Moorchha Pranayama (swooning or fainting breath) is one of the pranayamas and an excellent preparation for meditation.
How to do Moorchha Pranayama (Swooning or fainting breath)
- Sit in any comfortable meditation asana, preferably padmasana or siddha/siddha yoni asana.
- Keep the head and spine straight. Relax the whole body.
- Observe the breath until it becomes slow and deep.
- Adopt khechari mudra, then slowly inhale through both nostrils with ujjayi pranayama, while gently and smoothly bending the head slightly back.
- Perform shambhavi mudra.
- Straighten the arms by locking the elbows and pressing the knees with the hands.
- Retain the breath inside for as long as is comfortable, maintaining shambhavi mudra.
- Exhale and relax the arms. Close the eyes and slowly bring the head back to the upright position.
- Relax the whole body for a few seconds, keeping the eyes closed. Experience the lightness and tranquillity in the mind and body. This is one round.
- Practise until a fainting sensation is felt. Awareness: Physical – on the breath, head movement and eyebrow centre.
- After asanas and other pranayamas and before meditation. It is also beneficial before sleep.
Benefits of doing Moorchha Pranayama – Swooning or fainting breath
- Moorchha pranayama is an excellent preparation for meditation as it draws the mind inwards and enables a psychic state to be experienced.
- It cuts out the distractions of the outside world, inhibits identification with the physical body and brings about mental tranquillity. It helps alleviate tension, anxiety, anger and neuroses, and raises the level of prana.
Precautions while doing Moorchha Pranayama – Swooning or fainting breath
- This technique induces the sensation of lightheadedness or swooning.
- It should only be practised under the guidance of a competent teacher.
- This technique should not be practised by those suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, epilepsy, brain disorders or atherosclerosis of the carotid or basilar arteries.
- Discontinue the practice as soon as the fainting sensation is felt. The aim is to induce a swooning sensation, not complete unconsciousness.
- The essence of moorchha pranayama is internal breath retention. It is possible to slowly develop the capacity to hold the breath for long periods of time. Stopping the breath acts directly on the mind via the pranic body to induce a state ofvoid.
- The sensation of fainting and light-headedness arises for two reasons. Firstly, pressure on the blood vessels in the neck causes fluctuations in the pressure within the cranial cavity. Secondly, the carotid sinuses, vital to maintaining autonomic control of the body’s circulation, are continuously compressed, changing the tone of the autonomic nervous system and inducing a swooning sensation.
- The practice of antar kumbhaka further reduces the oxygen supply to the brain, especially if held for a long time.
- Natural breathing
- Abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing
- Thoracic breathing
- Clavicular breathing
- Yogic breathing
Types of Pranayamas
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Psychic network purification)
- Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling breath)
- Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing breath)
- Bhramari Pranayama (Humming bee breath)
- Ujjayi Pranayama (The psychic breath)
- Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows breath)
- Kapalbhati Pranayama (Frontal brain cleansing breath)
- Moorchha Pranayama (Swooning or fainting breath)
- Surya Bhedi Pranayama (Vitality stimulating breath)