Breathing techniques

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Part 2 – With Internal Retention Of The Breath


Nadi Shodhana Pranayama With Kumbhaka

Breathing is the most vital process of all living beings. When the Kumbhaka, which is retention of the breath, is added to the Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, It has a large impact on each and every cell of the body. Most importantly it has a very close connection with the performance of the brain. As the higher stages of the Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) are attained, the practitioner should exercise moderation and use common sense. He should not be in any hurry. Slow and steady progress will be more beneficial. Next, if one is serious to take up the advanced practice of the pranayama, the guidance of a Guru is essential.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama With Antar Kumbhak

  • Close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril for 4 seconds.
  • At the end of inhalation, close both the nostril retaining the breath in the lungs for 4 seconds.
  • Close the left nostril and exhale through right nostril again for 4 seconds.
  • At the end of exhalation through the right nostril, inhale through the right nostril again for 4 seconds.
  • Close both the nostril after inhalation for 4 seconds.
  • Open the left nostril and exhale for 4 seconds.
  • This complete one round.
  • Practice 3 to 5 rounds.

After a good practice of the above round and becoming comfortable with the 4 seconds of inhalation, retention, and exhalation, increase the count by adding one more second to inhalation, retention, and exhalation. When this too has been perfected, increase the count to 7. Continue increasing the count until the ration of 10:10:10 is reached. In the process, do not force the breath at any time. At the slightest sign of strain, the count should be reduced.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama Ratio

Once the above practice is perfected, change the ratio from 1:1:1 to 1:1:2. In the next step change the ratio to 1:2:2.  Then increase the ration to 1:3:2, which in the final can be taken to 1:4:2.

Nadi Shodhan Contra-indications

Nadi Shodhana with internal retention of the breath is not recommended for people suffering from heart ailments, high blood pressure or any other major disorder.

Benefit Of Alternate Nostril Breathing With Internal Retention 

  • The inner retention of the breath activates brain centers.
  • It is good for the lungs and helps in harmonizing the pranas.
  • Wherein the ratio of 1:4:2 is practiced, it gives profound psychological effects and is good for practitioners of kundalini yoga.

Note: For the advanced practice in Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, bandhas can be added when retention is practiced. All higher practice of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, that includes bandhas and internal retention, should be done under the guidance of a Guru.

Also, read

– Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Part 1 – Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique

– Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Part 3 – With Antar & Bahir Kumbhaka

About the author

Mahendra Kumar Vyas

Mahendra Vyas, with parental home at Jodhpur and born to Late Shri Goverdhan Lal Vyas and Shrimati Sharda Vyas, did Civil Engineering from M.B.M.Engineering College, Jodhpur. Shifted to Mumbai after completing engineering and worked with Sanjay Narang's Mars Group and Aditya Birla Group. With an inclination to spirituality and service, joined the Yoga stream and became a part of Yoga Niketan, Goregaon (west) in 2002 and since then practicing and imparting Yoga knowledge at Yoga Niketan and different corporates.


  • Can you shed some light on abdomen breathing. I am a little confused whether the chest and lungs should be filled while inhalation or resort to the natural way of abdomen raising during inhalation

    • Hello Mr. Vamsi, sorry for late reply. In abdominal breathing, we use the lower lobes of the lungs. As they expand, they push the diaphragm downward and which in turn push the abdominal muscles as well as back muscles. The whole abdomen expands and on exhalation, the lower lobes of the lungs are squeezed and diaphragm goes up resulting in a vacuum in abdominal zone and the abdominal wall being pulled inside. Hope my answer satisfies your query.

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