Today we’ll talk about the benefits of holding your breath including in the process of Many pranayamas involve holding (kumbhaka). Why is it necessary and what benefits does it bring on the physical and energetic levels?

N.B. Everything written here was not invented by me and I do not claim authorship of the information presented. This article is a retelling of one of the chapters of the book by Andre Van Lisbet “Pranayama. The path to the secrets of yoga ”.

The benefits of kumbhaka and its varieties
Holding your breath stimulates cellular respiration. This type of breathing involves all the cells in the body. As Andre Van Lisbeth notes,

“The activation of the cells leads to the revitalization of the organism and the acceleration of all biological processes. The liberated energy serves for psychophysiological purposes <…> Western people, who live mainly in closed rooms, have few opportunities to stimulate cellular respiration. Practicing pranayama exercises ensures that this gap is filled by improving vitality and helping the body to cope with fatigue. ”

The effect of holding the breath depends on its duration.

Kumbhaka up to 20 seconds
A delay of 3 to 20 seconds promotes better oxygen uptake. Usually, only 6% of the 21% oxygen in the air is absorbed during breathing. That is, the exhaled air contains 14-15% oxygen. Thanks to kumbhaka, the efficiency of breathing increases.

A delay of this duration has no contraindications and can be practiced anywhere.

Kumbhaka up to 90 seconds
A delay of 20 to 90 seconds makes the result even more effective.

At the physiological level, it:

Alters blood circulation. That is why it is better to perform it in the Lotus Pose (Padmasana) or in the Diamond Pose (Vajrasana) – this allows you to stop the blood flow to the legs and increase the blood flow to the brain and heart.
Changes metabolism: to obtain oxygen, sugar stores are broken down.
Increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood and raises the body temperature.
At the level of the nervous system, such a delay restores the nervous balance. By acting on the vagus nerve (the central control point of the parasympathetic nervous system), it protects the body from overexcitation. That is why pranayama with holding the breath is so useful for a modern person who often has poor sleep and tense nerves.

Kumbhaka from 90 seconds and above
A delay of 90 seconds to several minutes can help restore lost body functions. Here you can turn to the hypothesis of Professor Filatov, who suggested that

“Cells, when exposed to unfavorable, but not fatal conditions, begin to produce stimulants that can activate the work of the whole organism.”

Holding the breath for such a period of time is recommended to be performed only under the supervision of a teacher.

Pranayama is the source of youth
Add pranayama to your practice and train your breath holding to improve your nervous system and overall physical condition.