Kumbhakasana is often used as a transitional pose between sun salutation flows, especially in Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga. It promotes feelings of inner strength as well as spiritual alignment and balance.
When practiced on the forearms with the hands in a prayerful position, it is thought to open the ajna (third eye) chakra, which promotes clarity, Self-realization and wisdom. Kumbhakasana also activates the manipura (solar plexus) chakra, or the power center of the body.
Individuals who are building strength, have sensitive wrists or have carpal tunnel syndrome may wish to practice kumbhakasana with a modification. When entering the pose from hands and knees, once the feet step backward with toes tucked, bend the knees so that the spine is aligned in an angle in which the knees support the pose. To protect the wrists, practitioners can lower the forearms onto the mat to support the body, with elbows aligned under the shoulders.