Netra Kumbhaka

Netra Kumbhaka this week at Yoga Dharma

  • Tuesday 18:30 – 19:30
  • Thursday 18:15 – 19:15
  • Saturday 08:30 – 09:30
Netra Kumbhaka


Chapter 4 on Pranayama

1: Having established in the practice of asana, a yogi, who is self-restrained and consumes wholesome and moderate food, should undertake the regular practice of pranayama, as instructed by the guru.


Practice of pranayama comprises three phases

  • Rechaka – exhale
  • Puruka – inhale
  • Kumbhaka – retention

Kumbhaka is of two kinds

  • Sahita kumbhaka – the means
  • Kevala kumbhdaka – the goal


  • Kevala Kumbhaka is suggested for Dhyana (Cudamani Upanishad)


When Kumbhaka is accompanied by Puruka and Rechaka it is called Sanita      Kumbhaka.

One should continue practicing Sahita until one attains Kevala


  • Sahita Kumbhaka is the means to achieve Kevala Kumbhaka.
  • Kevala Kumbhaka is a spontaneous retention, which the yogi holds at will


Retention of breath with great ease irrespective of inhalation or exhalation is called Kevala Kumbhaka


When one masters Kevala Kumbhaka, irrespective of inhalation or exhalation nothing remains unachievable for him in the three worlds    


Any seated posture that keeps the spine upright and the pelvis in a neutral position is acceptable. Vajrasana (see below) is a posture that will achieve an upright position with a little refinement or adjustment for most people.


If the student is not able to sit easily as above, then a few small changes can make a big difference. Place a block or blocks so the student straddles them with the legs either side. If the ankles are tight, roll up a soft blanket and place it under the tops of the ankles, this will reduce the pressure there. 


  • Begin with sama vritti (equal breath) for a minute
  • Begin with a count of 3 in and 3 out
  • Continue to add counts up to 10 in and 10 out (only if comfortable otherwise remain at a count that is)   


  • Now begin to feel the breath rising and falling along the nostrils
  • Visualise the nostrils as an inverted V shape
  • Observe the breath rising and falling to the eyebrow centre
  • Develop an awareness of the eyebrow centre


Netra means eye and netra kumbhaka is a practice to awaken the third eye.


Stage 1.

  • In your comfortable seated posture take the right to nasigara mudra
  • Close the left nostril and inhale through the right and retain the breath*
  • Close the right nostril, open the left inhale and again retain the breath*
  • Retain the breath*
  • Keep the breath even throughout     
  • Practice for a few minutes

Stage 2.

  • Now release the breath in the same order

*Throughout the whole of this practice avoid forcing or straining in anyway.   Its advisable to practice under supervision.  


  • In your comfortable seated posture take the right to nasigara mudra
  • Close the right nostril, inhale through the left and retain the breath
  • Close the left nostril, inhale through the right and retain the breath
  • Open both nostrils and exhale
  • Repeat for 5 mins   
  • Trinetra kumbhaka is said to give three fold siddhis


Netra Tantra (Lord of the Eye) is a Shaivist Tantric text complied Around 700 – 850 CE. Netra Tantra praises Shiva and Shakti as the supreme beings in the forms of Amṛteśvara bhairava. Amrtesvara means god of A

Netra Tantra is divided into 22 chapters which describe various aspects of worshipping Amrtesa through Diksha (giving of a mantra), Chakras, bhutas (5 elements) and meditation. Netra Tantra seems the mixture of many traditions within Saivism as well as other sects of yoga.

Martin Thompson.