while trying the breathing and counting to 12, I found out, that my beathing goes inhale — exhale — pause- inhale. I am trying to change it to inhale — pause — exhale- inhale. But this makes me feel unnatural and wrong. So now I am wondering, if both ways of breathing are ok. Thank you very much!
There are many types of breathing exercises, each with different qualities. The simple measured breath recommended by Yogananda is excellent for relaxation, as well as interiorization, which help you prepare for meditation.
The measured breath leaving the breath out is actually a deeper practice, if it comes completely naturally. If any amount of strain is used in staying without breath, the practice can, instead of make one calmer, make one more agitated.
So, you will have to pay attention to your practice. Some days, if you begin your meditation in a more restless state, you may find it much more effective to do the breathing exercise as it’s recommended — inhale, hold, exhale, inhale…
If you are feeling calm and somewhat interiorized, and the other way of doing it — inhale, hold, exhale, hold, inhale… comes naturally to you, then use that.
Blessings on your practice, and joy to you,