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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

Sukha pranayama

  • 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. 

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