For sama vritti, or “equal breathing,” match an equal length inhale to an equal length exhale. This fundamental style of breath is said to calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. What not to do – hold your breath. Take that as a sign of overexertion. Instead, take a break to refocus, breathe, and then hop back into the pose whenever you’re ready.
While there’s no golden rule, many runners find it most comfortable to take one breath for every two foot strikes, says Alison McConnell, a breathing expert and author of Breathe Strong Perform Better. This means taking two steps (one left, one right) while breathing in, and two steps while breathing out – also known as the 2:2 rhythm.
Using the bench press as an example, exhale slowly and continuously while pressing the bar, then inhale at the top of the life or on the return. Just remember that once that barbell is pressed, the weight doesn’t vanish, McConnell explains, so be sure to keep the core engaged to protect the spine, similar to preparing for impact during contact sports.