Before we move on to relaxing the mind, we’ll do a little breathing exercise. As soon as you’re finished with this, go straight to section 8. There’s another little exercise that is best done in a very relaxed state.
This is very simply, we’ll do 2 minutes of deep belly breathing followed by 3 minutes of just focusing on the breath.
READ THROUGH THE PAGE FIRST SO YOU KNOW THE STEPS. THEN START THE PRACTICE.
2 Minutes Deep Belly Breathing
I want you to put your hand on your belly and as you breath out, your belly should move away from your hand and go in towards your spine. As you breathe in, your belly should push forward against your hand. It takes a little bit of concentration if you’ve never done it before. Don’t worry if you go the wrong way, or your belly doesn’t move very much. You’re fighting a lifetime of doing it wrong.
- Get yourself comfortable
- Sit in whatever posture you think will give you the least distractions. Lotus if you can do it. Sitting in a high backed chair with your feet flat on the floor if you can’t.
- Put one hand gently on your belly
- Close your eyes
- Now, don’t worry how fast you breathe, but try to breathe deeply and slowly if you can.
- There’s no right or wrong.
- Just focus on breathing in and feeling your belly rise
- Then breathe out and feel your belly recede
- Don’t force it too much, especially if you’ve never done this before. Everything is gentle.
- Gentle IN feel your belly rise
- Gentle OUT, feel your belly recede
- Do this for 2 minutes. Feeling your belly gently rise and fall.
- Focus closely.
3 Minutes just watching the breath
When we switch and start focusing on the breath, I want you to forget belly breathing and just fall back into your regular breathing pattern. We’ll breathe through the nose (unless you have a medical condition) and you can observe the breath as it enters and leaves your body.
If you focus on your nose, you’ll feel cool air entering as you breathe in and warm air exiting as you breathe out. Just focus on those two sensations.
You can, if you prefer, feel the air moving through your throat. Or you can focus on the ribs or belly moving, but the nose is the easiest.
If you get distracted, just gently come back to observing the breath. No stress, no drama. You WILL get distracted, so don’t get upset with yourself, just come back to observing the breath.
- Now keep your eyes closed
- Put both hands in your lap and just go back to your normal breathing
- Sense the air as it moves in and out of your lungs.
- Keep focusing on it
- When you find yourself being distracted, gently come back to focusing on your breath
- After 3 minutes, gently open your eyes and come back to the room
Congratulations – we just did our first meditation – maybe not very inspiring, not very refreshing, but we’re well on our way.
Following the breath is the foundation of Buddhist meditation.
Normally I would say – take a break and embody the lesson you just learned, but this time, I’d like you to jump right to the next section as we are going to piggy back off of the calm you should be feeling right now.
Meditation Boot Camp – Quick Navigation
- Meditation Roots – the history of meditation
- Why Meditate? – why do we need to meditate
- Physical Relaxation – the importance of physical relaxation for meditation
- Meditation Environment – how to set up the perfect environment for meditation
- Meditation Posture – different meditation postures that work for everyone
- Breathe Properly – both energize and relax your body by breathing properly
- Breathing Practice – simple breathing exercise before meditating
- Subtle Sensations – becoming aware of your body
- Stop the Mind – stopping the mind from chattering
- Entertain the Monkey – giving the mind a task during meditation
- Follow the Breath – focusing on breathing during meditation
- Simple Breathing Meditation – putting it all together in meditation
- Meditation is a Journey – make meditation a lifelong practice