Meditation helps you center yourself in your body and calm your mind. This is one of the simplest of all meditations, yet one of the most powerful and rewarding. Meditating on the breath on a daily basis provides a solid foundation for all other forms of meditation.
The practice of meditation on the breath is thousands of years old, our ancestors meditated in this way to tame uncontrolled thinking, reduce negative thoughts and actions, and gain an understanding of spiritual truths. Basically, you meditate on your breath in order to give your mind something to ‘hang on to’ when it starts to jump from one thought to another.
Training your mind in this way helps you focus on one thing at a time, and develops your powers of concentration. It has a calming influence on your body and mind and is beneficial for reducing anxiety, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, reduces mental chatter, promotes ability to focus the mind, and helps you concentrate on whatever you choose (not what your mind wants to).
Whether your interest is in spiritual development or mental and physical health, breath meditation is one of the best all-round meditation practices.
Start this breathe meditation by sitting for ten minutes daily. You will naturally build up to longer sessions over time. Find a quiet place at home where you will not be disturbed. You may wear your mala during meditation or count through the beads to help maintain focus on the moment. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. You will need a cushion or straight-back chair.
Simple Breath Meditation
Before you begin your meditation, set your intention to become a more calm and centered person. You might say: “I would like to meditate today to help myself become a happier, kinder person so I may be of service to myself and others.”
- Sit cross-legged on a cushion with your bottom slightly raised. Keep your back straight, your shoulders level and relaxed and your chin parallel to the floor. Lower your eyes and focus about three-feet in front of you. Rest your hands gently on your knees.
- Breathe normally through your nose, using your abdomen rather than your chest. Check your posture and relax any part of your body that is tense.
- Begin counting your breath on each exhalation, when you reach ten, begin again. Thoughts will intervene and when they do, simply let them go and return to counting your breath.
- After ten minutes or so, end your session.
When you have completed your meditation, you may add: “I dedicate my efforts for my highest benefit and for the highest benefit of all others” or whatever thoughts or prayers you may need to convey to bring peace and serenity into your daily life.