This breathing meditation is simple to do yet effective at its head-space creation capabilities.. You can vary the length/counts for your breathing to suit you in that moment.. It’s also a great pre-cursor to the Yogic Breath technique.
Meditation or Mindfulness can help you to:
- Feel calmer, happier and more content
- Sleep better
- Be more able to deal with difficult situations
- Increase attention span
- Have improved immunity, better health and less signs of aging (as are bi-products with stress reduction techniques naturally)
Safety points, if you suffer from heart conditions, are pregnant then it is NOT advised that you hold your breath between your inhale and exhale, otherwise, see how it feels and only include it if it works for you in any given moment… Also, always inhale through your nose, to allow for better filtration of the air you intake, especially when in built up urban areas. Optimally, also exhale through your nose but this need not be so strict.
How to :
- Sit comfortably, preferably on a thick cushion or pillow on the floor. If your knees don’t allow this then sit in a chair but with your spine self supporting, away from the back of the chair, or lay down on a mat or rug – or, of course, standing or walking can work too – main point is that your spine wants to be softly straight.
- As you breathe in, count how long your inhale takes. As you breathe out, count your exhale duration too. Do this for a few rounds of breath to get an idea of your normal. You want to aim to fill up and empty your lungs with each breath a bit more each time until you reach your comfortable capacity.
- Next we want to lengthen and moderate the inhalations and exhalations. Aiming to make them both the same count can help to regulate not just the breath but your awareness about how much and how quickly you take things in and how you let them go again. A good starting point might be:
- Breathe in (inhale) through the nose and down into your belly for a count of 3,
- Breathe out (exhale), completely empty your lungs, through the nose for a count of 3.
(I.e. Count to 3 in your head, slowly whilst you’re breathing..)
- After a few breaths if it feels OK then extend your breathing to a count of 4 inhaling and 4 exhaling.
- If filling your belly and emptying your lungs doesn’t happen for you at first then play with it. It may feel strange to begin with, but, if it feels too hard, not beneficial, or you get a headache; try making less effort with it, keep the practice simple and easy!..
- Repeat this pattern for at least a further 10 cycles (don’t worry if you loose count of something, it all takes practice, be kind to your learning process)
- To advance (if none of the conditions mentioned above):
- Pause your breathing after you’ve filled your lungs. Hold your breath for half the count of your inhale. E.g. Inhale for 1, 2, 3, 4. Hold for 1, 2. Exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4..
- And/Or extend the count for each part of the breath to a point you can manage easily. In more advanced yogic practices the ratios of inhale, exhale and holds do vary, so if you feel comfortable then be playful with this practice. If you’re unsure it’s always best to seek some face to face guidance from a teacher you trust to check your technique, as we’re not all made the same, therefore it’s not one glove fits all for something as vital as our breathing..
Personally, I do this while on the train, walking, i.e. Pairing the count with my steps or, waiting in line or before any situation which might feel frustrating or bring me anxiety. Or simply to remind me about the here and now.. This is my intention at least lol, as being human and fabulously imperfect, life doesn’t always happen as planned 😉
And that’s it, your mindful and meditating..! Be kind to yourself and if you get frustrated trying to do this then keep it simple and take it back to counting your natural breath pattern with no intent to change it, simply count it.
Get out of your head! 😉