Kumbhaka Pausing Breath Meditating | Pranayama Inhale Exhale | Practice Yoga – This summer, I took an eight-week course on pranayama, the yogic art o. Kumbhaka Pranayama – We become a force to reckon when we hold ourselves together. Yogendra Pranayama-VII- Holding Breath (Kumbhaka) In this. There are two kinds of retentions of the breath (kumbhaka): the retention of the Coulter’s book Anatomy of Hatha Yoga, which every yoga teacher should not.

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Retention should never be forced: You know you have held the breath too long if there is a gasping sound upon release.

Practice Antara Kumbhaka and Bayha Kumbhaka Breathing for Better Health

Another sign is a feeling of heat in the breath as it releases. Retention has a psychological purpose: Enjoy these periods of quiet mind. There is also a physiological benefit to retaining the breath after rapid breathing; it allows the blood chemistry to come back to normal. When we breathe quickly, we increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, but we deplete the level of carbon dioxide.

The body normally controls these two important levels through two sensing mechanisms, [1] one yoya the heart and the other in the brain.


When we are low on oxygen, the heart sensor eventually notices this, and sends a signal to the body to speed up respiration. A lowering of carbon dioxide affects the blood’s acid balance and causes the small blood vessels in the kkumbhaka to constrict, reducing the amount of oxygen going to this vital area.

The sensor in the brain signals the body to slow down the breath, allowing carbon dioxide to build up again. These are often accompanied by bandhas or bonds [4] to keep the energies in the torso of the body, where they can be most effective.

On the antar kumbhaka, the chin is dropped and the chest raised to prevent energy from escaping through the throat. On the bahir kumbhaka, a third bandha is added to the previous two, forming the maha bandha the great lock. This third bandha is performed by drawing the lower belly in, moving the navel to the spine, and lifting the abdomen up and under the kkumbhaka.

Practice Antara Kumbhaka and Bayha Kumbhaka Breathing for Better Health – Custom Pilates and Yoga

Antar kumbhaka is advised after bhastrika. While holding the chin lock, bring your attention to the ajna chakra, the third eye. After completing one round of twenty breaths and the kumbhaka, without concerns or difficulties, this can be repeated two more times. Again, if any straining is occurring, if irritation arises, a stitch develops stop.


The heart’s chemoreceptor initially orders the body to increase respiration. However, carbon dioxide also is depleted at higher altitudes and by faster respiration.

The brain’s chemoreceptor orders respiration to slow down, despite the lack of oxygen in the blood. The brain’s signals override the heart’s signals, and the breath continues to kumbhama down, sometimes to a dangerously, or even deadly low level. In these circumstances, conscious control is required to get enough oxygen into the blood.

More information on the physiological affects of pranayama can be found in David Coulter’s book Anatomy of Hatha Yogawhich every yoga teacher should not just read, but study. Please view our Terms of Use page for copyright and copyleft information. Before attempting any of the practices described on ku,bhaka web site please visit our Warning Page.

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