Yoga Techniques | Kumbhaka

Kumbhaka - Breath Retentions

Here at Yoga Local we like to bring themes into the studio that we can base our Yoga practice around. This month is working with the theme ‘Be Still’, and we are incorporating different techniques each week to bring our intention to that theme. (If you want to read more about this theme CLICK HERE).

This week, as part of be still month, we were looking to create the space to listen during our practice. 


We do this by finding stillness within the Asana (postures) and breath which creates the space to listen to your inner voice.

Kumbhaka | Breath Retention

One way to create space in the mind is through KUMBHAKA, or as you may know it, breath retention. Holding the breath creates complete stillness and we can drop our mind into this space and use it to connect inwards. 

Kumbhaka on the exhale creates immense stability and groundedness for the mind, whereas kumbhaka on the inhale builds and concentrates PRANA (energy). It is done by simply holding the breath for 2 or more counts at the end of the inhale or the exhale. For more advanced practitioners, you can hold the breath for much longer and allow for even more space between the breath to drop your awareness into.

The Provocation Of Kumbhaka 

Kumbhaka can set off alarm bells for the reactive mind when it is first introduced to your practice. The body senses danger as the flow of breath is halted, and this can be very provocative. It is also challenging on a psychological level. When we halt the momentum of the mind through retaining the breath, all of the stuff we push to the backs of our mind comes to the surface. This makes Kumbhaka a brilliant tool for overcoming negative and toxic mental challenges, if you stick with it and work past the obstacles. 

After a consistent practice with Kumbhaka, the initial triggering response is no longer created. It becomes a nourishing and healthy challenge for your breath-work and mental stillness. 

Why We Are Using Kumbhaka This Week

We have been using Kumbakha in practice this week so our Yogis can bring their intention inwards and use the technique to observe their thoughts and what the body is telling them. We are aiming to create the space to listen to ourselves and open up to our internal teacher.


Try it yourself! Whether it’s during your Asana, Pranayama or Meditation practice… bring in some breath retentions to bring complete stillness to your practice. Drop your mind in the space between the breath and listen to your inner Guru!


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