Hanging out in the Kumbhak

Pranayama is becoming a daily practice again. I have begun practicing every day just prior to sitting for meditation. It feels like the right time to practice, so I do. Listening is key. Listening to the natural rhythms that arise and what symbiotically falls away as well. And pranayama has arisen again.

To that end, I find myself hanging out in the kumbhak more and more. Even after I have actively, consciously stopped retaining breath. There is something that happens at the very bottom of the exhalation. It is very spacious and comfortable. At times it seems such an effort to take in new breath, to re-start the automatic respiratory function.

And that can be kind of freaky.

But when I find myself freaked out by something, I remember that might mean I’m over-thinking it. So I just let it be.

For the analytical mind, pranayama can be mind-blowing even from the beginning. When I first undertook a serious practice (around 2000-2001), noticing the breath was a source of mega-anxiety. So I knew I was on to something. I recall the first time I noticed the pauses between breaths, whilst cat-cowing and it was a major trip. I think that due to allergies and what-not, I had been a mouth-breather pretty much until I left the Midwest and found a bit of relief. Just shifting from mouth to nose breathing is a powerful place to be.

But back to the present.

Pranayama. Feels good. Feels right. I’m in my groove.

That doesn’t mean things feel awesome-super-duper all the time (the meditation is doing its work and dredging up a lot of mud to sift through), but it feels like I am showing up to my own life.


Kumbhak = the exquisite pause between inhalation and exhalation, exhalation and inhalation.
This post is an experiment. I feel like writing more about my practice, not necessarily teachings, but experiences. My hope is that this doesn’t turn into an ego party, where I get all caught up in “me & my story”– If it does, I’ll pull the plug. Feel free to tell me if it does. I’m hoping that by illuminating experience, I can be of service. Love.

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