The awareness of Breath as a mindfulness tool is said to have existed for ages, though it is now assumed that Goutama the Buddha rediscovered the art of mindful breathing and shared it with the world.
Anapanasati, as it is known in many Buddhist texts, means the mindfulness or awareness of breath.
Our breath and mind are closely connected. When our mind is calm, our breath is calmer too. On the contrary, our breath becomes irregular and heavy when we are tense.
How to practice Mindful Breathing…
To start with, find a room or place where you will not be easily disturbed. Switch off your mobile phones.
Sit comfortably on a chair or on the ground. Make sure that your arms are relaxed by resting them on the arms of the chair or on your thighs. One can even meditate lying down. However, if we are tired, we can fall asleep if we meditate while lying down.
Close your eyes. This will ensure that you are not distracted by means of visual images.
Close your mouth. This is to make sure that you breathe through your nose.
Breathe deeply for three or four times and feel the impact of the breath on your nostrils.
After deep breathing, breathe naturally. Focus on the incoming breath and the outgoing breath. Slowly, start being aware of the gaps between the incoming and the outgoing breaths.
Whenever you lose focus, breathe deeply for a couple of times and then resume the normal breathing. This will ensure that your focus is brought back to the breath.
Don’t judge yourself if you lose focus in between. Be gentle on yourself.
Don’t control your breath pattern. Let it flow naturally.
Mindful Breathing is considered to be the most simple of all relaxation and related practices. Regular practice of mindful breathing will bring down stress and its related ailments, and in turn, make us calm and composed.