Rhythmic Breathing
Ideal Breathing Practice For Beginners

Rhythmic breathing is a simple breathing technique for beginners. It helps to establish a sound basis for pranayama practice for people who are used to shallow breathing. It can be practiced by person of any age/ health condition as long as there is no difficulty in breathing.

Most of people are not aware of the respiratory system and breathing patterns resulting in irregular and shallow breathing. Breathing rhythmically essentially involves observing your breathing and simultaneous conditioning of inflow, outflow and retention of breath in a rhythmic pattern. Breathing rate slows down while following a relaxed rhythm. This relaxes the body and also reduce wear and tear of internal organs.

Rhythmic Breathing Technique

Rhythmic breathing involves breathing in a fixed rhythmic pattern where ratio of inhalation, retention, exhalation and retention is of 2:1:2:1. Do not hold breathing if you are suffering from blood pressure or any heart disease. For beginners count while you breathe in four parts:

  • inhalalation 1-2-3-4
  • pause after inhalation 5-6
  • exhalation 1-2-3-4
  • pause after exhaling 5-6

Simply observe the breath, do not force the breath. Initially start breathing the way you breathe presently but gradually try to increase the depth of your breathing. Visualise that you are getting prana energy with each inhalation and each exhalation is taking out toxins from the body. Develop complete awareness of the rhythmic flow of breath.


Read general guidelines for pranayama before starting this pranayama.

  • Sit on your favourite Asana (Vajra asana, Padma asana, Sukh asana) in a well ventilated room free from any distractions.
  • Beginners can sit on a chair or sit cross legged on the yoga mat/ carpet keeping your back and neck in a straight line. For very weak persons, lie down in supine position similar to shava asana.


  1. While counting 1-2-3-4, inhale slowly and fill up your lungs to maximum capacity. This will correspond to approximately 3-5 seconds.
  2. Hold breath for a count of 2 (5-6).
  3. Exhale at the same pace as you inhaled for count of 4 (1-2-3-4). Exhalation and inhalation time should be same.
  4. Hold breath for a count of 2 (5-6).
  5. Steps 1-4 completes one breathing cycle which should be around 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle ten times. Gradually increase to 20 breathing cycles.
  6. Repeat the steps 1-5 two to three times as long as you feel comfortable. Breathe in and out in a measured and harmonious manner. Concentrate on your breath while you inhale and exhale, enjoy every breath you inhale and exhale. Free your mind from any tension or worries. Think about the wonderful gift of life God has given you. Pay good attention to the rhythm throughout your body.


  • This exercise can be done by a person of any age, even by very weak people. Even very weak people can do this for 20 to 30 minutes daily.
  • Practice daily for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also practice this deep breathing whenever you have any spare time in office, waiting for a bus, walking to office (Ensure stomach is not full, at least 3 hours should have elapsed after your last meal).
  • Practice deep breathing as much as possible (whenever you find free time) for 2 to 3 months. Your breath becomes deeper and rate of breathing will come down sub consciously without your realizing it. When you feel you are getting able to breathe more deeply, increase your breathing cycle timings. Inhale for six seconds, hold the breath for three seconds, exhale for six seconds, and pause for three seconds before taking the next breath following the ratio of 6:3:6:3.


  • Breath is life, rhythmic breathing harmonises your breath and hence your life.
  • As the breathing becomes rhythmic, it soothes our nervous system and results in release of tension and promotes sense of well being and relaxation.
  • You will get more oxygen, which means more energy for your body.
  • Improves your focus and concentration.
  • Sets up solid foundation for starting meditation practice by calming the mind.

Make rhythmic breathing a part of your daily life making rhythmic breathing your normal breathing pattern. It will enable you to enjoy the perfect rest and peace of mind, which you have never have experienced.

› Rhythmic Breathing

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