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Breath hold – the yogic path of recovery

Breath-holding – or, in the language of the Yogis,
Kumbhaka – one of the most effective ways of healing the body, not to mention the achievement of success in yoga practice. But once it is necessary to make a reservation: this method has serious limitations, it is impossible to begin to practice “vlob”: firstly, not having mastered the pre coarser the practice of yoga (asanas Shatkarmas), and secondly, not to cleanse the body. In principle, these two pre-conditions are achieved together, so pranayama is the next step after the asanas eightfold path of yoga.

The central practice for which made all Pranayama – is Kumbhaka, breath-holding.
Differ Antar Kumbhaka (inspiratory delay, to be exact – after inhalation) and Bahir Kumbhaka (holding after exhalation). And both have a powerful effect both on the physical condition of the body (by regulating the processes of oxidation, breathing and heartbeat rhythms), and no less – on the state of consciousness. The fact that poses immobility (
Asana ) and breath holding (Kumbhaka) together is almost inevitably lead to a halt mysleobrazovaniya – Citta Vritti Nirodha or Unmann wise, which is the basic practice and the primary purpose of yoga. If stopping thoughts, roughly speaking, if you go too hard, and in his right mind – the practice does not hurt, at least, will not work – the physiology of delays is not so rosy and smooth as we would like. In fact, Kumbhaka – a dangerous practice: if a healthy yoga it in a short time will make a real hero, the conventional polubolnogo not prepared person performing the technique is wrong, and can really take the edge off. How do you do Kumbhaka properly to get maximum benefit?

Battlefield: Kumbhaka, or: Vis-H- vis the East-West

From the perspective of Western medicine, holding the breath in pranayama at the expense of those or other techniques: limiting the number of breaths, shallow breathing, or radical delay and subsequent slow breathing, as well as the “squeezing” of the throat tilt the head forward or backward, etc. -. creates mild conditions, so-called “training” hypoxia, that is, to put it simply, a lack of oxygen.
Due to work with mitochondria * pranayama alter the body’s ability to conduct processes involving oxygen (biological oxidation processes). It is easy to conclude that it is a direct interference in the processes of aging and degradation of the body – not surprisingly, many treatises called pranayama practices to achieve immortality.

But not to rejoice too in this regard, it is worth considering that the path of pranayama – the razor’s edge;
even “apparently healthy” people practice pranayama in the West, where there is almost no qualified teachers – a dangerous move, actually recommended by the Ministry of Health. If you open out of curiosity banal Wikipedia – it turns out that the default hypoxia describes our encyclopaedists how devastating the disease process. And rightly so, because approximately the same position occupied and traditional Western medicine – at least until recently. Despite the fact that the “backward” India has at least 500 years, is aware of the beneficial effects of pranayama, but in recent decades has been a tendency to consider hypoxia as obviously harmful, and the first to investigate this process. Occupational therapists will correct me if there crept inaccuracy. In general, Western scientists have recently discovered that the “semi-wild” Indian yogis, practicing Kumbhaka literally thousands of years, from generation to generation, were not quite feeble-minded, and some of what use in their exercises are still there. As a result (and the yard was something Restructuring and market relations!) There were all kinds of “instruments for astronauts’ (restricting breathing mechanically),” breathing on Buteyko “rebirthing and other. It’s not quackery, these methods and devices do work, and the more effective and safer than the more authoritative, detailed methodically accurate and, most importantly,
an individual approach is practiced when using them. “What Russian well – the German death”; Pranayama – it really is a panacea, but for every human being – and even more for each case history! – approach can be radically different. **

I note that the effect of pranayama in classical (non-western) yoga is considered a very different position – in terms of, and within the framework of Pran logic – of vitality or “winds”, or – “vortex” (A. Sidersky).
This is a topic for another article, but now it is important for us that the impact on the energy structure of the body should be individualized and gentle, otherwise inevitably what is called “cleansing” – a snowballing effect of cleansing on all levels, from the work of the body’s systems at the level of physiology to changing patterns of social behavior and attitudes in general. At the maximum, at careless approach can turn out a strong shift of consciousness that will leave a person by simply saying, in a mental hospital – or lead to suicide. This, of course, with only fanatics and mentally balanced people have nothing to fear.

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What begins Kumbhaka?

Initially – before alerting “to the western style,” and to some extent even the profanation of yoga that originated in the United States in the twentieth century – was a mystery pranayama practice to which the individual is only allowed ready physically and morally students.
Technology errors are corrected at the earliest stage, immediately. In addition, the master was able to observe the progress and provide new levels of practice only when the student was ready … Now all the equipment, up to the most extreme, calculated only on the units are publicly available. However, for their own benefit pranayama absolutely
not worth practicing “on the printout from the Internet” or “Videos from U-tube” – is that safe for the majority of the preparatory exercises. These include:

  • Sparing Bhastrika session (three approaches, the number of repetitions of sensations, increasing up to a level 30-30-30 – respite between sets with and without respiratory delays);

  • Anulov practice rather short-Bel pranayama (which in itself is considered to be mild and gently prepares for a more powerful and “hard” technology), then again to 100 breaths per day;

  • Gentle practice
    Agnisara -krii (say, three approaches to a delay of about 10 shaking belly in quick succession);

  • Ujjayi-pranayama (due to slowing rate of breathing and partial clamping glottis) for 3-5 minutes;

  • and with provisos, the first stage
    Nadi Sodhana pranayama (with the proportion of 1: 1 or 1: 1: 1).

