Breathing as a Mindfulness Practice
Breathing is perhaps the most mindless act we take and yet if we stopped doing it we would die. It’s something that people do somewhere between 15,000-30,000 times every day.
Intentional focus on the breath is one of the simplest mindfulness practices you can do and you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and start by taking a big, perhaps exaggerated breath and exhale. Then just tune in to the air coming in and going out. You may notice differences in your inhale and exhale. Some find it helpful to count their breaths.
After a bit, what you’ll probably also notice is how much your mind wants to wander. It’s a good reminder of how much we need to practice mindfulness to develop the habit of quieting the mind.
There are countless breathing techniques and ever apps designed to help guide and keep you focused on your counts. Experiment with a few and see if you can develop a breathing technique you can tap in your morning routine and anytime you need to relax and reduce your level of stress.
If you really get into this idea, you might want to study a little about a breath control method referred to as Pranayama breathing. You can find a beginner’s guide here
As breathing is essential to life, intentional focus on your breathing is a great tool for practicing mindfulness.
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life – Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Be Here Now – Ram Dass
- The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh