Murcha Pranayama. Swooning Breath Technique, Benefits and Precautions

Murcha Pranayama

Murcha Pranayama Swooning Breath

Murcha Pranayama is one of the eight cleansing breathing techniques, also known as Khumbhakas. Known as the unconscious breath, Murcha Pranayama creates a feeling of lightness and is said to help relax the mind and help with anger management. Moorcha or Murcha, as it is generally known, translates to fainting in Sanskrit. The Pranayama requires a prolonged full inhalation with the chin secured by the thyroid gland. This pose and breath are kept until you reach the state of nearly fainting. It is best to practice this Pranayama once you are advanced in all the other Pranayamas. Once you get to this level, you can expect to experience euphoria and a semiconscious swooning state. This Pranayama is only practiced by people who are well advanced in all other branches of Pranayama. The method is also referred to as the “Third Eye Pause”.  As we shall see when we go through the steps of the breathwork, there is an extra focus on the third eye or Ajna Chakra, awakening your intuition and improving mental focus and concentration. 

It is essential to have practiced and gotten used to Jalandhara Bandha (Chin Lock) and Uddiyana Bandha (Abdomen Lock), also Khechari Mudra (locking the tongue), and Shambhavi Mudra (Eyebrow center gazing) before starting more advanced techniques. 

Murcha Pranayama Steps

  1. Sit in a lotus position
  2. Keep your spine erect, head straight, and relax your body. 
  3. Take a deep, slow breath through the nose as your would with Ujjayi (Ocean Breath).
  4. Open your mouth and let out a long exhalation. 
  5. Continue taking deep breaths through your nose and with your mouth closed and release loudly through your mouth, which is wide open.
  6. Perform Shambhavi Mudra method known as Eyebrows center gazing.
  7. When practicing this exercise, hold your breath for as long as you can.
  8. When you want to release, release your arms while exhaling slowly.
  9. Bask in the tranquility of the mind and body for a few seconds.
  10. You have now completed one round.
  11. Repeat three times if you are a beginner. You can increase to 10 rounds once you are more advanced. 
  12. Do not force yourself to hold your breath for longer than you can.

Murcha Pranayama Benefits

Murcha Pranayama needs clear instructions and supervision from an advanced practitioner. Yet, even as a beginner, you can feel the impact this breathwork has. Some of the benefits include:

  • The emphasis on the breath and lungs helps you be more aware of your internal organs and activate them. The intended use of the muscles, chest, and rib cage leads to a better exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. It also teaches us to be more in control of our breath when we are not in practice. 
  • One of the main goals of an advanced Pranayama like Murcha is to bring more control over the brain and the nervous system. A relaxed mind and body help us to understand and face our emotions and overthinking.
  • Research shows that the Amygdala – the small part of the brain where emotional memories are stored – gets activated with breathwork. This area is connected to our emotional response to external factors. Our response can be fear, anger, etc.
  • When we are stressed, the Autonomous Nervous System sends nerve signals throughout our body increasing heart rate and adrenaline. When we hold our breath in, we activate the Parasympathetic Nervous system, which tells our bodies to rest and digest.
  • Studies show that you can increase your lifespan by keeping your stem cells healthy when you hold your breath. The inhalation part of the breathwork activates adrenaline (whereas the exhalation relaxes), which is a good thing. The adrenaline release can help reduce the inflammation of autoimmune ailments. 
  • The switch from inhalation (adrenaline reaction) to exhalation (rational response) can help people with anger management issues be less reactionary when faced with a difficult situation. The breathwork helps them take in the matter, and before they can react negatively, they exhale and gain control over their emotions.
  • The most significant benefit and reason for this breathwork are preparing you and training you to have a clear mind. A clear mind, without any chatter, is an essential skill to have on the path to deep consciousness. The inner silence attained during meditation gives us deeper awareness and channels our senses to help us make the right decision. When we forget about our existence, we can be and flow on our destined path.
Olly Moran
Olly Moran
Website author

Olly Moran works as a freelance copywriter and brand communication strategist. She also gives lectures at the University of Amsterdam where she is based. She loves to eat healthy, sustainably, practice yoga, and workout. In her spare time, she works on music, enjoys Amsterdam, and travels.

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