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Sama Vritti Pranayama.

October 3, 2011

When we observe our breath, we will find that the inhalation and exhalation are usually of unequal length. Some people have a shorter exhalation than inhalation whereas in others it is the opposite way.

In pranayama we may wish to lengthen inhalation or exhalation or make them equal depending on the need. In Yoga parlance exhalation is called rechaka and inhalation, puraka. Vritti in the context of pranayama refers to the length of the breath. Sama means same.

In Sama Vritti Pranayama the Yogi equalises the length of puraka and rechaka. This is done through counting. When you start, you should first check what the length of your puraka and rechaka is and then use the shorter one as your measurement. For example: When you observe your breath, you count 6 on puraka and 8 on rechaka. Then start making the puraka and rechaka 6 counts each. You will find that you will not strain. However, you might find that the breath naturally slows down during the course of the practice. Then you can increase the counts as long as the breath feels comfortable at all times.

Sama vritti pranayama can be done with Ujjayi, Nadi Shodhana, Anuloma Ujjayi or Pratiloma Ujjayi Pranayama.

You may also include kumbhaka. In Sama Vritti Pranayama you would then need to have a kumbhaka after puraka and rechaka and make the kumbhaka of equal length to the breaths. For example: You are counting 6 on puraka and rechaka. Then the kumbhaka on puraka as well as on rechaka will also be 6 counts.

You may also choose to repeat a mantra instead of counting. Swami Sivananda was very fond of this. This will make you connect to the sacredness of the breath.

Sama Vritti Pranayama is very useful in acquiring mastery over the breath. It will also bestow a feeling of strength and calm to the mind.


Written by Swami Vidyananda

Resident Monk at Ananda Kutir Ashram.


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