“Pot-like” retention, one of the phases of pranayama (conscious control and extension of breath). Kumbhaka is a condition without inhalation or exhalation that is associated with the act of increased awareness and the opening of the being toward subtle energies. Many yogis consider that kumbhaka is the main aspect of pranayama. Prolonging the duration of the retention is thought to prolong life itself, and is generally considered a key to inner transformation. It is also one of the most direct means of effecting changes in consciousness.