### Visamavrtti Pranayama

Visama means irregular. In this breathing exercise the breath is manipulated in various ways by lengthening and changing the 4 parts of the breaths. It is a breathing exercise that allows the practitioner to explore various aspects of each of the 4 parts of the breath and reveals knowledge to the practitioner that cannot be found from other breathing exercises.

One cycle of breath consists of an inhalation (Puraka), retention (Antara Kumbhaka), exhalation (Rechaka) and retention (Bahya Kumbhaka). In pranayama practice it is wise to introduce the Kumbhakas slowly and gradually increase the time spent in them.

This technique is described in ratios. This means a breath of 1:1:1:1 would be of equal parts inhalation, retention, exhalation and retention. This is a Samavrtti breath because everything is equal. If one part is equal to 5 seconds then the whole breath would be equal to 20 seconds. In Visamavrtti the breath could be a ratio like this **1:3:2:1** which would be inhale for 5 seconds hold 15 seconds exhale for 10 seconds and hold for 5 seconds. The total time for this breath would be 35 seconds. Remember 5 seconds is just an example. If it was 8 seconds on the inhalation then **1:3:2:1** would add up to a total of 56 seconds.

Many pranayama practitioners work up to a ratio of **1:4:2:1** and manipulate each part. Some other examples of ratios are **1:2:4:1**, **2:1:4:1** and **1:1:2:4**. There are may different ratios, experiment and find the ones that work and learn during practice.

Rest is Savasana if you feel uneasy or unbalanced. This is done by lying flat on the back and resting all the muscles. The breath is also relaxed as much as possible.

*Hatha Yoga Pradipika*

*Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by a careful breaking process, the breath is controlled with great care and slow progression, otherwise it can kill the practitioner.*

Chapter 2 verse 15

**Instructions**

Find a comfortable seated position. Gently exhale all of the air from the lungs.

**Stage 1 - Visamavrtti Pranayama**

The first breathing technique has a

**ratio of 1:2:1½**without retention after exhalation. If the inhalation is 4 seconds the breath would be timed as follows.

Inhale for 4 seconds.

Hold for 8 seconds.

Exhale for 6 seconds.

Total time for one Visamavrtti breath is 18 seconds. (Increase if this is easy to perform.)

Work up to a **ratio of 1:3:2** then a **1:4:2**. (example 5 second ratio.)

Inhale for 5 seconds.

Hold for 20 seconds.

Exhale for 10 seconds.

Total time for one Visamavrtti breath is 35 seconds.

**Stage 2 - Visamavrtti Pranayama**

The second breathing technique has a** ratio of 1:2:1:½** gradually introducing retention after exhalation. (example 4 second ratio minimum requirement.)

Inhale for 4 seconds.

Hold for 8 seconds.

Exhale for 4 seconds.

Hold for 2 seconds.

Total time for one Visamavrtti breath is 36 seconds. (Reduce if this timing causes strain or increase if you perform with ease.)

Work up to a **ratio of 1:3:2:1** then **1:4:2:1**. (example 5 second ratio.)

Inhale for 5 seconds.

Hold for 20 seconds.

Exhale for 10 seconds.

Hold for 5 seconds.

Total time for one Visamavrtti breath is 40 seconds.

**Stage 3 - Visamavrtti Pranayama**

Experiment with different ratios and learn about their effect on the body, nerves and mind.

This is one of the more dangerous breathing exercises in pranayama. Be wise and shorten the parts of the breath so that one complete cycle of breath is done with ease.

**Based on a book by B.K.S Iyengar**

Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing

Every Practitioner should have a copy.

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