Step 2: Exhale normally.
Step 3: Pause.
Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.
At the end of each exhalation, pause for a second or two before inhaling again. You may notice a spontaneous, unforced continuation of the exhalation during this pause. This additional release of breath completes a true normal exhalation, according to B.K.S. Iyengar.
In our habitual way of breathing, exhalation is incomplete. We start each inhalation without allowing the previous exhalation to come to its natural conclusion. Iyengar explains that this incomplete exhalation provides “the soil, or base, for thought to arise.” The mind jumps from one thought to another. “The second thought arises before the first thought is ended,” just as the inhalation begins before the exhalation is completed. If exhalation is allowed to conclude spontaneously and naturally, the mind does not have a chance to become agitated.
With this way of breathing, the “wandering mind is brought to a state of stability by observing inhalation and exhalation as a complete cycle . . . . If you know this secret, there will be no stress and strain, no anxiety at all,” Iyengar says.