Mindful Breathing in Meditation
When it comes to meditation, one of the most important elements is breath. Breathing is a central element of meditation and relaxation.
When you come across a person in pain or in stress, one of the first instincts is to tell them to take a deep breath. Intuitively, we know that slowing our breathing can help us to feel better.
Meditation allows us to focus on breathing and create a practice that works more deeply and is more meaningful. But how do we make sure our breath is working for us in meditation? There are several ways.
Let Go of Perfection
While there are some techniques for breathing during meditation, you can let go of the idea that it needs to be perfect. This is true about all aspects of the practice. If you focus too much on technique, you’ll miss out on the true benefits of meditation.
Here you’ll learn some techniques for breathing during meditation, but if any of them don’t work for you, you can let them go without any guilt or worry about how you’re doing it.
Follow Your Natural Rhythm
When you’re beginning a meditation practice, you may decide that it’s best to just let your breath go on naturally. If you breathe in a shallow way, continue to do it. If you have deep breath, continue to breathe deeply.
By not putting too much emphasis on your breath and letting it just be what it is, you can spend your energy focusing on how you feel and just be aware of your breath. Becoming aware without trying to change anything is a way to incorporate mindfulness into your practice.
Deep breathing is also beneficial for relaxation and meditation. To breathe deeply you’ll want to practice diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. Rather than using your shoulders or back to move your breath in and out, you’ll want to use your diaphragm to do so.
When lying down or sitting in a chair, place your hand on your belly just below your ribs. When you breathe in, notice push your belly out and when you breathe out, let it relax. Doing this a few times for practice will give you a feel for it.
You also want to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This allows air to warm through your nose and move naturally through your respiratory system. Beginning your meditation practice with a minute of deep breathing and then transition to natural breathing can help you to get more out of your practice.
Mindfulness is Key
The most important thing about breathing during meditation is to be mindful of it. That means having an awareness of how you are breathing. Is it shallow? Is it deep? Are you taking quick breaths or long breaths?
Focusing your attention on your breath and your other sensations will help you to feel more relaxed and in tune with your body. At first it may seem strange to be aware of your breathing, but over time this will become natural for you.