Sahaja Kumbhaka

Definition - What does Sahaja Kumbhaka mean?

Sahaja kumbhaka is a form of breath retention in pranayama (yogic breathing exercises). The term comes from the Sanskrit, saha, meaning “with”; ja, meaning “born”; and kumbhaka, meaning “breath retention.” It refers to holding the breath naturally with neither inhalation nor exhalation in mind.

It is sometimes considered synonymous with kevala kumbhaka, but when a distinction is made, kevala is considered on par with the state of samadhi, or union with the Divine, in which inhalation and exhalation are not necessary. Sahaja kumbhaka is typically produced by pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses, which is the fifth limb of yoga.

Yogapedia explains Sahaja Kumbhaka

There are two main types of kumbhaka: abhyantara kumbhaka, which is the cessation of breath when the inhalation is complete and the lungs are filled up; and bahya kumbhaka, which is the cessation of breath when the exhalation is complete. Sahaja kumbhaka is sometimes used as a synonym for sahita kumbhaka, a term that collectively describes abhyantara and bahya kumbhaka. When used in this manner, sahaja kumbhaka refers to when the retention of breath becomes natural (sahaja).

Kumbhaka, in general, but sahaja kumbhaka, in particular, is a key component of pranayama, which is used in conjunction with meditation and some yoga asanas. The practice is believed to increase the heat in the body and bring the energy systems into balance, which provides a range of physical and mental health benefits. It is thought to help prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases, from skin disorders to diabetes. It is also credited with these additional benefits:

  • Helps remove impurities from the body
  • Boosts physical and mental vitality
  • Improves concentration
  • Clears and stills the mind

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