When was the last time you paid attention to your breath? If you are anything like I was before I started meditating, the answer may be never. It’s amazing as we go through life, preoccupied with this and that, we forget this simple point of gratitude: I’m breathing, effortlessly, without even thinking about it, the breath is going in and out, keeping me alive.
And this basic breath awareness can do even more than that. Once we focus on it through mindfulness practice, our breath can teach us how to be calmer, more present, more focused, or even sleep better!
Here are some simple breath awareness instructions, compliments of Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D.
Simple Breath Awareness Meditation Instructions:
1. Pick a comfortable, quiet place where you will not be disturbed
2. Sit with the spine upright on a cushion on the floor or a chair. If you use a chair, make sure your feet are touching the ground.
3. Begin to notice your breathing. Try to maintain an open and curious attitude. Notice where the breath goes when it enters and leaves your body.
4. Do not try to change the breath in any way. It may change naturally as you observe it.
5. If your mind wanders away, note what it is doing, than gently bring your attention back to the breath.
6. Continue observing the breath for 15-20 minutes.
The beauty of this practice is that you can’t do it wrong, and you can’t do it right. Just try it, two times a day, for about 2 weeks, and notice how you feel. You can do it at the office, or on your phone or tablet using the Mindfulnets one click meditation exercise to help your mind stay focused. Try to abandon grand expectations, and just notice and enjoy the subtle. Are you a little calmer? Is that coworker bothering you a tiny bit less? When you were in traffic, did you forget your frustration for a second, and notice the black bird slicing through the crisp blue sky?
We have this ability to shift our reality, and there’s no new skill to master…just breathe.