Focusing on the breath is one of the most common and fundamental techniques for accessing the meditative state. Breath is a deep rhythm of the body that connects us intimately with the world around us. Learn these steps, and then practice them as a regular breathing exercise. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and regularly, and observe your breath as it flows in through the nose and out. Give your full attention to the breath as it comes in and goes out. Store your breath in the belly, not the chest, between inhales and exhales. Whenever you find your attention wandering away from your breath, gently pull it back to the rising and falling of the breath via the belly.
Inhale through your nose slowly and deeply, feeling the lower chest and abdomen inflate like a balloon. Hold for five seconds. Exhale deeply, deflating the lower chest and abdomen like an emptying balloon. Hold for five seconds. Do this five times, and then allow your breathing to return to a normal rhythm.You will begin to feel a change come over your entire body. Gradually you will become less aware of your breathing, but not captured in your stream of consciousness. Consciousness is encouraged on the whole, but we often are too alert and hyper-stimulated via television, caffeine, and family life, just to name a few. By breathing for five minutes daily, you will become more centered inward. You will just live “in the moment,” in your own skin.
Benefits of a simple breathing exercise throughout the day include:
• “Re-centering” one’s thoughts
• Increase in the flow of blood that carries oxygen through the body and improved efficiency of exhaling and ridding the body of carbon dioxide
• Decreased levels of fatigue later in the day, legs won’t feel “heavy”
Increasing oxygenated blood via deep breathing can decrease muscle pains, especially in the postural muscles (back and neck muscles), and can also help counteract chronic stressors such as sitting or standing in static positions for extended periods of time.