In Equal Breathing, the inhalations and exhalations are the same length. The Sanskrit name for this pranayama technique is sama vritti. This style of breathing is great for improving focus, calming the nervous system and increasing your lung capacity. Breathe in and out though your nose throughout the exercise, allowing your belly, chest and rib cage to expand, front, back and sides, on every inhalation.
You can practice this technique alone, or before your yoga session to establish a rhythm. At the beginning of your session, you have the opportunity to fine-tune your breath in a way that becomes more difficult when you start to move. This is also how we try to breathe throughout the sequence—calm, controlled and at an even pace, without holding the breath either at the top or bottom of the inhalation.
A more advanced version of this exercise is called Box Breathing, in which we add in breath retentions.
BENEFITS OF EQUAL BREATHING
- Relaxes the central nervous system.
- Improves focus and concentration.
- Establishes a rhythm for your practice.
- Quiets the mind.
- Helps you to access your full breathing capacity.
- Block (optional)
TIPS AND MODIFICATIONS
- Sitting cross-legged is optional. You can kneel or sit in a chair with both feet flat on the ground and your back straight if that is more comfortable.
- Relax your jaw, throat, neck, and shoulders throughout the exercise, letting go of any unnecessary tension.
- Your breath should never be forced or strained. If necessary, you can alter the pace.