For the first stage of practice the duration of inhalation should equal the time of exhalation. In other words ifyou breathe in for a count of five then you should also exhale for a count of five. However, begin with whatever count you find comfortable whether it is two or ten or any other duration. No strain whatsoever should be involved in the practice. Over a period of weeks or months, however, slowly try to increase the duration of inhalation and exhalation, at the same time keeping them equal. For example, ifyou start with a duration of three seconds for inhalation and exhalation, try to increase this to four when you are able. This duration should be increased not only over the weeks of practice, but with each actual sitting. In other words start your practice with a comfortable duration, then after a short time you will automatically find that your breathing will last longer. Increase your counting and duration as much as is comfortable.
The relative duration of inhalation and exhalation will be changed for the next stage4.
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