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What is Sama Vritti Pranayama?

Sama Vritti Pranayama is a yogic breathwork practice that is sometimes called Box Breath or Equal Breathing in the West. Sama means "equal" or "same" and vritti literally translates as "whirlpool", but is more commonly understood to mean "mental fluctuations". Sama Vritti Pranayama equalizes the length and ratio of inhalations, exhalations, and retentions at the top of the inhale and bottom of the exhale. The result is a reduction of mental fluctuations/ mind chatter and an increase in focus, clarity, stillness, and calm. This practice is quite effective even in a short amount of time.

Check out my simple video tutorial on Sama Vritti Pranayama to practice virtually.

How to practice

Find a comfortable seat with a tall, elongated spine. You can sit on a block, pillow, cushion, or chair.

  1. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath first.

  2. Breath in through your nose slowly to the count of 4.

  3. Hold your breath at the top of your inhale for the count of 4.

  4. Exhale through your nose for the count of 4.

  5. Hold your exhale for the count of 4

  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for 5-10 minutes.


Once you feel comfortable with the basics, you can add some enhancements to your practice like engaging mula bandha "root lock" on the inhalation and inhalation retention and releasing mula bandha on the exhalation and exhalation retention.

I also like to use a metronome app to pace the practice instead of counting in my mind. I set the beats per minute to 92 and add a different sound for the 5th beat to mark when to change breath. As you become more comfortable, you can increase up to a count of 10 and practice for up to 30 minutes.

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