience and respect for your body’s limitations. As you embark on this pranayama journey, may you discover the transformative power of Kumbhaka Pranayama in your life.
Ans. Kumbhak Therapy is a unique approach to healing chronic ailments, such as diabetes, hypertension, thyroid issues, cancer, and asthma. It employs specialised holding techniques that involve breath-holding, focus, sound, and intention to strengthen specific functions or organs within the human system. What sets Kumbhak Therapy apart is its foundation in two key pillars: Prana Shakti Diagnosis and Customization. Through Prana Shakti Diagnosis, the root cause or weakest factor contributing to the problems is identified, enabling targeted healing. Customization ensures that specifically designed Kumbhak Practices are provided based on an individual’s condition and unique system. This personalised approach distinguishes Kumbhak Therapy from other therapeutic modalities, making it a holistic and tailored method of addressing chronic ailments.
Ans. The Ashta Kumbhakas refer to the eight different types of breath retention in yogic practices. They include Surya Bhedana, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, and Plavini. Each technique has its unique method and benefits, contributing to the overall practice of breath control and pranayama in yoga.