Nirgarbha

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nirgarbha (‘without the womb [of the mantra]’) Prāṇāyāma or control of the prāṇic energy through the control of breath is an important aspect of the aṣṭāṅgayoga of Patañjali (200 B. C.). It has three steps: puraka (infilling of air into the lungs), kumbhaka (retention of breath) and recaka (exhalation). The kumbhaka has eight varieties of which the first is ‘sahita’. This again is of two types: sagarbha and nirgarbha. When the prāṇāyāma is performed using the bījamantra (seed-letter pre¬scribed for the same) it is called ‘sagarbha’. If done without it, it is called ‘nirgarbha’. Kumbhaka being a part of it, is also called by the same name. See PRĀNĀYĀMA for details.