Kumbhaka image

Kumbhaka (breath retention) leads to inner peace

In the ancient yogic text Sri Vijana Bhairav Tantra, there is a description of a simple and easy meditation – Kumbhaka.

कुम्भिता रेचिता वापि पूरिता या यदा भवेत् |
तदन्ते शान्तनामासौ शक्त्या शान्त: प्रकाशते || 27 ||

(When kumbhaka takes place after inhalation or exhalation, then the shakti known as shanta is experienced and through that peace, the bhairava consciousness, is revealed)

In many of the meditation ( and pranayama ) methods, there is a step to still the breath – stop the breath either after we have inhaled completely or after we have exhaled. In yoga this is called ‘Kumbhaka’. It stills the mind, which is the main requisite for dharana, or meditation. When we still the breath, the mind becomes still and steady. Kumbhaka is an effective way of inducing meditation and an effective way to stop the thoughts altogether. Constant chatter of thoughts consumes a lot of mental energy. When our mind is agitated with many thoughts, the breathing becomes rapid, and when the thoughts are less the breathing is steady.

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