Kundalini Yoga’s 1 Minute Breath
Yoga Breathing Technique for Brain Health & Brain Fitness
1 Minute Yogic Breath
The mind and breath are intimately related. In fact, one of the best and most effective ways to silence the mind, is by slowing down the breath, and the reverse is true as well, if your mind is calm and serene, your breath too will be slow and fine. Kundalini Yoga’s 1 minute yogic breath is one of the most powerful techniques for creating this silencing affect on the brain, but like all powerful yoga pranayamas, this technique also demands that you approach it with respect and intelligence.
This pranayama takes some time to master. It is difficult and since it involves one of the more advanced aspects of yogic breathing, breath retention, it is prudent to develop this technique slowly and build up one’s capacity steadily over time. Once mastered though, for brain development and mind control, this pranayama is one of the best. If you are new to yoga practice, I suggest incorporating this technique into your practice so that you can start to develop your expertise in it and therefore enjoy it’s great rewards in due course.
1 Minute Yogic Breath comes from the powerful school of Kundalini Yoga. It was taught to me by Ravi Singh, who learned it from Yogi Bhajan. On Mastery of Meditation & Yoga, this breathing technique will be chapter 11 on our ongoing Free Online Yoga Breathing Exercises E-book.
Below are the bountiful benefits of this breathing technique, followed by step-by-step instructions on how to practice this pranayama.
Benefits of 1 Minute Yogic Breath:
- Gives one tremendous inner peace and tranquility.
- Helps rejuvenate the brain.
- Help one control the mind and thoughts.
- Helps you conquer fear and become courageous.
- Keeps the brain healthy.
- Calms the entire nervous system and helps dissolve stress.
- Excellent for inducing meditative states of consciousness.
- Develops willpower.
- Builds respiratory capacity.
- Expands and builds the pranic body (energetic body).
Cautions for 1 Minute Yogic Breath:
As the name implies the 1 minute yogic breath, is a single breath cycle done over the course of 1 minute: 20 seconds to inhale, 20 seconds hold breath in and 20 seconds to exhale. This is, as I mentioned above, not easy to do initially and as it involves breath retention, it should be approached cautiously and slowly. The pranayama should not be done using strain. You should start with only 5 seconds for each phase and build up gently from there.
From 5 seconds, work your way up to 10 seconds and then from there to 15 and finally to 20 seconds per phase.
Instructions for 1 Minute Yogic Breath:
This breath is not complicated at all, but yet it is immensely powerful.
- Sit in any comfortable posture and close your eyes. You may also lie down, but sitting is better.
- Take five long, deep, slow breaths to help relax you.
- Now start the pattern of inhaling slowly, holding breath in and exhaling slowly. As mentioned in the caution above, start with 5 seconds per phase and build up gently from there. Only when you are ready, should you be doing 20 seconds per phase.
- You may practice this pranayama from 1 minute all the way up to 31 minutes in a single sitting.
1 Minute Yogic Breath Tips:
Alternate Technique for Improving Capacity:
You may find over time that you are able to do the 20-20-20 cycle, but only for a few breaths. If that is the case, do a few such 1 minute cycles and then take a break by doing simple long, deep breathing and then return to the 1 minute breath.
Using 1 Minute Breath to Test Pranic Body:
I use 1 minute breath to test my pranic capacity from time to time. So even if I have not been doing this technique, I will sprinkle in 1 minute breath to see what my pranic status is. You will be surprised to find that even though you may not be explicitly doing this technique, a good yoga and pranayama practice builds and keeps your pranic (energetic) body in tip top shape, which will be verified by being able to do 1 minute yogic breath.
1 Minute Breath for Meditators:
If you are practicing Jyana yoga, awareness meditation, insight meditation, silent mind meditation, zazen or zen meditation, vipassana, etc., you will know the importance of spontaneous breath suspension. 1 minute yogic breath can be very helpful to you if you do practice such meditation techniques, as it assists in this suspension, which translates to greater gaps between thoughts and thus more access to one’s silent nature within.
I hope you enjoy this wonderful pranayama and I hope it helps you awaken to your true Self – Sat Nam.
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