Are you new to Meditation practice? If so, you’ll know that getting your meditation breathing technique right (alongside sitting comfortably) is one of the most important first steps.
Almost all meditation teaching tells you to start by focussing on your breath. Unfortunately, the mind wants to go where it wants to go. And If you’re anything like me, I found it very difficult to stay focussed in the beginning.
In this article...
My problem with focus
I would start concentrating on my breath, but my mind kept drifting off. Following thoughts I didn’t ask it to.
Now, you’re always going to have random thoughts occurring while your meditating. The purpose of meditation isn’t to clear your mind as many people think. It’s more about not getting drawn into the thoughts.
When a thought drifts into your mind while you’re meditating, just let it be. Don’t get involved with the thought. Don’t try to push it away. Just notice it’s there. And then, gently guide your attention back to your point of focus.
It all sounds very easy doesn’t it? But for me it really wasn’t. I’d get drawn into the thought and sometimes it could be a few of minutes before I realized and brought my concentration back again.
This got me thinking about ways to try to improve my concentration.
I started by using guided meditations. And they all started pretty much the same way. One form or another of guided breathing technique. So, over time I tried lots of different meditation breathing techniques and I finally found something that helped me to focus. And it was something I could repeat without needing the entire guided meditation. Hopefully, it can do the same for you.
The meditation breathing technique
The thing I like most about meditation, is that it can be done anyway you want. Sure, there are some guidelines, but there’s no real right or wrong way to meditate, only what’s right for you. And that opens a lot of doors for people new to meditation.
You can meditate whilst sitting, standing, lying down, etc. You can even meditate while walking, or exercising.
And that brings me to an important point about this, or any other breathing technique. It’s up to you how you use it. This particular meditation breathing technique works great for me exactly how it is.
But, feel free to change anything, what’s important is that you find something that works for you. So, give it a try this way, then mix it up if you want to. Whatever works best for you 🙂
So, to begin, get yourself comfortable and relax. Keep your back straight if you can comfortably, shoulders loose and relaxed and place your hands where they’re comfortable. Most people either place them in their lap, one on top of the other, or on their knees. But remember, it’s whatever is comfortable for you.
Next, close your eyes. Or, if you prefer look gently downward in front of you, just to reduce any visual distractions.
Now, take a long deep breath in through your nose. Fill your lungs right up, then slowly exhale through the mouth.
Now you’re going to count each breath. So, slowly inhale through your nose and count the breath…. ‘one‘ (silently in your head), as you start to take your first breath. As you’re breathing in, feel your lungs and abdomen filling with air. Then pause for a moment, then slowly exhale.
Continue doing this, while counting each breath until you reach 10.
If your mind drifts off before you reach 10, start again at ‘1’
Once you can breath to the count of 10, you can move on to part two.
If it’s easier for you, you can absolutely count each breath off on your fingers. An issue I had in the beginning was focussing on the number throughout the breath, which sort of defeats the object. But, just be mindful about doing it.
ie: as you breathe, make yourself aware of the subtle movement of each finger as you move it into position. feel the texture of the skin and the pressure of your touch as you move the finger to touch the thumb, etc.
Then, once you’ve mastered that, you can try dropping the count completely and try this next stage.
The purpose of this meditation breathing technique, is to help you become more mindful. As to learn to breathe mindfully, you’re also improving your ability to focus.
So, during each breath, picture in your minds-eye the breath entering your body through the nose. You can imagine your breath as a vapor if it helps you to visualize it.
Picture the inhaled breath going through the trachea (windpipe) down into the lungs, filling all the small alveoli (air sacs) and expanding your chest.
Then, on the exhale, picture the air coming back out again, bringing all your stress and tension with it.
Repeat this 10 times, or more if it helps you.
Using these meditation breathing techniques worked for me. I found it much easier to focus, even after using them for just a few days. Remember though, it’s going to be impossible to stay completely focussed throughout the meditation.
Even meditation masters who’ve been meditating for years lose focus at times. That’s just how the human brain works. But this technique will definitely help to control your focus. And it gets easier to notice when you’ve drifted off into an alternate universe. Helping you to realize and bring yourself back much sooner.
Give it a try and let me know how you found it, using the comments box below. Also, if you’ve got any tricks, or tips to share drop those in the comments as well 🙂