Sama Vritti Pranayama | Equal Breath | Box Breathing:
Are you looking for an easy way to release tension after a stressful day? How about a break to regain focus? Look no further then Sama Vritti pranayama. This breathing technique, also known as ‘Equal breath’ or ‘square breathing’ is all about instilling a sense of calm and balance.
Sama vritti pranayama, also called “Square Breathing”, comes from the Sanskrit “sama” which means equal and “vritti” which means “movements or fluctuations”.
It is a breathing technique capable of lightening and relaxing the flow of thoughts that populate our mind. It’s sequence is such to help four components of breath become balanced. These include; inhalation, retention, exhalation and external retention. Thus, helping to establish order, in the sometimes unavoidable, chaos.
Square Breathing Benefits:
- It has a calming action on the nervous system;
- Helps to deal with difficult and demanding situations;
- Regulates blood pressure (yogic breathing in general) and heartbeat;
- Strengthens the immune system;
- Useful for fighting insomnia.
In fact, yogic breathing in general has shown promise from the standpoint of both physiological and psychological benefits. Benefits of pranayama have been observed in patients with respiratory disease, and helped those with cancer and cardiovascular disease.
How To Do Sama Vritti Pranayama?
One of the advantages of Sama Vritti for beginners, to pranayama, is that it’s a fairly simple or straightforward technique. Contrarily, pranayama’s like Kapalabhati and Bhastrika, are sometimes more challenging.
The main characteristic of ‘square breathing’ consists of imagining drawing a square with the mind. Then, “construct” the square in a way where each side has an equal part of the breath. For example, inhaling, internal retention, exhaling, and external retention of breath.
It doesn’t necessarily matter if the duration of the sides of your square is 2, 3 or 4 seconds. What matters is to find your own breathing rhythm and maintain it throughout the exercise.
However, avoid turning your squares into trapezoids, haha.
As with almost all Pranayama practices, ideally perform them in a comfortable position, with legs crossed, and a straight-back.
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position;
- Then, relax your hands on your knees. Listen to your spontaneous breathing;
- Do a few cycles of full yogic breathing. Inhaling deeply and exhaling completely;
- Then, as you inhale, measure the duration of your breath and imagine that you are drawing one side of a square;
- Retaining your breath, draw the second side of the square;
- Exhaling, draw the third side;
- Finally, hold your breath, draw the fourth side.
You should feel a sensation that you could continue this practice indefinitely, without fatigue. As soon as you realize that you can no longer maintain balance with your rhythm, stop the practice without going further.
If you have a hard time holding your breath pauses, you can turn squares into rectangles! For example, inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 2, exhale for 4, hold for 2. A few minutes of practice is usually enough to calm the mind.
Remember not to be in a hurry to finish, and that it is always better to make 2 squares well done than ten without concentration.
During pregnancy you should avoid doing breath retention. Same could be said if you suffer from high blood pressure, respiratory disorders or other cardiovascular conditions. Also, be careful not to strain the breath.
Variations Of Sama Vritti Pranayama:
There are many variations that you can do combined with this breathing. For example, you can draw the squares starting once clockwise and once counterclockwise. Alternatively, you may imagine drawing the square once in one color, and once in another, or each side in a different color. Sama Vritti allows for creativity of the practitioner.
In addition, you want you can also associate the breathing times to your heartbeat.
Sama Vritti is a favorite breathing technique amongst many yogi’s. It offers the ability to be creative, it’s easy to practice, and it works to calm the body and mind.