The breathing meditation method
This is the breathing meditation page, details of other methods available from the methods page. The best way to start is to find a reliable technique and a teacher who can show you how to fully apply the method. Our advice is to be naturally wary of any individual or group that claim to have the ‘only’ or ‘best’ meditation training. Breathing meditation is used across many spiritual traditions and in several secular forms of meditation. Breathing meditation accesses a universal behavior, breathing, as the basis for bringing the mind under control. Personally this is the form of meditation that gives me the most joy. Just to remind myself that I am alive and breathing and that all other worries are less important than this is uplifting. It really is great!
What is breathing meditation?
It is a very simple and integrated technique, by integrated we mean it’s already part of what we do and how we live, no special skills are needed. We simply observe our own breathing a little more closely in a relaxed atmosphere. The breath is in every sense essential to our life, and by focusing our attention on this one aspect of our being, our concerns and worries will fall away. In common with many forms of traditional meditation, mindfulness is already built into breathing practice. For a beginner the main issue is just to let go of everyday thoughts, and to keep returning to the natural cycle of breathing. If you don’t have a teacher or guide that can help you, you might want to consult a book, CD/DVD or website that can give you some instruction. Our advice is always to do a little research and select a product from a reliable teacher and/or organisation. This will ensure you get the most from the experience by using tried and tested systems.
Breathing meditation methods
Although they are easy to learn and practice it wouldn’t be accurate to think of them as just for beginners. They are practiced by many advanced meditation masters and under the right conditions they can provide great benefits across a whole lifetime. Meditation is a positive activity, it should lead to calmness, stability, happiness and a sense of well being. If the student experiences a negative: physical, mental or emotional reaction they should stop and consult an experienced and reliable teacher. If you have any general questions about meditation visit our FAQ page. Follow this link for details of our main meditation methods.
Understanding breathing meditation
View – The point of this breathing meditation is to focus on the air going in and out of the nostrils at the tip of the nose, nothing more and nothing less. The idea is to just think of one thing, thus letting go of all other thoughts for a few minutes. This process will naturally calm the mind and bring a sense of tranquillity. When thoughts go off and start chasing around bring them back to the breath. When the student is able to maintain focus on the breath, the breathing can be used to engage in concepts able to offer increasing development, such as compassion and loving kindness. Once you’re familiar with breathing meditation you can use it whenever you need to, not just in formal meditation.
Practice – Sit in a comfortable position with the back as straight as possible. Part close or completely close the eyes (whichever works best). The idea is not to focus on objects that come into your field of vision. Start by breathing in a simple regular rhythm, breathe in and then breathe out, if it helps count the breaths. When other thoughts demand attention, just ignore them and return to the breath, let all other thoughts fall away. This is harder than it might at first seem. Don’t make breathing in general the focus of your thoughts, rather the inhalation and exhalation of the breath at the nose. Breathing should be normal, calm and controlled. There is no right way, just be relaxed in your breathing. Avoid ‘policing’ your breathing, this is a disturbing emotion. If you start to think about your breathing just bring your concentration back to observing the flow of air. It should feel natural and pleasant. At the beginning aim for at least ten minutes, more if you are experienced. With some time you will be able to judge the duration of ten minutes, however use a mobile phone alarm if you find yourself constantly checking to see how long has passed. After a few sessions you will be ready to extend the duration of the practice.
Sitting for at least 30 minutes, four or five times a week is likely to bring the student a greater calmness and stability. Even if you are self taught try to spend some time with experienced practitioners or a teacher from time to time. You’ll learn a lot by just seeing how they sit, but you can also ask questions about how to overcome obstacles to the practice. As with all practices if you experience pain, discomfort or strong disturbing emotions consult an experienced teacher or your doctor.