Introduction to Breathing Meditation

If you want to do a very simple brief breathing meditation go to Simple Short Breathing Meditation.

If your mind wanders a lot and you have difficulty with meditation because of “mind racing” then go to Modified Breathing Meditation.

General Information on Meditation

When we are starting a breathing meditation, we are doing a few things.

We are consciously deciding to stay in the present. Breathing is very much a here and now activity.  We are keeping our concentration in the present.

We are being calm.  There is a stillness to the posture and to the concentration.

A Woman Meditating.

A Woman Meditating.

We are letting go of distractions.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any, it means that we can choose to let them go, to ignore them fro the duration of the meditation.

Start by choosing a length of time to meditate.  I like to start with 10 minutes.  That is manageable for most people.

Choose a setting and a time.  Ideally this should be a time with out distractions, or at least with only distractions that you can ignore.

Be comfortable.  If you know the lotus position and you have trained your muscles and joints to get into the lotus position, then you can do that.  However, it is not necessary.  You want to be sitting or lying, although even standing up is possible.  When you are sitting, treat your self with respect.  Keep your body open and balanced with good posture.  If you are lying down, also treat your body with respect: do your best to have your body in a straight position, lying flat, but comfortable.

Set some timer for 10 minutes, or for whatever time limit that you have chose.  You want to be able to ignore the clock if at all possible, but do your best with this.

Instructions for a Breathing Meditation

 This is a breathing meditation.  Once you are in a comfortable and respectful position, focus your mind on your breathing.  Notice how your lungs feel as the air enters them and how they feel as the air leaves them.  When you get to the end of a breath, notice how your body feels as the lungs are empty and how your body feels as your lungs again fill with air.  I do not believe it is important to be concerned with whether or not you breath through your nose or your mouth.  The nose has the function of filtering out particle that might irritate your lungs, but if you have learned to relax or to meditate with an in breath through your nose and an out breath through your throat that is fine.  It is not required.  Breath as you like.

Some people have learned to count the seconds during an in breath or out breath.  Again, if you are comfortable doing this, go ahead, but do not worry about it if you don’t do that.  One problem I always had when I was doing this in a group setting was that the pace of my breathing did not match the counting of the facilitator. and I have not recommended it.  However, if you are comfortable counting the seconds, and You like to use that to slow your breathing down., go ahead.

So you focus your mind on your breathing, getting into the rhythm of the in breath followed by the out breath.  Just let yourself get immersed in this process, the rising and the falling of your breath, just like a wave gently lifting you up and slowly letting you down, without your effort or any pressure to make this happen.

Your mind will wander.  You will suddenly find yourself thinking about something that you want to eat for lunch, or you will notice that you are thinking about chores or weekend plans.  You may think about family members or friends.  This is perfectly normal  It does not mean that you are doing anything wrong.  This is how your mind works. .this does not mean that you are doing anything wrong.  It is simply how our minds work.  When you notice that your mind has gone off by itself, simply bring it back to your breath, in and out, up and down.  You may have to do this once or twice during your breathing meditation.  You may have to do it many times, ten or twenty times during your breathing meditation.  That is OK as well.  Every time that you bring your mind back to your breathing, your are training yourself to let go: to let go of distractions, to let go of worries, to let go of what is not here and now, which is your breathing.

A Woman Considering Her Options.

A Woman Thinking.  Is she Distracted?

Some physical discomforts can be experienced.  It is expectable that over a period of ten minutes  (or longer, however long you are choosing to meditate) you may experience some physical discomfort, a pain in your leg, or an itch someplace.  Try to simply notice the sensation and bring your mind back to your breathing.  The sensations in our bodies come and go, and we can let them go, and return to awareness of our breathing.

Once your timer goes off, gently bring yourself back to the environment.  You have just spent time with a concentrated focus on one aspect of your being.  This attitude of awareness and acceptance can be brought to many different aspects of your life.

Enjoy the rest of your day!