by Michael McIntyre
Has any of us ever experienced a suspension, or cessation, of breath while performing solar eye techniques?
The above diagram is the basic sequence of postures known as Surya namaskara, or Sun salutation.
Traditionally, this was practiced by vedic seers just before greeting the morning sun. It is also a component of nadi shodhan pranayama, which is a yoga centered around alternate nostril breathing and holding one’s breath.
Practicing nadi shodhan pranayama can produce kundalinic effects and propagate prana, or chi, distribution, yet the crown jewel of this breathing yoga is kevala kumbhaka. Kevala kumbhaka is breath suspension that is separate from inhalation, exhalation, or intentional pauses; it is an unforced removal and cessation of breathing that occurs without discomfort. Once attained, it can crop up naturally and normally now and then. It seems interesting that the Sun salutation postures are integrated in a pranayama practice that can produce natural breath cessation.
As a side note: Clinical studies (see links below) suggest that alternate nostril pranayama promotes: greater cognitive ability, sustained attention, and a balancing effect on hemispheric brain functioning: