Kumbhaka Pranayam

Kumbhaka Pranayam

Kumbhaka Pranayam is also sometimes referred to as Breath Retention. It is a breathing technique which balances your intake of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide giving great health benefits.  Not taking in adequate oxygen or letting out carbon dioxide fully, leads to ailments in our body.

Regular practice of Pranayama is the key to correct breathing as it rectifies the ill effects of wrongful breathing. Kumbhaka Pranayam leads to improving the capacity of your lungs. Thereby we can take in more oxygen which detoxifies your body and provides you the vital Paraná energy.

Depending upon your focus and personal capacity we can classify the Kumbhaka Pranayam in two types –

  1. Antar Kumbhaka or the internal kumbhaka
  2. Bahya Kumbhaka or The external kumbhaka

As the name suggests, Antar Kumbhaka, involves inhaling deeply and holding the breath for a certain period of time. This is generally to the count of five (for the beginners), and thereafter exhaling.

In Bahya Kumbhaka (External Kumbhaka) after taking a deep breath in, we breathe out immediately and thereafter hold the breath to the count of five.


Kumbhaka Pranayama should be done early in the morning on an empty stomach.  The ideal way of doing it would be while sitting in padmasana or vajrasana. For those who find it difficult to sit on the ground, they can do it while sitting upright on a chair.

Kumbhaka Pranayama Procedure
  • Sit comfortably on the ground with crossed legs in Gyan Mudra, or in the chair if you find that more comfortable While on gthe round you can adopt padmasana for vajrasana whatever you find comfortable.
  • Keep your shoulders and spine straight and relaxed.
  • Focus on your breathing and start with simple inhalation and exhalation with both nostrils
  • For Antar Kumbhaka (Internal retention), take a deep breath slowly till the count of five in your mind. Hold your breath for a count of five and then release it slowly. After some practice, try to increase the duration of inhalation and retention.
  • For Bahya Kumbhaka (External retention), similar to antar kumbhaka, take a deep breath while counting five in your mind, and then breath out counting five normally, and thereafter hold your breath, to the count of five.
  • This cycle inhalation, retention, and exhalation should be repeated 3 to 4 times.
  • If you feel uncomfortable at any point you should stop immediately.
  • Patients with incidences of extremely High Blood pressure and heart disease should consult their doctor before doing this.
  • This Pranayama is not recommended for pregnant women
Benefits of Kumbhaka Pranayam
  • Improves the concentration power and gives a balanced and clear thought
  • Good for students and those who are engaged in more academic and mental work.
  • Keeps your mind calm does helping in achieving good results during meditation.
  • Reduces physical elements and is useful in diseases like Asthma, Allergies, Constipation, Heart blockage, Acidity, Diabetes, Gastric problem, problems with Reproductive organs, etc.

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