So much for the preliminaries.
Actually Kumbhaka (and noticeable hypoxia) are still as if no, it is only on the horizon (soft start its effects are due to the work with the rhythm of breathing and other physiological factors) as the next stage of safe practice.

But do not discount “preparatory” technology from the account as “not effective.”
Despite the seeming ease, here there is a great and necessary work to cleanse and strengthen the body and pacify the mind (which for beginners is ridiculously hectic).

In fact, the above practice can be done independently, without fear, if (again) no contraindications: heart disease, lung problems, with the glands of internal secretion, inflammation, recent illnesses or operations are not taken antibiotics.
Bhastrika and Agnisara any complexity are not made by women during menstruation (and in the second half of the cycle of pregnancy).

“Kumbhaka do come true”, or primary level

True pranayama actually begins where hypoxia begins – namely:

  • in long sessions
    Anulov Bel-pranayama when the proportion of 1: 1 up to 10 or higher accounts sizes in each cycle;

  •  in major proportions
    Nadi Sodhana pranayama (somewhere between 1: 1: 2 and 1: 2: 2 to the base 1: 4: 2 and especially 1: 3: 2 and 1: 4: 2, and of course even more – in a ratio of 1: 4: 2: 1 and 1: 4: 2: 2, etc.). The delay in the ratio of 1: 1: 1 – is a real Kumbhaka
  • Bhastrika delays (usually they are made of feelings) between cycles: first, the usual practice of the delay on the exhale, then a few months later – on inspiration (in the session for the ground level to make rational approach Bhastrika 2-3 (30-50 breaths) with a delay of exhale – to cleanse, following 2-3 sets – with a delay of breath, filling prana).
  • Agnisara-kriya 20-30 and more agitation cycles delay after expiration. It is worth emphasizing that the delay in this and other pranayama (100 agitation cycles masters) should be increased gradually, not an effort , and at the expense of cleansing the body and increase the useful volume of the lungs, that is, quite slowly, over months and sometimes years. In the limit of delay before the practiced sense of “a little more than comfortable” (SS Saraswati). If the exit delay has to catch my breath, “take a breath”, a noisy output (sob) or have dizziness, ringing in the ears, etc. side effects – apparently holding time training (safe and beneficial to health) hypoxia situation has been exceeded (for particularly greyhounds supporters of the “marginal delay” – about the destructive effects of hypoxia and hypercapnia can be read in the same Wikipedia).
  • Murchha-Pranayama involves no loss of consciousness, as you might think by name (translated literally can be as “pranayama unconscious” or “Pranayama fall into a swoon,” variant “pranayama, intoxicating bliss”), and a light-like effect on the background of subtle sensations domestic “ bliss.” Inner feeling “drunk” or “bliss” is achieved by stopping the internal dialogue, and not by effects of strong hypoxia and in fact the actual process of loss of consciousness. Satyananda in his book “Asana. Pranayama. Mudra . Bandha “clearly indicates that if this Pranayama felt dizziness, ringing in the ears and other well-known signs of hypoxia -. Means the execution was wrong, excessive.
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How to increase the Kumbhaka?

If you experience discomfort in any of kumbhaka is necessary to recognize that the chosen length of the delay is premature – and therefore hypoxia itself has not “training” and destructive.
This is determined by a strictly individual basis, for a specific person, and at this point in time: even within the personal experience of one person every day beyond comfortable Kumbhaka change, everyone knows that experienced yoga.

Therefore, in addition to technology implementation (which must be impeccable), the most important issue related to the
useful hypoxia – is, of course, delay increasing rates. Immediately it should say that the limit (read: uncomfortable, through force and through the darkening of the eyes – until, sorry, loss of anal sphincter tone) Kumbhaka in the classical approach to yoga completely absent. It is possible that individuals and reach such extreme methods of some of the results, but we need to understand that this space a bold experiment (where the rate – their health, months, and years of time, and the success of the practice of yoga), and is not a safe field of centuries-old traditions.

“According to the classics” – again, taking as its starting point an authoritative Bihar School of Yoga Sivananda, Satyananda – suggest the following in order to achieve positive effects Kumbhaka
training method of proportions , the example of Nadi Sodhana pranayama:

  1. Start practice with a ratio of 1: 1.
    After several cycles of alternate breathing (respiration during which aligned) should calculate the length room exhalation ”
    ohm -1 ohm-2 ohm-3 …”, etc. We have to do this several times, watching carefully to see if there is voltage – it should not be. So calculated guide number for the practice, usually it is 5 or 7. In practice, for beginners made of 5-10 breaths. Pranayama is done daily on an empty stomach (ideally – in the morning, before breakfast, after asanas cycle).

