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Sahita Kumbhaka Pranayama

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Sahita Kumbhaka Pranayama, the first pranayama in the Gheranda Samhita.

"Sahito dvividha proktah sagarbhashcha nigarbhakah,

Sagarbho beejamuchchaarya nigarbho beeja varjitah"


Translation:

Sahita pranayama is of two types: sagarbha and nigarbha.

Sagarbha type is done chanting a beej mantra* and nigarbha is practiced without it.

By Gheranda Samhita.

The technique in Gheranda Samhita is hard to understand because of ambiguous description… But I have found a very nice explanation of this Pranayama in the book “Path of fire and Light” by Swami Rama.

So, according to Swami Rama ji, this technique has 3 different levels:

  1. Adhama (for very beginners)

  2. Madhyama (intermediate)

  3. Uttama (for advanced practitioners)


Now, let’s see 2 techniques. First one is the same as given in the book “Path of Fire”. The second one, a little bit easy way to practice this Pranayama.

Technique 1:

  • Sit in padmasana and close the nostrils, the right one with the thumb, the left with the ring finger and little finger (Vishnu mudra).

  • Release the two fingers and inhale as slowly as you can through the left nostril.

  • When the lungs are filled, swallow the breath, which will compress the air and give the throat muscles better tension to hold the inspired air.

  • Do the tongue lock, jalandhara, and suspend.

  • Holding the air in the lungs for a definite period of time.

  • Restrain it for as long as you can without pain or suffocation.

  • Slowly exhale through the right nostril, keeping the left one closed.

  • Immediately inhale through the right nostril in the same manner than before.

This process is kept up for a given length of time, inhaling through one and exhaling through the other alternately, finishing by exhaling through the left.

While doing this practice the mind is focused either on the fire center at the navel, the nectar flowing from the moon in the head, or the flow of breath through the nostril.


Technique 2 (easy one):

  • Sit in padmasana or in any meditative asana, spine should be straight.

  • Inhale slowly and longer as much as you can through the both nostrils.

  • The moment you realize/feel you cannot inhale anymore through the nostrils, then swallow the air through your lips (crow beak).

  • Use the tongue lock, then chin lock.

  • Hold the breath (antar kumbhaka) according to your capacity.

  • Then release the chin lock then tongue lock, and exhale deeply and longer by the both nostrils.

  • After this technique, 5 natural breathing.

  • Then, repeat the practice 5 to 10 times.


Benefits:

  • Very good practice to increase the capacity of the lungs.

  • Develops physical strength in the body, making it fresh, active and strong.

  • Increases beauty and shine on the face.

  • Makes the mind happy and calm.

  • Mental problems are ended by this pranayama.

  • Appetite and thirst can be controlled.

  • Very useful for concentration and meditation.


Contra-indications:

  • Heart problems.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Epilepsy.


Important note:

Practice in the guidance of the teacher!


*Beej mantra:

Is a one-syllable sound used in meditation or yoga practice. Beej mantra means, “seed mantra” in Sanskrit.

There are a number of beej mantras and they each have meaning and intense vibratory qualities. They act as an instrument to access higher levels of consciousness.


Example of beej mantra for the chakras:



Hari om!!!

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