In yogic breathing, there are several types of pranayama or breathing exercise, which involve long breaths to consciously relax our bodies and allow us to take control of our prana or life force energy. A simple yet highly effective yoga breathing exercise that anyone can learn from to create a calm and peaceful mind. It focuses on the idea of “equal” breathing which is known as Box Breathing (Sama Vritti Pranayama), meaning that the exhalation lasts the same amount of time as the exhalation.
Taking the breaths, holding them in, and then releasing them, the ratio between all these determines this pranayama. How long you hold your breath inside is the most important thing. Along with inhaling and exhaling breath, if you keep the holding time equal then this is Sama Vritti Pranayama and if the holding time is odd then your practice is Vishama Vritti Pranayama.
What is Box Breathing (Sama Vritti Pranayama)?
In yogic breathing, sama vritti pranayama is a yogic breathing exercise performed in the form of equalizing the duration of each breathing movement. This pranayama practice is a four-part yoga breathing technique used to create pranic harmony.
The purpose of sama vritti is to calm the mind, reduce mental chatter, manage stress, and reduce distractions. In ancient Indian yogic science, it is divided into 4 basic parts to be understood clearly.
- Inhalation (puraka)
- Internal retention (antara-khumbaka)
- External retention (bahya-khumbaka)
Here, we find out what is the literal meaning of Sama Vritti Pranayama of Yoga.
Sama is a Sanskrit word that literally means “same” and vritti means “flow” or “wave” (this vritti yoga is different from chitta vritti nirodha). The Sama here denotes “duration” and Vritti denotes “breath movement”.
With the practice of yoga, and especially pranayama, the introduction of sama vritti pranayama plays an important role, which is called square breathing or sometimes four-part even breathing. This breathing pattern teaches you to be aware of the Prana flow that moves in and out of your body in four stages.
How to Practice Box Breathing or Sama Vritti Pranayama
Sama Vriti Pranayama is one of the most and special pranayama. It is so easy that anyone can do it anywhere and kids can learn too.
However, before mastering it immediately, make sure to keep a few things in mind first. For example, seated upright on the floor, keeping your mouth straight, and your shoulder tight, and the sitting position you choose should be meditative also.
Come in any cross-legged meditative posture such as Sukhasana, Padmasana, and Siddhasana, or if you are not comfortable on the floor, a chair can be considered.
Keep a peaceful environment around you and get away from external distractions. Place your hands above the knees in Gyan Mudra which can help in reducing stress and anxiety very quickly.
To prepare for Sama Vritti, Spend a minute or two observing the normal breath. Then feel for how long you are inhaling and exhaling. You do not have to change it but take at least 5 good breaths in and out. Maybe the breathing in and out pattern is not equal.
Now start Sama Vritti exercising.
Step 1. Slowly inhale – When you feel that everything is calm. Count 4 seconds while inhaling the breath. You have to slowly raise your head correctly.
Step 2: Hold the Breath In – Hold your breath here while mentally counting to 4 again. This will make you feel comfortable from the inside.
Step 3: Slowly Exhale – Sitting upright, slowly exhale to the count of 4. While doing this, push the air out of your lungs and stomach.
Step 4: Hold the Breath Out – Hold the exhale for another 4 counts. Continue this process of breathing in this manner.
It’s the end one cycle of Box Breathing.
The benefits of Sama Vritti Pranayama
- Helps to improve the capacity of the lungs.
- Equal counts charge other organs increased automatically.
- Increase the activity of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems
- Lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Release all the toxins out of the body
- Helps to maintain a better immune system
- Sama vritti pranayama makes the Diaphragm active
- Refining the breath and awareness of prana flow
- Helps to reduce stress and anxiety
- Also help slow down the heart rate
- Increase oxygen to the brain
Precautions & Contraindications
- In case of High Blood Pressure skip the retention of breath.
- DON’T practice Sama pranayama for those suffering from trauma as they send confusing signals to the body.
- A pregnant women’s Diaphragm cannot adjust with the fetus.
Sama Vritti breath or Box Breathing is helpful in yoga. Especially if you have recently started doing yoga. Inhale and release air through the nose 4 times, but in the meantime keep in.