Simple Breathing Meditation
Breath awareness is probably the oldest meditation technique, and is certainly the most universally known. You hear meditation practitioners say ‘focus on the breath’ over and over, it provides our busy minds with a point of focus. The ability to cultivate calm in a moment of chaos.
Historically, the earliest mention of breath awareness can be seen in the Anapanasati Sutta, scripture which summarises the Buddha’s teachings 🙌on breath awareness meditation.
Anapanasati means “breath awareness meditation in Pali (the sacred language of some religious texts of Hinduism and all texts of Theravāda Buddhism.)
The Buddha had learned the basic technique from his own teachers, which means that it existed at least as far back as 500 BCE, although it was probably already ancient at the time.
So, Let’s get into it.
Breath Awareness Meditation
Concentrate on each area of breathing. Notice how the air feels moving through your nostrils on each inhale and each exhale.
Notice how the air feels moving through your mouth and throat. You may feel a sort of slightly raspy or ragged feeling as the air moves through your throat. This is normal and also something to feel into.
Notice how the air feels as it fills and empties your chest cavity. Feel how your rib cage rises slowly with each in breath, and gently deflates with each out breath.
Notice how your back expands and contracts with each breath. Actually feel it shifting and changing as you breath.
Notice how the belly expands outward with each in breath and pulls inward with each in breath. Allow your attention to fully enter the body sensation of the belly moving with each breath.
Now allow your attention to cover your entire body at once as you breath in and out. Closely notice all the sensations of the body as it breathes.
Repeat this sequence over and over, giving each step your full attention as you do it.
Start with a few rounds and as you get more comfortable, continue to extend it.
Aim for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes if it feels comfortable to do so.
Heres a link to Day One of ‘The Daily 5’ - It’s a quick breath meditation to get you in the groove!
Alrighty, before you jump in, a couple of things to note;
If you find yourself distracted by a lot of mental chatter, you can use verbal labelling as an aid to concentration. For example, on the in breath, mentally say to yourself, “Breathing in.” On the out breath, say, “Breathing out.”
Another way is to mentally count each breath, Inhale is 1, Exhale is 2…
And most importantly, It’s not about turning your mind off, its learning to cultivate awareness, Patience and compassion and perhaps, one day, inner calm!