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Holding Breath

When doing pranayama breath infusion, one must be careful when holding the breath in or out. Any action for suspending breathing is dangerous and should be carefully monitored. Suspension of breathing means that the body cannot continue its normal breathing routine. Thus the person who suspends breathing for any reason, takes responsibility for any mishap which occurs in the lungs, brain, or body, because of the system being unable to expel carbon dioxide (polluted air) and to absorbed oxygen (fresh air).

When doing kapalabhati/bhastrika pranayama breath infusion, the suspension of breathing should be done for one reason only, which is to facilitate the distribution of accumulated air. The assumption is that due to the rapidity of inhaling and exhaling, there will be excess oxygen in the lung cells. This excess should be distributed. That is the reason for a cessation of breathing. It is not for the purpose of holding the breath. The breath should not be suspended if there is no excess air in the lung cells which should be distributed.

If someone does several repaid breaths, the rate of ingestion of fresh air will be higher than the lung’s ability to move that air into the blood stream. This means that the air will be compacted into the blood cells (alveoli) in the lungs. This reservoir of oxygen should be collected and transported by the red blood cells which travel through the arteries.

There is a practice for holding the breath so that the body becomes conditioned to existing on stale air (carbon dioxide and other negative gases, ketones). That process is not the one which is practiced in inSelf Yoga™. For this yoga, retention of breath is only for distribution absorption, such that as soon as the excess oxygen moves from the lungs, into the blood stream and is distributed somewhere in the body, normal breathing is resumed or rapid breathing is begun. Then again as soon as there is excess fresh air in the lung cells, there is retention of breath on an inhale or exhale and there is immediate and intense focus on the distribution of that excess air through the body.

The danger in suspending breathing is that the kundalini life force may switch its reliance from fresh air to stale air, from oxygen to carbon dioxide. If that happens one is likely to lose control of the body. Intake of carbon dioxide by the brain will cause the cells which support objective consciousness to enter a dull state, which will produce swoon, fainting, or unconsciousness.

As soon as the body needs to resume breathing, it should be allowed and no effort to continue retaining the breath should be made. Instead, normal breathing should begin or rapid breathing for more infusion of fresh air should be initiated.

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