It’s not for once that one comes across a delusion circulating within the circle of the people practicing yoga that the more intensive is the muscular and volitional strain the practicing person is able to maintain the longer shall be the ceasing of breath at inhalation. However, as a rule, these are not only the muscles keeping one from exhaling that are strained in this case, but the panic-stricken body as a whole. And we all know the fact that the strained muscle consumes much more oxygen that the relaxed one.
Therefore in order to master the Kumbhaka technique one should first of all practice relaxation and get the habits of overcoming the breathing stereotypes.
Here is another method of mastering Kumbhaka. While standing breast-deep in a swimming pool or some outdoor water body one should breathe out the whole of the air with one’s head above the water and in relaxed manner dive into water. The task is to remain relaxed to the maximum as long as possible. This should be repeated in series and periodically, with gradual increase of the time spent under water. In scope of performance one should overcome the stereotype of compulsory inhale before diving (the breath holding when in water comes as an unconditioned reflex) and get the organism accustomed to refraining from panic as long as possible in the situation when one lacks air and has no possibility to breathe.