Gaining control of your breath is one of the single, most important steps you can take to improve your overall health and vitality, increase your ability to concentrate, and achieve deeper states of meditation, peace and bliss.
Both your mind and your body follow the cues of your breath, and these exercises allow you to use this connection to step back, gain a higher sense of awarenesss, and propel you towards your goals!
Now I Am Breathing In
This is an excellent exercise for beginners, and you can do it anytime, any where, whether you only have a few seconds or can sit for a longer meditation.
The exercise is quite simple. Draw your attention to your breath by silently repeating a simple mantra to yourself.
When you inhale, think: “Now I am breathing in.”
When you exhale, think: “Now I am breathing out.”
The Space Between The Breaths
Another great technique you can practice is to begin paying attention to the space between the breaths.
You may not have thought about this idea before, but every time you breathe, there is a slight pause between your inhale and exhale. This pause occurs both at the top of your breath (after your inhale) and at the bottom of your breath (after your exhale).
When you feel tense, stressed, or otherwise upset, this pause is short, and you will begin your next breath quickly and hurriedly.
When you are relaxed, happy, and at ease, the pause lengthens.
The aim of this exercise is, first and foremost, to notice that this space exists. As you notice the space, it will likely lengthen, as you will naturally begin to feel a little calmer. Do not force the space to lengthen, but allow whatever space feels comfortable for you to pause between each breath.
Rest calmly in this space. Observe.
Stepping Back To Breathe
One of the most important techniques you can master is also one of the easiest.
Paying attention to your breath is the single, most important skill you can develop. It will help you to increase the level of peace and happiness you feel everyday, while also increasing your health and vitality, and helping you to achieve any goal you set for yourself.
For this breath exercise, all you have to do is to take a few moments consistently, throughout the day, to remember to breathe. Take the time to step back from whatever you’re doing, and simply notice your breath.
If you’d like, take a long inhale and exhale with a loud sigh. If you feel tense, repeat this cycle two or three times.
Then, allow your breath to return to its normal cycle, and notice the stillness, peace, and openness you feel through it.
Additional Breath Exercises
Some other breath exercises you might consider include:
- A Single Point of Focus (as in Vipassana)
- Even Breath Counts
- Uneven Breath Counts
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Kapalabhati Breath
- Deep Breathing Exercises