Sutra 1.34: pracchardana vidharanabhyam va pranasya
- pracchardana = exhaling
- vidharanabhyam = without (bahyam) crushing (vidharana); with control
- va = you
- pranasya= breath control, suspend the breath, breathing exercises,
Translated loosely into English;
Exhaling with control, you suspend the breath.
Patanjali gives an additional method for calming the mind and preparing it for meditation. By observing the flow of breath, the inhale, the exhale and continuing to observe the outbreath until the lungs are completely empty. The student can at this point, pause for as long as it is comfortable, without feeling tension or difficulty. This practice cultivates a calm state of continued awareness upon the breath. A focused connection with the outbreath can also signify a connection with death, emptiness and/or nothingness. By focusing awareness to the movements of breath, the student begins to naturally slow the mind.
The use of the Sanskrit word vidharanabhyam emphasizes that the breath should not be unstable. Breath retention techniques should be done under the guidance of an experienced teacher so the student may be free from tension, successful and progress smoothly.