We all go through times of calm, and contrasting times of upheaval. It is often easy to find balance when all around is calm. What is more challenging is maintaining this sense of calm and balance when in the midst of challenge, times of change, or when we find ourselves caught up in the busyness of life, with conflicting deadlines and commitments.
This is when we are called to dig deep and commit to our practice. Yoga provides us with a toolkit to come back to our natural balance. One such tool is the pranayama practice of ‘Sama Vritti’. This translates as ‘sama’, same and ‘vritti’, fluctuation. In terms of the breath this involves giving both the inhalation and exhalation equal length and attention.
This technique can be done at any time: on the tube, waiting in line, during a yoga practice in a seated posture, lying down in savasana or any comfortable position that allows us to steady the mind and bring awareness to the breath. I like to rest one hand on my chest and one on my abdomen to focus my awareness on the movement of breath in the body and to anchor the mind to the breath. Here are a few tips for cultivating this practice.
Find a comfortable position and begin to draw the mind to the breath. Allow the breath to be natural. Find ease in the rhythm of the breath. When ready, start to breathe in and out of the nose. Allow the inhale and exhale to be of the same length. At first it might be useful to mentally count to 4 or 5 on the inhale and then count to the same number on the exhale. Continue this way, for a few moments or for longer if you have time. Allow the mind to synchronise with the breath. In finding a balanced breath we are not forcing or pushing the breath; simply allow the breath to flow with ease, let go of resistance and go with the flow of the breath, building a steady cadence and pace to the breath. In this way we invite calm to the body and mind and find a steadiness to continue with our day.
Wishing you days of balance as we move effortlessly from summer to autumn.