Breath control, the fourth limb of Patanjali’s eightfold path, consisting of conscious inhalation (puraka) retention (kumbhaka) and exhalation (recaka); at advanced satiate, breath retention occurs spontaneously for longer periods of time.

Vitality breath exercise

The vitality breath energizes the body by pulling in tremendous oxygen throughout the body. It’s a great practice to perform when you need a lift or when you feel very tired.

Come to a standing position. Turn your head to the left, and exhale forcefully, like HAA! Bring the head back to the center and inhale as fully as you possibly can through the nose. While holding the air in … to the maximum, tense all your muscles like you’re ready to explode. Still gazing forward, you’ll exhale through the mouth with two exhalations: HAAA! And HAAAAAAA!


Repeat this a few more rounds and see how you feel.

I will never forget the first few times I did Pranayama practices. I remember just staring at my guru and running questions in my mind such as “What is he doing?” or, “Does he think that this will make all the difference?” I actually got deeply into the Pranayama practice only once I started to cultivate a breath and movement connection while practicing the yoga postures. I truly believe that for most of us, practicing Pranayama can be very challenging and may seem like a not-so-much-from-this-Earth practice. I invite you to try out different techniques as there are very simple ones, such as observing the breaths, as well as more complicated techniques. I really enjoy how Donna Farhi puts this in her Breathing blog. “To mind, the breath is to make a decision. It may be the most radical decision you have ever made in your life. The second you choose to mind your breath you have decided that this present moment, this very moment, is worthy of your full attention. The instant you do this you have begun to extricate yourself from the hold of the past and the pull of the future. You are living your life as a today rather than a tester day or a tomorrow. ”14

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