What is Bahya Pranayama?

Bahya Pranayama is called external retention of breath. In this Pranayama, you inhale forcefully, exhale and then hold your breath (retention). This is one of the important respiration techniques that helps in balancing your energy system. It reduces most of the abdominal issues like acidity, gastric problems, and constipation hernia. It is beneficial for diabetics,  improves concentration and cures reproductive organs.

Bahya Pranayama should be practised on an empty stomach. To get full benefits of this respiration technique, you should do it along with the three bandhas or locks. Patients with heart ailments and blood pressure and pregnant women should avoid this breathing technique. To learn more about Bahya Pranayama, read the full article below.

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04 Mar 2022

What is Bahya Pranayama?

One of the many Pranayamas, Bahya Pranayama, is a vital respiration exercise. ‘Bahya’ is a Sanskrit word that means outside or external. Pranayama too is a Sanskrit word meaning life force, paying attention to the breath. So, Bahya Pranayama can be termed ‘External breathing’. It can also be translated as ‘External Retention’ since you retain your breath for a while. It is helpful in maintaining good health.


In this Pranayama, you have to forcibly breathe in, breathe out and then hold your breath.The first stage of inhalation is called Puraka and the last stage of exhalation is called Rechaka. Holding the breath or retention is termed Bahya Kumbhaka. The breath ratio of Bahya Pranayama is 1:2:3. This means, when you practice Bahya Pranayama, you have to inhale for one second and exhale for 2 seconds. Then you have to hold your breath for three seconds. Likewise, you can use the multiples of each of these stages. For instance, inhale for two seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold the breath for six seconds.

6 Easy Steps to Perform Bahya Pranayama

Now, take a look at the Bahya Pranayama steps here and see how easily you can follow them.


  • Step 1 : Keep your eyes closed and sit in the Padmasana (Lotus pose) with your spinal cord and head upright.
  • Step 2: Take a deep breath.
  • Step 3: Now, exhale completely.
  • Step 4: Hold your breath after exhalation and pull your stomach upward as much as you can. Try to lift up the muscles below the navel.
  • Step 5: Now, lower your head so that your chin touches your chest. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Step 6: Relax and get back to the starting position. Repeat this process five to ten times.

Benefits of Bahya Pranayama

Bahya Pranayama benefits are wholesome. If you want to reap the maximum benefits of it, you should practice it regularly. Check out the Bahya Pranayam benefits given below.


  • Helps reduce gastric problems like constipation, acidity, ulcer and hernia

  • Improves digestion

  • Helps immensely control diabetes

  • May help Cure issues related to the reproductive organs

  • Increases concentration of the mind

  • May cure the urethra and urinary tract problems

  • Helps reduce blood pressure

  • Helps achieve tranquillity and self-enlightenment

For completely working out your lung muscles and improving breathing you should include other pranayama like Anulom Vilom, Bhramari, etc in your yoga routine.

Tips for Bahya Pranayama Beginners

Understanding the stages of this Pranayama is very important, if you are a beginner. While practising Bahya Kumbhaka Pranayama, you have to take care of three types of locks or bandhas. They are:


  1. Jalandhara Bandha: This lock is complete when you bend the head and touch your chest with your chin.

  2. Uddiyana Bandha: When you pull the stomach completely inwards to the back, this bandha completes.

  3. Moola Bandha: When the bottom portion of the navel is pulled in to achieve the root or throat lock, this bandha is completed.


When all three locks are applied, you can call it a complete round of ‘Bahya Pranayama’.

How Often Should I Do Bahya Pranayama?

Practising Bahya Pranayama regularly helps you reap the Bahya Kumbhaka benefits efficiently. It is recommended to practice this breathing technique for two to five minutes daily. If you are a beginner, you should perform Bahya Pranayama at least 3 to 5 repetitions at a time. Advanced practitioners can do repetitions up to 11. However, in the winter, advanced practitioners can do up to 21 repetitions.

Precautions To Take When Practising Bahya Pranayama

Try to take care of the below-mentioned matters before practising Bahya Pranayama.


  • In the beginning, try to practice Bahya Pranayama in the presence of a yoga teacher.

  • Bahya Pranayam should be performed only on an empty stomach.

  • Always try to practice it in the morning or in the evening.

  • Patients with cardiovascular and high blood pressure should avoid practising this pranayama.

  • Pregnant women should not practice Bahya Pranayama.

  • Women shouldn’t do this pranayama during periods.

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In Bahya Pranayama, the breath is released outwards. Hence, it is also called external breathing yoga along with the name external retention. Practising this pranayama regularly helps you achieve better digestion and may cure problems related to the prostate and urinary tract. Apart from this, the concentration of the mind and brain increases, as well as it will help you achieve tranquillity and self-enlightenment. Try to practice this yoga daily and have a healthy lifestyle!

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FAQs on Bahya Pranayama

  • ✔️When should we do Bahya Pranayama?

     It is advised to do Bahya Pranayama in the morning or in the evening and on an empty stomach.

  • ✔️Who should not do Bahya Pranayam?

     Patients with cardiovascular and high blood pressure should not practise this pranayama. Pregnant women or women during their periods should refrain from the practice of Bahya Pranayam due to the pressure at the lower abdomen, affecting the uterus.

  • ✔️What are the benefits of Bahya Pranayama?

     Bahya Pranayam benefits are:It helps reduce gastric problems like constipation, acidity, ulcer and hernia, It improves digestion, It helps immensely control diabetes, It may help cure issues related to the reproductive organs, It increases the concentration of the mind, It may help cure the urethra and urinary tract problems, It helps reduce blood pressure, It helps achieve tranquillity and self-enlightenment

  • ✔️How many bandhas are there in Bahya Pranayama?

     There are three major bandhas in Bahya Pranayama, and they are:Uddiyana Bandha – the abdominals up to the diaphragm, Jalandhara Bandha – the throat, Mula Bandha – the pelvic floor muscles

  • ✔️Does Bahya Pranayama have side effects?

     If you do Bahya Pranayama incorrectly, you could experience different types of side effects including headache, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, restlessness, etc.