Practice Session 9: Inhalation-retention & Exhalation-retention Emphasis (19 min)
In Level 2 there is emphasis on two parts of the breath. In this practice I will guide you through the following breath-control exercises (prânâyâmas):
- Natural breathing
- Inhalation retention emphasis (6 breaths)
- Exhalation retention emphasis (6 breaths)
- Natural breathing (meditation)
- Supine Relaxation
Are you ready for the next level?
Comments and Cautions:
Even though there are verbal instructions for at least four out of every 6 of the breaths, I suggest that initially you practice with your eyes mostly open so you can follow any visual cues I make and the subtitles that come on the screen at the beginning of each breathing cycle. These titles describe the type of breathing we are doing and the breathing cycle number. At the end of each cycle there is the sound of a gong to signal a new breath beginning. Once you are comfortable with the practice after doing it few times you can keep your eyes closed most of the time (and eventually all of the time).
If you have not completed your breathing cycle when you hear the sound of the gong then simply exhale (if you have air still in your lungs) and begin the next cycle as soon as you can.
If you are trying to emphasise lengthening your inhalation but you cannot inhale any more then you can simply hold the breath in for a while instead. Likewise, if you are trying to emphasise lengthening your exhalation but you cannot exhale any more then you can simply hold the breath out for a while instead.
If you need to take any extra breaths at any stage please do so, but only take as many natural breaths as you need and try not to gulp the air in. If you feel you need more air but you are not getting warm or hot from the practice it may be that you are simply getting anxious about running out of air and are not used to the sensation of not breathing for so long. In this case I suggest that it is safe to stay calm, know that you will be safe and make more effort to hold continue with the breathing cycle you are on. If you are getting dizzy it may be that you are breathing too much, and a good quick fix is to simply hold the breath out as long as you comfortably can and return to relaxed natural breathing either sitting or lying supine.
This practice is perfectly safe for most people especially if you take the cautions that I have suggested. Please consult a medical practitioner if you are uncertain about your suitability or fitness to do this practice.