Breathing Meditation – a simple form of meditation and mindfulness
What is free and usually something we take for granted? Our life depends on it and if we hold it for over 3 minutes we will perish. The answer of course is breathing.
A breathing meditation is probably the simplest form of meditation that can be performed by anyone. All you need to be able to do is to be able to focus on your breathing. No chanting or sitting in lotus position is required. Read on to learn how you can start gaining the benefits of this meditation in only a few minutes a day.
What is a Breathing Meditation?
A breathing meditation is also known as mindful breathing. It simply involves you focusing on your breathing and in so doing helps you to stay ‘present’ instead of being carried away by negative or stressful thoughts. Your breath acts as an anchor, something to stay focused on.
Buddha taught this as a form of fundamental meditation. He said, “Being sensitive to the whole body, the yogi breathes in; being sensitive to the whole body, the yogi breathes out.”
This form of meditation helps us to connect our minds to our body. Kabat-Zinn, Author of “Wherever you go, There you are,’ wrote, “The breath is the current connecting body and mind…It is the current of life.”
What are the benefits?
Research, including from the Harvard Medical School ‘Stress Management: Approaches for preventing and reducing stress May 2009, shows that a regular practice of this meditation can help to manage anxiety and depression, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and give you better focus and concentration. (You may want to read the scientific benefits of meditation article to learn about the numerous other benefits of meditation.)
When and where can I do the breathing meditation?
Do you remember that old Martini advert? (I am probably giving away my age!) Well, their advertising strapline was ‘Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere’. As your breath is always with you; the same goes for this meditation. You can do it anytime, anyplace and anywhere.
This is a meditation you could do on the ‘go.’ So whether to are out and about, at work or find yourself waiting on something or someone you can do this meditation. (Of course a regular practice is ideal).
Breathing Meditation Technique
This meditation really is as simple as 1,2,3.
- Breathe in
- Breathe out
Imagine a wave coming onto shore, it pauses a moment, before it changes direction. Think of your breathing in this way.
Don’t worry if you mind wanders. Simply return it back to your breathing.
Aim to meditate for 20 minutes or more but to begin with it is ok to just start off with a few minutes. Even five minutes would be a good start. Once you realize this is an easy and powerful tool to feel calm, focused, energized and it quickly brings your mind into the present moment you will want to do it more often.
A final tip is that you may want to count when you inhale and exhale but you don’t have to.
Zen fitness Expert, Jeff Christian, demonstrates a form of breathing meditation using counting to three when inhaling and counting to six when exhaling.
Click on the short two minute film below and watch Jeff demonstrating this method.
Credit: Jeff Christian
In summary, if you are short on time or simply finding it hard to know where or how to start meditating this might be the perfect meditation for you. If you want an almost immediate way to calm anxiety, stress and improve concentration than this meditation is also for you. Finally, it is a great way to tame the ‘critic’ in your head and instead focus on the present.
I encourage you to take a moment today to press pause, take a deep breath, be still and quieten your mind.
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” Thích Nhất Hạnh,
“Breathing in I send myself love. Breathing out I send love to someone who needs it.” Unknown
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness which unites your body to your thoughts” Thich Nhat Hanh
“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.” Unknown
“The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe.” Terri Guillemets
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey