There are literally thousands of breath techniques used in yoga, but the most simple are also often most profoundly effective.
Krama pranayama is a breathing technique that most of my yoga students—even those who don’t normally like pranayama—love. The word krama simply means segmented. Krama Pranayama segments portions of the breath—the inhale, the exhale, or both—into parts. Segmenting the inhale has an energizing effect; segmenting the exhale has a relaxing effect. If, on the other hand, both the inhale and the exhale are segmented, the effect is balancing.
The breath practice below can be used to bring balance to your energy system, whether it is stressed, anxious, exhausted, or depressed. I hope you enjoy it.
Two Part Krama Pranayama
- Sit comfortably, with your spine neutral and the crown of your head extending up toward the ceiling.
- Take at least six breaths to lengthen both your inhale and your exhale, trying to make them approximately equal. Then remain at that lengthened breath for at least six breaths.
- Break your inhale into two equal parts with a one to two second pause in between each part. Maintain that breathing pattern for at least six breaths.
- After several breaths, also break your exhale into two equal parts with the same one to two second pause in between each part. Maintain this breathing pattern for at least 12 breaths.
- After at least 12 breaths, begin to ramp the breath back down. First delete the pauses in the middle of the inhale and exhale, but continue breathing at a lengthened rate for at least six breaths.
- Then take at least six breaths to return your breath to a new normal rhythm. Notice the new length and fullness of your breath and the effects of this practice on your body, breath, and mind.
I hope you enjoy this breath practice, and that it invites balance to your body, your energy system, and your life.