THE FOUR-FOLD BREATH

The main purpose of pranayama is to relax the body and mind. There are many kinds of pranayama, but a simple one called the 'four-fold breath' works for most people. This consists of four short quick inhallations, then four short quick exhallations; then repeat, continuing until the allotted time is used up. It will take about 1 1/2 seconds for the four inhallations, and about 1 1/2 seconds for the four exhallations; or about 3 seconds for the complete in-out cycle.

There should be no strain of any kind during your pranayama. You will probably notice a slight dizziness, particularly at first, since the effect of pranayama is to hyperventilate. Try sitting back in a chair with your eyes closed when you do your pranayama. Begin with a minute a day for the first week and gradually increase up to about five minutes a day. If you do the pranayama before your magical activity, it will help you to get 'into the mood'. It is also an excellent aid to relaxation, tension release and centering yourself. Pranayama should not be done during times when there is heavy air pollution if you have allergies. Other exercises you might consider are hatha yoga, calesthentics, walking or jogging.


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