2 to 1

Prepare for pranayama practice by finding a comfortable position in a quiet place. Make sure you sit comfortably and keep your spine erect. If you need to make any adjustments, do them now before the practice begins. Any time during the practice you feel difficulties breathing or suffocating, return to your normal breathing. 

Bring your attention to your natural breath. Start mentally counting inhales, and the exhales. Do not yet try to control the rate of your breathing, simply observe what the length of the natural breaths is. Observe what the total count of the full breath cycle is. If your inhale is 4 and the exhale is 3, the total count is 7.

Now, slowly start modifying your breath, by shortening the inhale and lengthening the exhale to achieve the ratio of 2-to-1. When your inhale was on the count of 4 and the exhale was on the count of 3, simply reverse it. Inhale on 3 and exhale on 4. Take a few breaths with this ratio and gently observe the movements in your abdomen region. 

Now, adjust either your exhale more or shorten your inhale if the ratio is not yet 2 to 1. For an uneven number, you can either extend the exhale or shorten the inhale, slightly changing the total count of the full breath cycle. For our example, this would be either inhaling on the count of 3 and exhaling on the count of 4 or inhaling on the count of 2 and exhaling on the count of 4. To ease the longer exhalation, you can engage your belly gently by pushing the air out of your body with the help of muscle contraction. Pay attention to do it gently.

Observe the counts and the breath where it feels the strongest – at your chest, belly, nose, or any other body part. This simple pranayama, which is 2-to-1 breathing, calms down the autonomic nervous system, helps to slow down and come to the present moment. After completing your next breath cycle, start noticing the surrounding to bring your attention back to the room gently. When you are ready, open your eyes.

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