What is Breath Meditation and How to Practice It
In my previous blog post – What is Meditation and How to Practice – I mentioned about the time I attended a meditation class. It was an interesting experience. After a lecture about meditation, the meditation teacher did a guided meditation for the whole class. It was breath meditation. And it was simple and easy to do.
Today, I will share with you all about What is Breath Meditation and How to Practice It. Included in this article, there is a video where I do a Guided Breath Meditation for you.
What is Breath Meditation?
As the name of this type of meditation suggests, Breath Meditation or Breathing Meditation is the focus of your breath or breathing. In this meditation technique, the goal is to focus on only one object in the mind. In this case, it is the breath.
The best way is to use your natural breathing process. You can either follow it by the movement of your abdomen, or by following the feeling of the air going in and out of your nostrils.
In the method where you follow the movement of your abdomen, you are actually feeling the movement of your abdomen going outwards as your breathe in, and inwards as you breathe out. You may find this a little difficult as the coverage is more diffused.
As such, I suggest following the air going in and out of your nostrils. This is because this method is more focused. And I have discovered that as you go deeper into meditation, your breathing will become shallower. And you may have to concentrate harder. This is very good!
As you practice, you will find happiness, joy, bliss, calm and tranquility. At the final stage of your practice, you will become still and silent with only one object in mind – the breath. At this final state of meditation, you will find you have more awareness than at the start of meditation.
How to Do Breathing Meditation
I have recorded a video where I guide you on How to Do Breathing Meditation. It can help you learn how to practice breath meditation. Also, you can play the video when you need to be guided on how to do this type of meditation.
Please watch the video.
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For those who like to read about the steps to do breathing meditation, I have written them down as follows:
1. Sit comfortably with the full intention of meditating.
Notes: Do not allow this meditation practice to be reduced to a routine chore. Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this time. Embrace it! This is time for your self. It is a chance to fully rest and rejuvenate your entire being.
You can either sit comfortably on a chair or on a cushion in a semi lotus position. The semi lotus position is when you have the right leg resting on the left leg. And your hands are resting on your lap. One open hand is placed on top of the other with the two thumbs lightly touching each other. It does not matter which hand is on top.
For a beginner, you might like to read my blog post about how to create the ideal conditions for your meditation practice.
2. Imagine White Light coming down from the heavens, surrounding you, and protecting you.
Notes: The White Light is from the divine source. The divine source is the divine being whom you choose to believe in.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nostrils. Take as much air into your lungs as possible. Then slowly exhale. Focus on the air going in and out your nostrils.
Notes: This will totally relax your body. It is a signal to your body that you are ready to relax. Do not allow thoughts of the day’s activities or concerns enter your mind. Brush away problems at the office, home or with your relationships, etc. Do not let these thoughts intrude your precious meditation time.
4. Take another deep breath in through your nostrils. Take as much air into your lungs as possible. Then slowly exhale. Focus on the air going in and out your nostrils.
5. Once more, take another deep breath in through your nostrils. Take as much air into your lungs as possible. Then slowly exhale. Focus on the air going in and out your nostrils.
Notes: I usually do 3 deep breaths as mentioned in the above steps 2 to 4. And I find I am usually relaxed by the third deep breath. If you need, you can do a few more. Do what suits you.
6. Now, close your mouth. In your mouth, press your tongue gently against the hard palate that is just behind the row of front teeth at your upper jaw.
7. If you have not done so by now, then gently close your eyes. Look at the back of your eyelids for a short while.
8. By now, you should be breathing as you normally would. Keep breathing naturally.
9. Next, we will start feeling the sensations of the body. This is an inward journey. It is done so that the mind does not get distracted and wander externally.
10. Start with your forehead. Feel the sensation there. Does your forehead feel tense? If it does, then take a deep breath in. Next, exhale and release the tension there.
11. Feel the sensation at your eyes. Do they feel tense? If they do, then take a deep breath in, exhale and release the tension there.
12. Go to your upper lip. Feel the sensation there. Release any tensions that you feel there.
Notes: Stop and savor the sensations as you feel each part of your body.
