11. The Power of the Breath

Meditations on the Natural World; Find the Technique That's Right for You Section III. Meditation Techniques That Have Withstood the Test of Time
3 minutes
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Lesson 11 meditating on the breath. If you don't yet have a meditation practice, focusing on breathing is a great place to start. A good practice would be to observe your breath for two to five minutes. Once a day, sitting with a straight spine, eyes gently closed. This can be done at any time in the car with your eyes open Of course, in the supermarket line in the doctor's waiting room, etc. Most people in the West breathe shallowly and too fast.

By taking time to breathe slowly. It brings you a whole host of benefits. When you're stressed, stop and pay attention to your breath. focus your mind on the present moment. Research has shown that good breathing can bring the same benefits as meditation. There are traditions in Asia that say you can reach enlightenment by doing nothing other than observing your breath.

Observation is a lost art in Western society. But it's how native people for millennia knew where to find food, what weather was coming and where danger lay. And observation is the key to building intuition. Here are the steps to conscious breathing. First, inhale slowly through the nose with a closed mouth, allowing your abdomen to rise and the ribcage to expand. Next, exhale through the nose or mouth, letting the abdomen fall count as you do it, try inhaling and exhaling to account before then perhaps after a while, increase it to a count of six.

The act of counting will engage your mind taking it away from random thoughts and then repeat the whole process. Practices consciously throughout the day. Anytime you feel the desire to be calmer and slow down by making your breath deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular. If we become upset, our breath may become shower rapid, noisy and irregular. changing how we breathe can change our physiology and may help to calm us down. We know the trees breeze and in the process purify the air around them.

Be like a tree still And breathing. Smokers say that smoking calms them down. Well, I think it calms them because they're taking a long, deep inhale and a slow exhale. It's the slow breathing that's calming. They could get results from just doing that and forget the cigarette. You'll find a variety of breathing techniques in my book, The Fountain of Youth is just a breath away breathing exercises for relaxation, health and vitality.

For your homework, try this breathing exercise for a few minutes each day, simply inhaling and exhaling. In our next lesson, I'll talk you through a reading meditation known as the Pico Pico breath from Hawaii.

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