Breathing is a continuous process for every human. We all breathe in air for survival not knowing how it feels at the moment. By focusing on each breath; we can remain in the present.
This exercise is not for shutting out the world but for opening up to it with kindhearted awareness. Living from this vantage point does not only feel good but also results to bright and peaceful living.
The focus on this exercise is basically to focus on the breath. It can be carried out for some minutes or more. After which you would see how distracted our minds can be, it wanders at least a hundred times a day. It would occasionally happen, but this is okay. When it does wander, just bring your focus back to the breath.
There are three steps to follow in this simple exercise;
Sit or lie down in a stable and comfortable position. Your back must be straight not rigid, with your hands and legs relaxed. Close your eyes or open them (soften the gaze) whichever is comfortable for you.
Be alert to the present by observing how you feel physically. Examine yourself and release the tension within. Bring your attention to your environment, room temperature and the noises in the background.
- The Breath
Concentrate on your breathing from 3 vantage points;
- Notice, the feeling of your breath going in and out of your mouth or nostrils.
- While breathing, focus on the rise and fall of your chest.
- Finally, pay attention to the increase and fall of your tummy as you breathe.
Out of these three vantage points, focus on the easiest one for you. Follow the breath from the beginning till the end of it. You would realize how it happens on its own, without any conscious attempt. There are different Breaths; it can be fast, shallow, deep or slow. You don’t need to manage it, just notice it.
While doing this exercise, your mind would wander away from the breath a lot, observe where it goes, make a mental note of it and calmly bring it back to the sensation of the breath going in and out. It is quite natural for our minds to wander away as many times as possible during this exercise, it is up to you to catch yourself if you’ve wandered and calmly bring your attention to the breathing exercise, without having to judge yourself on how well you performed or not.
- Ending the exercise
Take some time to gather yourself and connect with your experience in the present. Expand your awareness from the breath to your environment. When you start to feel comfortable, open your eyes as you slowly bring the exercise to a close.