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 Small Breath Retention During SBP
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elderberry

USA
37 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2024 :  3:19:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hey guys,

Sometimes when I am having a particularly conductive spinal breathing pranayama session, I feel an automatic urge to perform a slight breath retention at the top of each inhale. Nothing too crazy, usually around 5-10 seconds max.

When I am feeling a slight flow of energy upwards during SBP, a minor breath retention tends to kick it into overdrive and really get things flowing in a pleasurable way.

I know breath retention is moreso reserved for standalone practices such as chin pump and yoni mudra.

So I wanted to ask, am I experiencing a form of automatic yoga which is useful and beneficial? Or is this slight breath retention at the top of the inhale during SBP a deviation from baseline AYP practices?

Christi

United Kingdom
4429 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2024 :  7:57:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi elderberry,

Automatic breath suspension can happen during pranayama practices and it is fine to let it happen. Sometimes the breath can suspend after inhalation and sometimes after exhalation. There is a third kind of breath suspension which is where the breath becomes very subtle and then stops altogether in the middle. Breath suspension can be short, but can also be for surprisingly long periods of time. Quite often the mind will become silent during breath suspension due to the relationship between breath, prana, and thought.

Automatic breath suspension can also happen during asana practice, meditation and Samyama.
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elderberry

USA
37 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2024 :  7:17:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Christi!

As silly as it may sounds, sometimes I am left wondering if my breath suspension is automatic or intentional.
Breath suspension only tends to feel natural 10-20% of the time I do SBP, so most of the time its left out.

However when I do it, I must admit it veers a bit more on the side of intentional than automatic. There is a bit of a subtle silent voice recognizing that the small amount of conductivity I am feeling, feels quite nice, and so I throw in a bit of breath suspension to enhance it.

I suppose this is to say, if I become "aware" that a breath suspension being performed, should I just return my attention to the regular (non breath suspension) procedure of SBP?
Or, since it can really feel pleasurable, is it acceptable to lean into the breath suspension a bit on a conscious level during SBP?
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Christi

United Kingdom
4429 Posts

Posted - Jun 22 2024 :  10:32:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Elderberry,

With Spinal Breathing Pranayama the focus of the attention is the spinal nerve (sushumna), so if you find yourself off that, wondering about breath suspensions, or anything else, then easily favour the spinal nerve with your attention over anything else that is going on. That way you don't need to be concerned about intentional vs. automatic breath retentions, because you will be favouring the spinal nerve with your attention. The automatic breath suspensions will still happen when they happen, and in fact, they will usually tend to happen more often when the attention is with the spinal nerve.

If a slight intentional breath suspension is happening at either end of the Spinal Breathing practice this is not a big deal. So there is no need to be worrying about whether things are being intentionally applied or not.
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Dogboy

USA
2242 Posts

Posted - Jun 24 2024 :  12:36:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
In my practice I've noticed when the breath is suspended, it is simply the lungs have found a place to rest in equilibrium, half full half empty, and may not be suspended at all, lapping in and out ever so delicately at the nostrils.
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