BASIC INSTRUCTION FOR ANY MEDITATION (The Breath)
Starting With The Breath
We start with focusing on the breath to meditate because it is always with us and it is easy to focus on. We will learn to focus on other things such as sounds, the body, a mantra, and visualizations in the future. The breath is soothing to tune into because of it’s gentle ebb and flow. The breath can also signal how tense or relaxed we are so it is a good starting place.
- Choose a comfortable position where you will be uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes. You should be sitting straight, in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. But don’t be in a lying down position because you may just get so relaxed you’ll fall asleep.
- Play soft music if you like. You may also use ear plugs which may help focus on breath and dampen outside noises.
Shift From Thinking To Sensing
- Notice the sound-scape.
- Notice how your body feels and let it soften. Let your jaw drop and feel the muscles in your face relax.
- Take a deep breath and let out an audible sigh. Repeat this several times.
Focus on the Breath
- Sense where you feel your breathing (chest, throat, nostrils, belly)
- On the out-breath, let your mind sink into that place.
- Feel the breath rise and fall, the body expand and contract. Breathe naturally.
- Don’t try to control the breath, just let it do what it wants to do.
Count The Breaths (5-10 breaths)
- Say the word “one” as you breath out, then “two” on the next out breath, and so on.
- Keep the counting going, even if you have other thoughts.
- Just acknowledge other thoughts and let them go.
Notice The Signs of Your Body Relaxing
- Your limbs may feel heavy or still or light.
- You may notice tingling or pulsing of the skin.
- Aches and pains often become obvious.
- Breath becomes lighter and gentler. Enjoy these feelings.
Name The Distractions
- If a thought or sensation persistently distracts you, then try “naming it”. Name the content, “work” “headache”, “Susan”, “doctor”, “sadness”
- Let go of these distractions and refocus you attention back to the breath.
- Do this as often as necessary.
- Have your eyes open for the last few seconds.
- Keep the breathing steady and your face soft.
- Realize you don’t have to speed up just because your eyes are open.
- Stay passive and enjoy the way you feel.
- Ask yourself, “Am I more relaxed and settled than when I started?”
LISTEN TO A GUIDED BREATH MEDITATION