By Hannah Maria
Sukha pranayama is one of the simplest yogic breathing techniques you can practice, as its Sanskrit translation implies:
Sukha means ‘ease’ and pranayama is ‘breathing technique’.
I have come to think of it as an ‘entry level’ pranayama practice suitable for beginners since you work with an even number of natural-length breath counts as opposed to forcing a longer count to an uneven ratio which requires much force and more concentration (such as 4-7-8).
Establishing the seat
- Find a comfortable seat (sukhasana or padmasana) / straight spine
- Close the eyes, relax the face
- Palms resting on the knees
- Lift the shoulders up & back then down & away from the ears
- Exhale to empty
- Lips sealed
- Inhale (puraka) through the nose for the count of 4 to 6 (whatever feels more natural – do not aim for a longer breath, this is not the point of this technique, keep it easy)
- Retain (antara kumbhaka) for the same, comfortable, easy count
- Exhale (rechaka) to the same count
- Pause (bahya kumbhaka) for the same, comfortable, easy count
So 1 round would be 4, 4, 4, 4 or 6, 6, 6, 6 – for example.
Repeat as many times as desired.
You will immediately feel relaxed, calm and focused if you keep the attention on the breath sensation.
Breath retention, kumbhaka, is a powerful technique and becomes easier the more it is practiced.