I've been toying with, teaching to and blogging about this breath attentiveness known as 'sama vritti' or same cycles, same fluctuations. This would equate to an equal inhale and an equal exhale, both complete halves of the full cycle.
I love to use 'sama vritti' because for me this is first and foremost a breath-centered practice. So, we return our attention and the wandering monkey mind over and over again to the breath. And, as I've written, we can use the breath as the edge detector in our practice.
"Sama vritti' - we make the inhale and the exhale the same. A very basic and utilitarian technique is to count the breath - count the beats on the inhale, count the beats on the exhale. If the measure is unequal, then you either move to the lower number in control, or stretch up to the higher number, as long as there is quality of the breath.
When we speak of the quality of pranayama, and especially 'sama vritti', it is said that 'the inhale should have the quality of water sipped through a straw' - consistent and equal draw with no interruptions, creating a consistent stream. The quality of the exhale 'is like warm oil poured in a continous stream, with a viscous nature'. When we can create these unbroken links of breath on the chain of pranayama, that is where we meet true union via linking - one state of yoga.
In your practice, I challenge you in the first five minutes to create a strong yet subtle yogic breath, and while in a resting pose (childs, supine, prostrate, seated) establish a 'sama vritti' - an equal inhale and exhale, one that has quality and a count. Give yourself that metric as a touchstone.
Then, as you move, even through a Surya Namaskar, notice, are you giving your Up-Dog the same beats as your Down-Dog?? And, if you come to standing and seal for three breaths, to re-establish your meter and get on that breath, are you willing to spend each of those same beats on the next exhale in the down energy of Caturanga Dandasana?? Can you slow the momentum, and move at the edge of the breath?
That's what I've got for you today - seems simple, but go ahead and really commit to checking your practice. Not in a castigating or condemning way, just in that 'imagine that' sense of wonder as you observe you being you. Check the motion, slow it down, do each thing and asana to the extent of the breath or back off. Honor the breath as the edge and check yourself, again and again.
It's hard and maddening and delightful. I've been really appreciating it on my mat and when teaching - imagine, same inhale in handstand or headstand as in child's pose.... same long and sweet ribbon of breath, the tether than binds you to the practice - find it in vigor and in repose, but make it equal, worthy and honorable.
Give thanks and praise!!