This pranayama is sometimes called the Migraine Preventing breath as it helps to clear the congestion and tension which often is the cause of many headaches.
In answer to a query “Why the particular count……?” we need to look at the function of the breath in relation to health and wellbeing.
Firstly, re read ‘ Wings of Power’ chapter on ‘Breath’ starting page 24, as it reviews the whole process of breathing and its effects on our health. We all need a clear reminder of this from time to time!
Secondly, realise that the ancients were great observers of cause and effect, particularly so where breathing was concerned. They soon noticed when the breath was released slowly, the system slowed down and the person was more relaxed.
Nowadays, with modern research methods, we can see that releasing the out-breath slowly, creates more Carbon Dioxide in the system, which acts as the body’s natural relaxant, especially where vascular wall muscles are concerned. This improves blood flow and allows the clearing of congested areas which can be the cause of pain.
So……… to come back to the question, ‘why the count?’
For optimum health we need to release the breath twice as long as we take in the breath, in order to gain the above mentioned benefits.
The holding for twelve counts is to allow time to complete the forward and back sweeping visual movements, which is part of working with Prana. This is quite a challenge for most students, as it requires excellent breath control, but it certainly is worth working toward!
Realise this breath is one of the more esoteric Kriyas and should be done with caution - at no time should the breathing be forced or strained, as this would bring great tension into the body.
EASY DOES IT!