Mindful Breathing

We breathe automatically, usually without giving it much thought, but by actually giving thought to our breathing we can begin practicing Mindfulness. Mindfulness begins with simple awareness, paying attention to your experience from moment to moment.

Powerful Exercise

Mindful breathing is a simple, but powerful exercise. Begin by laying flat on your back with your eyes closed. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take slow, deep breaths into the bottom of your lungs so that your belly rises a little but your chest stays fairly still.

Once your breathing becomes regular, observe as much detail about it as you can. Notice the coolness of the air as it enters your nostrils and down the back of your throat. Sense your lungs expanding with each breath, how your diaphragm feels as you exhale. Feel the slight warmth of the exhaled air. Pay close attention to every detail of this simple act of breathing.

Add a Mantra

Now add a simple mantra or a repeated thought to your breathing pattern. A mantra can be any word or short phrase that is meaningful to you. You can change a mantra anytime you want. You might say or think the word “love” as you inhale and say or think the word “peace” as you exhale. As you say or think your mantra, other thoughts will intrude, disrupting your concentration. This is normal. When this happens, just start over, re-establishing your deep breathing rhythm. Practice Mindful Breathing just like this for five minutes twice a day for about a week and see how it changes your mood.

Counting Breaths

Another Mindful Breathing exercise you can practice, even without laying down, is called “breath counting.” The beauty of this breathing exercise is that you can practice Mindfulness almost anywhere. Quietly sitting at your desk at school or work, sitting in the dentist’s waiting room, out walking, even while you are riding the bus or subway.

As you begin inhaling say or think “in one.” While you exhale say or think “out one.” Repeat this counting until you reach “in four” and “out four,” Once you complete four, start over at one. Four complete breath counts is usually the limit for beginners of “breath counting,” before their concentration is broken. When thoughts begin to intrude just begin again at one and continue.

Mindfulness Just One Breath Away

Your breathing exercises are meant to calm you. And remember, you can practice Mindfulness anytime you want to calm yourself. Mindfulness is always just one breath away.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

Review our Knowledge Base or the links displayed on this page for similar and related topics.