Pranayama: Moorchha Pranayama (the Fainting Pranayama)

There are various methods of doing moorchha pranavama. In this topic we will describe two types that are specifically mentioned in the yogic scriptures and which we teach in our ashram. They are both excellent techniques that can bring many benefits at all levels. Practise them yourself and choose the method you prefer.


The word moorchha means ‘fainting’. Moorchha pranavama can be called the ‘fainting pranayama’. It is so called because it induces a state of Light-headedness and swoon. It helps to cut off the distractions of the outside world, cie-strov identification with the physical body and bring mental tranquillity.

Sitting position

Moorchha pranayama can be practised in any comfortable meditation position. The best asanas are padmasana, siddhasana, siddha yoni asana, swastikasana and ardha padmasana, though vajrasana and sukhasana can be utilized.

Technique 1

In the Gherand Samhita it says: “Do kumbhaka breath retention) and then do shambhavi mudra (gazing at the eyebrow centre). Discard all desires and thoughts. Feel the experience of fainting. Unite your mind with atma and

enjoy bliss.” (v. 5:83)

This is the method that we normally teach.

The technique is as follows:

Sit in any comfortable sitting asana.

Hold the spine and head upright.

Relax the whole body.

Fold your tongue against the upper palate khechari mudra.

Do shambhavi mudra.

Inhale deeply and slowly with ujjayi pranayama.

Simultaneously bend the head backwards so that the movement of the head is synchronized with the inhalation.

At the end of inhalation your head should lean backwards but not completely.

Straighten the arms and lock the elbows, pressing the knees with the hands.

Continue to practise khechari mudra.

Hold kumbhaka (breath retention) for as long as possible, but without strain.

Fix your whole awareness on the eyebrow centre.

Then bend the arms.

Slowly exhale with ujjayi pranayama as you bend your head forwards.

Simultaneously practise unmani mudra; that is, slowly close your eyes as you exhale and move your head.

At the end of exhalation your head should face forwards and the eyes should be completely closed.

Relax the whole body.

Breathe normally.

Keeping the eyes closed, feel the lightness and calmness pervading the whole mind.

This is the end of 1 complete round.

Repeat another round.

Do shambhavi mudra.

Maintain khechari.

Inhale with ujjayi pranayama and slowly lean the head backwards.

Continue as before.

Do as many rounds as time will allow.

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