Antara kumbhaka

Antara Kumbhaka means full container. It refers to the part of the breath when the lungs are full of air. It can be done passively or with a lock called Jālandhara Bandha.

Introduce the technique after inhalations have been mastered and harmonized rhythmically.

Once the lungs have filled with air cease forcing it in. Many practitioners try too hard when inhaling and as a result strain the nervous system. This can shorten the time the practitioner is able to retain after inhalation.

Using too much force when entering this kumbhaka results in a negative effect on the exhalation. The karma goes on to effect the pause after exhalation and the next inhalation. Avoid bad karma in breathing by entering antara kumbhaka with attentive care.

It is nice to allow this time of change to occur without the lock. This way feels like continual expansion even though the lungs are not filling with air.

When the lock is performed the air is trapped and gripped. This causes more pressure as the expansion is decreased by the lock.

Try antara kumbhaka without holding the breath instead allowing a large amount of time to pass as the lungs change direction. Continue to open the lower parts of the lungs as if air continues to enter even after the lungs resists the air. This is an energy expansion technique. This allows the time of the kumbhaka to increase as the entrance into its peak is approached with delicacy.

"Master bliss at the top of the breath before practicing the antara kumbhaka."
B.K.S Iyengar on pranayama during his 75th birthday teachings.

The Elements

The air enters the lungs moving the earth and filling the space.
When the lungs expand fully the element of air touches the earth firmly.
At this time a little fire is applied to ensure the air and earth unify.
The water meets the air and the two become one even though they are separate.
Prana and consciousness are like this. Separate but moving together.

The 5th element sometimes referred to as consciousness also known as space and ether. Both play vital roles in pranayama.

"The is a wonderful euphoric feeling when the lungs are completely full. It is a time of illumination and bliss."