As you begin your kundalini yoga journey, mastering the art of pranayama is essential. These breathing exercises allow you to connect with both yourself and the universal power. At first, this practice may be a hard one to grasp. It takes patience, hard work, and a high level of self-restraint to complete many of the pranayama exercises.
One of the simplest yet most vital is the suspending of the breath. During kundalini yoga classes, you may come across this technique early on. The teacher may simply say “hold the breath” and expect students to immediately engage in the exercise. When you have mastered the suspending of breath, you may find that you experience a deep level of stillness and calm.
However, getting to that level requires the student to focus. You must learn how to relax both the diaphragm and muscles while also maintaining control. These areas are responsible for your breathing patterns. Having the internal power to release them while stopping your breath entirely is more than a skill; it’s one of the most crucial aspects of pranayama.
Using the right technique is important when it comes to suspending the breath. If the student does not execute this correctly, they will neither reap the benefits of the pranayama exercise nor gain that moment of stillness. Hence, practicing the exercise on a regular basis is the only way in which to develop and hone this particular move.
Benefits of Suspending the Breath
- Helps support meditation and relaxation
- Allows you to become more regimented
- Recondition the nervous system
- Strengthens your inner will power
- Temporarily raise the blood pressure
- Increases the internal self-transformation
- Offers a moment of sheer contemplation
- Exerts control over the diaphragm muscles
- Better understand the respiratory system
How to do Suspending the Breath
Within kundalini yoga sessions, the teacher may ask you to hold or suspend your breath. The exercise will be undertaken for a predetermined amount of time.
Directions when inhaling
- Start by inhaling as fully as possible. When the command is given, stop inhaling and bring your attention to the upper part of your ribs.
- While keeping your spine as straight as you can, lift the upper ribs and diaphragm so that the breath is suspended.
- Pull your chin inward toward your body.
- Ensure that your facial and neck muscles are relaxed. Try to stay in control.
- Should you need to exhale, only let a small amount of breath out. Release.
Directions when exhaling
- Exhale completely. Focus on your navel area and try to draw it in toward your spine.
- Bring the diaphragm up as much as you can. Relax your ribs and upper body muscles.
- Pull your chin toward your body.
- Stay calm and in control while holding your breath.
- As you start to feel some tension in your muscles, you may inhale slightly. Release.