Murcha Pranayama: Steps, Benefits and Precautions
What does Murcha Pranayama mean?
Murcha Pranayama is a breathing technique that is designed to enhance mental energy and provide a subtle sense. Pranayama is a practice in which conscious awareness and control of the breath helps to maintain a healthy flow of prana (vital life force) in the body. Translations of murcha from Sanskrit include 'fainting' and 'swooning,' so Murcha Pranayama is also known as 'Swooning Breath.' The name stems from feeling of dizziness created by the practice; when the practitioner becomes lightheaded, they are said to become devoid of all senses.
Yogapedia explains Murcha Pranayama
Murcha Pranayama is one of the advanced breathing technique to practice, and should not be attempted until more simple forms of pranayama have been mastered. In addition, it should not be practiced by those who are pregnant or have any kind of mental or heart disorders, particularly high blood pressure.
Murcha breathing/pranayama is one of the 8 types of breathing technique or pranayama. This art of breathing requires a period of slow inhalation which followed by a prolonged full pause or retaining of breathing. The chin is also locked until you experience faintness.
Meaning of ‘Murcha’
the Sanskrit term ‘Murcha’ means The literal or sometimes ‘Moorcha’ means fainting. Holding mechanism of this breathing stems the feeling of dizziness in the practitioner, so it’s also known as ‘swooning breath‘ or ‘swooning breathing technique’.
Murcha pranayama makes the mind devoid of senses for that time (when performing it) and gives the feeling of lightheadedness to the person. It swoons the mind and provides comfort to the persion.
Murcha Pranayama Steps:
- Sitting Postures and Body Alignment
- First Sit in any meditative postures like lotus pose (padmasana)11 or easy pose (Siddhasana).
- Next you have to Relax the whole body, hands resting on the knees and align your shoulders. Keep the mind calm but alert.
- Then Align your head and the spine in one straight line.
- Lastly you have to bring your attention to the breath Slowly until it becomes slow and deep.
- Bring Head down and Hold Breath
- Retain the breath and perform Jalandhar bandha by bringing the chin against the chest.
- Slowly start exhaling the retained breath when you feel the extreme dizziness.
- It is one round of murcha pranayama. Repeat in the same manner after relaxation.
- Relax in Upright Position
- Close the eyes and bring the head back to upright position slowly.
- Keep your eyes closed and try relaxing the body.
- You will experience the tranquillity in the mind and body. This lightness is the approach toward fainting.
Practice until you start experiencing a fainting sensation. Length of Kumbhaka (breath retention) is very important. As long as you can hold the breath in, the better it is.
One inspiration and expiration makes one cycle. Repeat until you feel faintness. It should be performed after asanas and before meditation.
It is very useful and provides many kind of extra benefit to our body when practiced before going to sleep.
You can do this pranayama in bashanta ritu or sarad ritu but not in winter. During the summer try to avoid any kind of pranayama or breathing technique.if necessery then try to do early in the morning hours.
Benefits of Murcha Pranayama
We human beings are so much driven away by the pleasure of the external milieu that we forget to travel inside of our body or heart. Looking inward and staying in that world where happiness is absolute, and state of mind is indestructible takes you to eternity.
- This breathing technique provides us mental tranquillity and a sensation of euphoria.
- It increases mental efficiency by providing us energy and removing distractions.
- Murcha breathing technique gives us a blissful experience where the mind becomes cristal clear and the negative emotions goes away, also effects on frustration, anger, anxiety, jealousy, etc.
- this pranayama raises the level of prana by energizing the ida and pingala Nadis (channels on the back) and Sushumna ( the central channel)
- this pranayama helps to create a state of unconsciousness where your mind become calm, and body relaxed, yet you are alert. This is known as a state of ‘conscious unconsciousness’.
- This pranayama brings steadiness and contentment by infusing joy and happiness.
- As it is practiced with Jalandhar Bandha, it exerts pressure on carotid sinus which reduces blood pressure.
- It reduces body fats, effective in the cure of headache and muscle weakness.
- The feeling of light-headedness or swooning proves to be an effective adjunct before meditation.
- The most important aspect of Murcha Pranayama is working on removing any kind of mind chatter or distractions as we early said, setting a path towards ‘state of deep consciousness,’ while still being aware of the external world.
- Murcha Pranayama when done without too much emphasis on holding the internal breath longer for those who are new to this practice, can still gain from it. The conscious use of the intercostal muscles, chest, and rib cage encourages the lungs to work efficiently . This leads to more efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body, slowly bringing better control over inhalation and exhalation. This also greatly increases the prana in the body, and helps in better regulation of the body’s energy - physical and pranic.
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Brain disorders, e.g. aneurysm
- Heart diseases like Atherosclerosis
- As this breathing technique comprises of the slight sensation of faintness, it is very necessary to perform it correctly with certain measures.
- This pranayama is not meant to be practiced by everyone. Many a time it requires the guidance by a competent teacher.
- People who are mentaly dis-balanced should avoid Murcha pranayama.
- The cases of high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension) should abstain themselves from this breathing technique.
- The heart patients should do it under the training of a teacher.
- If the person gets wholly fainted or unconscious, discontinue it immediately.
- Murcha Pranayama should not be practiced after any kind of meals, and a minimum 3-4 hours gap should be there before doing this pranayama. The food in the stomach exerts pressure on the diaphragm and lungs and hence has a negative effect.
Pranayama is one of the most important yogic practices and provides different responses in the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system. Murcha pranayama acts as the link between the mind and the body. It not only balances the art of breathing but also provides calm and peace to the mind.
When the mind becomes thoughtless, a state of relaxation is achieved. The practitioner feels light and this bliss makes him feel like floating. He is away of the worldly affairs and starts traveling inside. In spite of being stressed by the “samsara”, he starts his journey to “Ananda” which lies within and
by drawing his mind inward he achieves this ultimate pleasure.