In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika it says: “After pooraka (inhalation) you should do jalandhara bandha. Then do rechaka (exhalation). This practice is called moorchha pranayama; it makes the mind swoon and brings bliss.” (v. 2:69)
The technique is as follows:
Sit in any comfortable asana.
Hold the head and back upright.
Do khechari mudra.
Do shambhavi mudra.
Inhale with ujjayi pranayama.
At the end of inhalation do kumbhaka.
Practise jalandhara bandha.
Hold your breath for as long as is comfortable.
Then while maintaining jalandhara bandha slowly breathe out.
Continue to practise shambhavi mudra and khechari mudra.
The first round is completed at the end of exhalation.
Repeat more rounds.
In both techniques you should be aware of:
- breathing and sound of breath
- head movement
- eyebrow centre
A few minutes practice will bring some benefits which you can experience for yourself. About ten minutes is sufficient to start. Do each round for as long as possible without strain. Slowly increase the duration with regular practice. Stop the practice when you feel the fainting
sensation. To bring optimum benefits this pranayama should be done for a reasonably long period of time, say one hour or more every day for advanced practitioners.
The longer the kumbhaka (breath retention), the greater the benefits. The stopping of breath acts directly on the mind via the pranic body to induce voidness of thought. Kumbhaka is the essence of moorchha pranayama.
In the correct environment, with intense self-purification and a carefully selected diet, it is possible to slowly develop the capacity to hold the breath for long periods of time. Without preparation, however, we strongly advise you against attempting long kumbhaka; you may easily harm yourself.
People who suffer from high blood pressure, vertigo or brain haemorrhage should not do moorchha pranayama.
You should not practise until you become unconscious. The aim of the practice is to induce a state of semi-fainting, not complete unconsciousness. Stop the practice when you feel a fainting sensation.
The best time to practise moorchha is after asanas and immediately before meditation.