By Swami Harshananda
Plāvinī literally means ‘that which makes one float and flow’.
The art and science of controlling the prāṇa is technically called prāṇāyāma. Kumbhaka is its third aspect where retention of breath is the most important function. This kumbhaka is of nine types of which plāvinī is also the one. In this, the belly is filled with the air that is circulating within the body, making the body light enough to float even on deep waters, like the leaf of a lotus. The technique itself, mentioned in the works like the Haṭhayoga-pradipikā, should be learnt and mastered from an expert in the field.
- Prāṇa means vital air, life-force.
- Haṭhayoga-pradipikā 2.70
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore