Breathing Techniques (Part-3)

Pranayama Techniques

The preceding hub dealt with first two levels of Pranayama. Here we will get acquainted with next two advanced levels.

Technique # 3 (‘Antar Kumbhaka’---Inner Retention)

a) Close the right nostril and breath in slowly through the left nostril, counting from 1-5 in your mind.

b) After the inhalation ends, close both nostrils and retain the air in the lungs for a count of 5 again.

c) Open the right nostril, breathe in slightly through the right nostril and then slowly breathe out slowly through the same nostril up to a count of 5. Exhalation should be smooth and regulated and should be for the same length of time as inhalation.

d) At the end of exhalation, inhale through right nostril for a count of 5, keeping the right nostril closed.

e) Now retain the breath up to a count of 5 keeping the left nostril closed.

f) Again, retain the breath for a count of 5 with both nostrils closed.

g) Open the left nostril, breathe in slightly through the left nostril and then breathe out through the same nostril for a count of 5.

h) This completes one round. You can practice 10 such rounds.

The ratio during inhalation and exhalation is important to maintain. You can alter the ratio as you develop the ability to control breath for a longer time. After maintaining the ration of 1:1:1 increase the ratio to 1:1:2. This means in the initial stage of this level, if you inhale up to a count of 5 and the ‘internal kumbhaka’(inner breath retention) is for a count of 5, the exhalation should be for a count of 10. After a few weeks of practice, increase the ratio to 1:2:2 which means that if you inhale up to a count of 5 the internal kumbhaka should be for a count of 10 and the exhalation also should be up to a count of 10. Gradually increase the count by one over a period of one or two years to 24:48:48. Once this has been mastered, go on to the next level.

Technique # 4 (Antar & Bahar Kumbhaka) meaning internal and external retention

a) In this method outer breath retention is mastered. Do not try to hold the breath (outside) for too long at first even if you find that easy to do.

b) Inhale through left nostril. Retain breath inside as described in level # 3. Exhale through the right nostril.

c) After exhalation, when lungs get emptied of the air, close both nostrils and hold the breath out for a particular count (which you chose).

d) Exhale slowly though the right nostril immediately before inhalation. This releases the lock on the lungs and the glottis and brings the respiratory system smoothly back into operation.

e) Inhale slowly through the right nostril. Retain breath inside as described earlier.

f) Exhale through left nostril.

g) Again hold the breath out to the count (you chose) with both nostrils closed.

h) This completes one round. You may practice for 5 rounds.

The ratio should start off as 1:4:2:2 for inhalation, internal retention, exhalation and external retention respectively. The duration of inhalation should be slowly increased and so should be the duration of exhalation and retention adjusted accordingly. Do not increase the count until you are fully comfortable with the existing count.

Precautions to be taken:

Depending on the time (sunrise / sunset) you are practicing Pranayama, one of the two nostrils usually becomes dominant and it is not advisable to change the flow of breath at any time. Under no circumstances, breath should be forced. Never breathe through mouth and always proceed with the help of expert guidance. At the slightest sign of discomfort, reduce the duration of inhalation, exhalation or ‘breath retention’ and if necessary, discontinue the practice till you are prepared to it.

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Comments 12 comments

RDIndia profile image

RDIndia 7 years ago

Hi anjali,

Your this yoja article is very kownledgeable.

If u publish more health article it will be really helpful for many guys


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

RDIndia: I am really working on that. You might see more of such articles in coming days. Thx very much for your kind comments.


premsingh profile image

premsingh 7 years ago

Hi Anjali, Pranayama is undoubtedly very useful for leading a healthy life. I've attended a basic course called "Art of Living". Breathing process is a bit modified form of Pranayam and called "Sudarshan Kriya". The process is patented (by Sri Ravishankar ji) and very useful for maintaing internal organs in good shape and size. I've all the appreciation for you for documenting breathing process that may help millions to keep fit. Thumbs up.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York Author

Prem Singh: Even I visited Art of Living center in New York. They are doing a good work all over the world. I hope the data which I have tried to put together here really helps people to reduce their stress levels and lead a healthy life. Thx very much for your generous comments.


David99999 5 years ago

I found this very helpful. I meditate or chant about three or four times a week. I am now following you, here. I'm eager to learn more of that which you know. - David


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

David99999: Meditating 4 times a week...thats good enough. Thanks for such wonderful words. Feel free to come back. :)


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

i also practise the sudershan kriya and ther results are amazing. my wife started doing this set of pranayams after her byepass surgery and we found that the results of the tests at the end of one year were actually much better than just after surgery.

i have seen people give up smoking,drinking and so on after starting pranayam.i am the laggard in this though have been very very regular for the last 2 days.if i continue a few more days maybe i can also be salvaged to a state of being at least half human.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi Neelesh! Guess we're sailing in the same boat. I too want to do this regularly but 'time' is a major constraint. At least we're trying. Thx so much. :)


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

Ahaa twin souls!!!!!!

it is not time i guess anjali we waste much more time on more mudane things.it is that whole force of statis dragging us down from doing things which are actually good for us.not doing what is good for us just because it requires a little effort to get out of a negative habit patern is an afliction we all have to live with and overcome.

but sigh!!!! only if doing it were so easy. what we will do new found friend is, I will lecture you on it and you lecture me, someday either of us might just wake up to doing things right.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi Neelesh: Oh please I don't intend lecturing anyone. I just write what feels right to me. In fact most of the times I don't even write with my conscious mind. I can say that because when I read my hubs again it doesn't feel like reading my own words. Crazy me! How I see it.....even if these articles help one person in this tough world, I'll consider my job done. Thats all the purpose is. Thank you.


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 5 years ago from new delhi

heeyy did not mean that in a negative way friend.

yes they come from deep within you and therefore the other anjali is writing them- the one whose depth even you have not yet fathomed. more strength to her dost.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 5 years ago from New York Author

@ Neelesh: Of course I know that...your words can never have a negative impact. :) I just wanted to let you know honestly how I feel about what I write. So smile and make others smile....thats what you do always. :)

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