Breath Awareness Practice
15 October, 2010
Posted by on
This “Breath Awareness Practice” was given to me by my counselling supervisor yesterday, to share with a client. Feel it would benefit anyone – or should that be everyone? Is anyone the same as everyone or everyone the same as anyone? We are all unique, so maybe not as far as individuals go, but maybe as in grammar? Give the below a try – stop thinking – just be – for a few minutes a day 🙂 I often practice this before prayer.
BREATH AWARENESS PRACTICE
SIT comfortably, on a chair, with your spine upright, your shoulders down, your chest open, your tongue, mouth and jaw soft, your eyes gently closed, your hands resting in your lap.
BE AWARE of your body, feel it beginning to grow steady.
BECOME AWARE of the breath flowing in and out of your nostrils.
BE AWARE of the temperature of the breath: cool as it enters – warmer as it leaves.
BE AWARE of the depth of the breath.
BE AWARE of the rhythm of the breath. Is it even or erratic?
BE AWARE of the quality of the breath. Is it quiet or noisy, smooth-flowing or restricted?
DON’T CHANGE the breath. Just observe it, and accept it as you find it. If you are feeling despairing or angry or frightened, your breath may be ragged and restricted, its rhythm unsteady. Your chest may feel tight, especially if you have been holding on to the emotions. This is the reality, so don’t try to change it, just keep your attention focused on it. Observe it as it is.
NOW become aware of the out-breath. Let it flow out fully, but don’t ‘push’ it. You may begin to feel a sense of release.
INHALATION deepens naturally when exhalation is full. After a few minutes become more aware of the breath flowing in, a little deeper, a little smoother and calmer.
DON’T MAKE AN EFFORT: don’t pull at the breath, just allow it to deepen gradually. Welcome each new breath of life.
EACH EXHALATION is cleansing your being of impurities, and releasing stress and anxiety. Each inhalation is nourishing your being, filling it with energy and life force.
KEEP your awareness on the breath, and if your mind begins to wander, be aware of that. Don’t be cross with your mind, just return it to the practice as soon as you realise it has strayed.
CONTINUE for as long as you need to. When you feel ready to finish, move and stretch the body gently before you stand up.
Breath awareness can be practised at any time, and almost anywhere. It is calming and grounding while travelling to, or waiting for appointments or difficult meetings and in any other anxiety provoking situations. In time it builds the inner strength and insight that is of help in staying balanced and in control. It becomes an integral part of life, nourishing, sustaining and transforming it.