Breath meditation - meditation techniques for beginners
Before I introduce you to breathing meditation, I would like to briefly explain what meditation is.
Meditation is a mindfulness technique with which you can learn to direct your focus and consciously direct your own attention. The positive effects of meditation on health and general feelings of happiness have now been proven by numerous studies . The reduction of stress, an increased sense of inner peace and a better ability to concentrate are just some of the numerous effects of meditation. It also helps you get to know yourself better. You become aware of what you think and feel and where these feelings and thoughts come from.
If you want to get to know meditation and try it out for yourself, it can be difficult to decide how best to get started. In this blog post I will give you some basic information and tips for meditation . Today we want to get to know what is probably the most basic form of meditation: breathing meditation.
Breathe? I do that all the time anyway
Of course we breathe around the clock, but we are rarely aware of how quickly, how long and how precisely we breathe in and out. But our breath can tell us a lot about how we are feeling at the moment. Breathing meditation is not necessarily about analyzing your breath, but rather about learning to focus and calm down. This is often difficult at first, simply because you are not used to it.
How exactly does my breath help me relax?
The majority of our worries and doubts arise from the fact that our attention is not in the present, but either in the future or in the past. Our breath quickly helps us bring ourselves back into the moment and really focus our attention on what we want to focus on. If we focus on a recurring thing that is not stressful for us, we can more easily block out environmental stimuli and relax.
Breathing meditation can be integrated very beautifully and easily into everyday life because you can practice it anytime and anywhere. A few minutes of pure meditation are enough at the beginning, because meditation is also a matter of practice. The nice thing about this (and actually every) meditation is that it can be extended as long as you want.
It is important to me to mention that breathing meditation is not about controlling or changing your own breath. At the beginning of meditation you usually breathe deeply in and out a few times, but then you continue to breathe normally at your own pace. At first it was really difficult for me not to want to change my breathing automatically. Only after a few times was I able to completely “let go”. So if you feel the same, it's not bad at all!
Ready? Then let’s get started with the breathing meditation
- Find a comfortable seat for meditation. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion, or you can make yourself comfortable in a chair.
- If you are sitting on a chair, place both feet parallel on the floor, rest your hands loosely on your thighs and straighten your back. You don't have to arch your back; However, you shouldn't sit too hunched over either. Raise it until it still feels comfortable for you.
- When you're ready, close your eyes. Breathe in and out deeply two to three times. Arrive in the moment and then let your breath find its natural rhythm again. You do not need to control or change your breathing in any way. Just notice what is right now. It's not about reaching a certain state. Just let your experiences be your experiences as best you can, without expecting anything to be different than it is.
- Focus your attention on the tip of your nose. You may notice that the air at your nostrils is slightly warmer when you breathe out than when you breathe in. If you find it difficult to focus on your nose, you can also focus your attention on your chest or abdomen and observe how your stomach rises as you breathe in and falls as you breathe out. If you are doing this exercise for the first time, it may be helpful to place a hand on your stomach and focus attention on the changing sensations where your hand touches that area.
- Now observe your breath for a few minutes and how it flows in and out of your body. You may notice the small pause between two breaths and the one between inhaling and exhaling.
- You will quickly notice that your attention wanders and turns to thoughts, plans or daydreams. This is completely normal. As soon as you notice that your attention is no longer on the breath, notice where your mind has wandered and that there was a thought there. Then lovingly direct your attention back to your breath or your anchor - the nose or the stomach.
- Continue this practice for a while, reminding yourself from time to time that the intention is simply to simply become aware of your experiences in the moment as best you can. Your breath serves as an anchor with which you can always establish a connection to the here and now.
- Now take another deep breath. When you're ready, open your eyes and stretch a little.
If you enjoyed the meditation, you can of course repeat it as often as you like. This doesn't always have to happen at a fixed time of day; In stressful situations or just in between, a mini version of breathing meditation – taking a few deep breaths – can work wonders!
In my next mindfulness blog post I will introduce you to the body scan meditation. Until next week!
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