13. Do the same for your neck and shoulders. Do they feel hard and stiff? If they do, then release the tensions there.
14. Continue to do the same for your arms. Do it for the right arm, then the left arm.
15. Next, do the same for your torso – the chest, the abdomen, the hips.
16. Next, do the same for your legs – the thighs, the knees, the shins, the calfs, the ankles and your feet.
17. Now, feel your scalp. Release any tensions there.
18. Then back at your face. Feel the sensations there, on your cheeks, forehead, your eyes, your nose, your lips and your chin.
Notes: Spend a few minutes going through this process of feeling the sensations throughout your body. Do not hurry. Take your time. This process is not only to relax your muscles. It is also to help you center your self.
Meditation Tip: When you are adept at meditation, you will ground and center more quickly. At this stage, you do not need to go through the long process mentioned above. You will know when you are able to settle down inwardly.
19. After the above grounding and centering, we are now ready to focus back on the breathing. At the nostrils, feel the air going in and out.
Notes: You can feel the air at the opening of your nostrils, or at your upper lip. Breathe naturally. There is no need to control your breathing. Just feel the air going in and out.
Concentrate on one breathing cycle at a time. The air going in. Maybe a pause. Then the air going out. Do the entire cycle naturally.
When you focus on one breathing cycle at a time, you have achieved it! Keep focusing on each breath. And the next. and the next. Until the end of the meditation session.
20. Continue focusing and observing your breath until the end of the meditation session.
Notes: Try to meditate at least 10 minutes. If you can do it for 15, 20, 30 or even 60 minutes, it is better. Take your time to slowly increase the amount of time you spend on meditation.
Play the above Guided Breath Meditation.
Just listen as I guide you how to do breathing meditation. It is easy.
Go to Guided Breath Meditation now.
How to Focus on Your Breath?
Our minds are filled with thoughts. When we are faced with problems, these will be the first thoughts in our minds. If we do not have any pressing concerns, memories of the past 24 hours or past days will emerge. Our minds are also constantly making plans on what to do in the near or distant future. If nothing else, random associative thoughts may take place as a continuous revelry.
So how do you manage all these thoughts, and focus on your breath?
First, do not get upset that thoughts constantly emerge in your mind. Remember, the function of your brain is to think. So, it is just doing its job.
Simply, note that a thought has appeared. And without judgement, preferably with lots of love, gently brush the thought aside.
It is like a mother walking with a toddler on a pavement. And alongside the pavement is a very busy road with many vehicles driving along it. The danger is when the toddler plays and goes on the road. It could mean grave injury or even death.
A mother’s love and duty would be to repeatedly pull the child back from the road to the pavement. The mother does not get upset with the child. She loves the child, and the child is young and does not know better.
So, just like the mother. Whenever your concentration is distracted by a thought, simply and lovingly bring your focus back on the breath. Do not get upset. Do not judge.
What Happens As You Practice Breath Meditation?
As you practice Breath Meditation, as you keep practicing to brush away thoughts and focus on your breath, there will come a time when your thoughts will become less. And you can stay with your focus on your breath for a longer time.
Gradually, stillness and silence will start to appear. The stillness will be your body being still as well as your thoughts. You will find that your thoughts will no longer travel anywhere, and no more thoughts emerge. Your attention is only with the breath.
This is true stillness.
You will also discover that in silence, you do not have anymore mental chatter. The silence is internal. Any sound or activity that is outside of you will not bother you anymore at this stage of progress.
With this internal silence and stillness, your awareness becomes greater and sharper. You can be aware of the slightest movement or noise, and you will not be affected or bothered by it. Your focus is still at the breath.
Eventually your focus becomes more one-pointed. You eventually find happiness, joy, bliss, calmness and tranquility. You may enjoy meditation so much that you look forward to it. This is a good sign.
At some point of time, when you have achieved this perfect calm and bliss, you may like to consider practicing Insight Meditation. This form of meditation can bring you wisdom and insights.
We have come to the end of this article about What is Breath Meditation and How to Practice It. If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned here in this article, ANY at all, please feel free to ask by adding a comment in the comment box below. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an awesome life filled with abundance, love and light.