A simple step by step guide for anyone who wants to start meditating right now. Breathing Meditation Basics incorporates aspects of yoga meditation techniques you can learn through us or through material we recommend (see below). This document is meant to serve as a quick start guide for breathing meditation so you can practice right away.
- Sit in a comfortable position. Have the spine straight and feel tall. Close your eyes and gaze slightly above the level of the horizon. Don’t strain the eyes, but feel as if you concentrate through them as if you are focused on a single point in space before you (like a mountain top that is far away). Do not let them drop below horizon level.
- Prepare yourself. Inhale as you bring the shoulders forward and then raise them up toward your ears. Exhale and let them circle rearward and relax down away from the neck. Feel your arms and shoulders limp. Your neck feels long and relaxed. Chin is level with the floor. Chest is open. Rest your hands in your lap with the palms relaxed and facing upward. Now inhale very deeply through your nose and tense the whole body until it vibrates! Then throw the breath out through the mouth and completely relax. Do this two more times, then relax back into your sitting position. At this point, let the body go. Do not move.
- Inhale through the nose. Feel the body expanding as you inhale. If possible relax the belly area and allow it to grow with your breath. Imagine that energy and vitality fill you, as your body grows with the breath.
- Exhale through the nose. Notice the collar-bones lowering slightly. Feel your ribcage relaxing. Complete the exhalation by drawing the navel toward the spine to remove all of the old air in the lungs. Feel refreshed and purified of any tension or negativity with each exhalation.
- Count mentally at first to make sure the duration of inhalation and exhalation are equal.
- Keep your mind on this task. Just go through a mental list of checks to make sure your shoulders have not crept up, or that your belly is still relaxed etc. Stay with it until it all comes more naturally.
- Breathe Smooth and Steady. Do not force the breath but help it be long and steady. Take special note of the beginning and ending, -all parts of the breathing to see if they feel smooth and even instead of choppy or bumpy. Do this in a relaxed way. Use deep concentration and don’t be overly physical about it.
- Hold the breath after the inhalation. Simply retain the breath for the same count you are using for the inhale and exhale. Inhale, Hold, Exhale, then Inhale again etc.
- Now move more deeply into a relaxed state. After doing several rounds (about 6 – 10) including the breath retention, release all control of the breathing. Concentrate on the feeling of the breath in the nose, or throat, or wherever you feel it most easily. Train yourself to stay relaxed while maintaining erect posture. Allow your body to breathe as it feels to, and when it wants to. You can do this as long as you like. The more you concentrate on the feeling of each individual breath (without controlling), the less your body will tend to breathe and the more peace you will feel. Have patience. Don’t criticize your practice. If you stick with it, this
will help you and become more natural.
- If possible, focus on the feeling of your breath in the nose and the higher nasal passages. This is easier when you have become more calm. Look for the upward movement of coolness on each inhalation. Feel very relaxed inside of the nose and face. Be very still and silently witness the breath. Watch it as if you are watching a very interesting movie and you don’t want to miss a single thing. There are secrets in the breath, try to discover them!
- True Meditation is more than concentration on the breath. Try to concentrate so deeply that it feels like you merge into the feeling of the breath itself. Think of breathing meditation as becoming one with the breath, or becoming the watchful observer behind the breath, body, and mind.
- Try giving yourself “mini breaks” throughout your day. Even in your office chair just take three to five minutes to “breathe.” Give yourself this gift. You and your companions deserve it!
Options that can help:
- Think of God or a great Saint and feel that He/She is breathing through you.
- Or concentrate on Peace. And feel it leaking into you from all around.
- Or concentrate on Love. Feel it in your heart, slowly expanding outward in all directions, blessing all in its path.
- Be creative, but careful not to get too “busy”. Keep it simple and go deep in the silence.
- Rest in the peace you feel as long as you can afterward. Peace can actually become a habit! But it takes practice.
- Make time for a little of this practice each day, and just stick with it for a couple of weeks. Then look back to see how your outlook and life are improving. It’s subtle but you will see things in all aspects of your life getting better in unexpected ways. Try this! What do you have to lose?
Learn meditation with us at your own pace:
How to Meditate Deeply and Create a Solid Daily Practice
- Read “How to Meditate” by Jyotish Novak
- Learn to meditate at The Expanding Light Meditation and Yoga Retreat in Northern CA.
“As the breath flows, so flows the mind.”