  2. After 1 week of practice to increase the number by 1 if it is comfortable.
    That is, if the first week we were breathing in the proportion of 7: 7, now do 8: 8. This continues until it reaches 10:10. If you do not increase the comfortable breath in this week – does not increase, breathe the same number of accounts. Haste is not appropriate.

  3.  Reaching 10:10 and breathe so a week, go to the proportion of 1: 2.
    However, once at 5:10 skaknut not work! Initially, the guide number to be divided by 2, and how to start small: 5:10 – or, if very hard, then with 3: 6. Here, again, it is important not to force your body: our goal – a “training” pranayama, rather than achieving “high” from the asymmetrical type or limiting breathing. Leave it marginalized from yoga! Moreover, even
    this proportion (1: 2) has a strong influence on the psyche and is not suitable for people prone to depression (as achieved strong introversion “immersing a”).

  4. We arrive at 10:20, practice week.
    Then go to the proportion of 1: 1: 1 – where we are met by the present Kumbhaka! Breathing should be silent, easy and comfortable all the time conscious. Starting with 7: 7: 7 (our original guide number, only the new ratio). Feels, added with one bank to all parts of the passage of time (8: 8: 8, 9: 9: 9 and to 10:10:10). At the slightest discomfort “rolling back” back in the lead.

  5. New stage.
    Lowers the number to the original (or 7 then what we have chosen in the beginning) and take the proportion of 1: 1: 2, ie, say 7: 7: 14.
    This technique is not practiced, and next asthmatics. So we get to 10:10:20.

  6. Then there is a proportion of 1: 2: 2.
    (We practice to 10:20:20).

  7. Again “slipping” in the beginning, and we take a ratio of 1: 3: 2.

  8. We begin add 1 account for inhalation, delay 3, and 2 to exhalation, so practice to achieve (in comfort!) 10:30:20.

  9. Last proportion of the classics – is 1: 4: 2.
    It begins with X: 4X: 2X where X is, as usual, your original guide number, ie e.g. 7:28:14. Work in this proportion should be gradually brought to 10:40:20. This practice is done in the second half of pregnancy, at elevated pressure, or other contraindications (at this level have a better start to personally consult with any expert, master of yoga).

  10. What’s next?
    In the future – the best in personal contact with a specialist – you can apply bandha: Jalandhar and
    Mula . However, again, first by decreases, as the transition to the next level: two times or less (reaching this level, you can now focus on their own feelings, and not someone else’s instructions).

  11. Further in practice also included Bakhir Kumbhaka – exhalation breath holding.
    Because this is a very powerful practice that has severe restrictions on diet and state of consciousness, we are not going to talk about it: anyone can get this practice in
    Guru (Yoga specialist, who will take personal responsibility for you).
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Limitations and Warnings

The practice of pranayama, even entry-level does not fit well with alcohol and other intoxicants, even in trace (by Russian standards) amounts.

The initial condition for the practice of Kumbhaka and even prepare for it – clean the body, that is, it is desirable not to take alcohol, tobacco, meat food for a day or two to practice.
It helps cleanse the body as previously Shatkarmas (in particular, this
Basti , Shankha-Prakshalana). Then the effect is mild and beneficial. In fact, the original texts directly prescribe it (see. “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, “Yoga Sutras”). The ideal condition for practicing pranayama – it is an experience of 1 year in regular classes asanas.

It is also important to consider that when you close Jalandhar bandha, physiologically correct inspiratory delay is performed with relaxed glottis (throat);
performing a delay in Murchha-pranayama (where there is a deflection of the back neck) is not necessary to strain your neck and face – that is, again, not to clamp the glottis (and, ultimately, the main blood vessels); and when the delay exhalation (Mach bandha) requires Uddiyana bandha. If these nuances can be produced increased intracranial pressure, which is undesirable. In general, the implementation delays, combined with bandhas and asanas – “aerobatics”, which is relevant only if there is sufficient training, including the purely physical (training of the respiratory muscles, pulmonary rehabilitation, blood vessels, heart).

It is also believed that in general the Pranayama is contraindicated for people with mental disabilities, as
can exacerbate the pathological state of mind ***. At the same time, there is some positive experience of using, for example, Surya Bheda pranayama for the treatment of depression (SS Saraswati), etc.

* There is an “increase in the number of mitochondria and stimulate the activity of respiratory enzymes.”
Frolov, Kumbhaka or gipoventilyatsionnye techniques in yoga.

** Additional information about the individualization of practices and proper use of physiologically Kumbhak shown here.


For the same reason, the practice is sometimes considered undesirable delays in asymmetrical breathing only through the left nostril (Chandra bheda pranayama).

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