A simple but crucial reminder of our existence, each breath you take is proof of life.
When you start to think, the breath has a unique quality: the phenomenon is both voluntary and involuntary.
Alan Watts, a popular writer, suggested that this quality of the breath enables internalizing the deeper truth – the division between what we do and what happens to us is arbitrary, we are bystanders while the entire Universe is a happening.
Why use the breath?
Many forms of yoga encourage the use of breath to transition between asanas. The breath becomes a bridge between the body and the mind.
Pranayama is a yogic practice which regulates prana, the life force energy in our body through controlled breathing exercises.
Higher forms of meditations such as Vipassana make use of the breath to prepare the practitioners and calm their mind before introducing the powerful technique of Vipassana.
Many other higher forms of spiritual practices too direct students/practitioners to make use of their breath to achieve the meditative state. But why?
Living in the present
As humans, we can experience 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts everyday! Our minds keep racing, switching between the past and the future, what is versus what could be – the whys, buts and what-ifs.
We need to bring our attention back to the present, to the now, and experience life as is. Our own breath is the simplest and the easiest available tool for this.
Our breath is oftentimes influenced by our feelings. For example, have you noticed that you breathe faster when you are angry or have lost your temper?
Simply observing your breath brings not only makes us more aware but also brings us in touch with our own emotions.
In turn, regulating breath will also bring a change in how you feel. For example, deep breathing for when you experience stress will calm you and allow you to better manage your emotions.
Your psychological and physiological state of being is reflected in the breath and in turn, the breath can affect your psychological and physiological state as well.
Most people never practice deep breathing and but end up doing shallow and fast chest breathing most of their lives.
Breathing from the chest activates the fight or flight mechanism in our system. This results in constant anxiety.
Deep breathing has many visible benefits as well – it reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure and restores balance.
Who knew that creating a calm state of mind was just as simple as breathing?
Preparing for the meditation
This meditation script is for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an advanced meditation practitioner, bringing your awareness back to your breath and observing yourself is important every once in a while.
This will be a short guided meditation practise which you can use again at any point in time. I suggest you practice mindful breathing at least once a day. In fact, this meditation can do wonders if you’re upset or angry.
We hope this meditation helps in calming you and for you to get a glimpse into the meditative state of mind you can always rely on coming back to.
Before beginning, find yourself a quiet place to be. Make sure that you won’t have anyone disturb you for the next 5-10 mins.
You may sit on a chair or cross-legged on the ground (with or without back support), just be comfortable.
While it’s best to practice this meditation during the morning hours to get the most of it, it’s more important to choose a time which is convenient for you. So it doesn’t matter if you’re doing this practice in the middle of the day or late at night.
Remember, this is a short time that you are gifting to yourself. So don’t try to rush through the meditation, take it slow and easy.
Mindful Breathing Meditation Script
Once you are ready, follow the steps below:
- Be comfortably seated. If you need to, you may adjust your clothing or seating position.
- Close your eyes and relax your body. Feel all the tension and stress dissolving in your body.
- Take a deep breath in. Unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders. Soften the muscles of your face, neck and your back. Breathe out.
- Take a moment here to relax any other part of the body. Take another deep breath in, and breathe out.
- Let go of anything that happened today. Let go of anything that you have to do afterwards. Let go of any expectations that you may have for yourself or this practice.
- Now, take normal breaths in and out through your nose. At your own rhythm.
- Observe how your breath feels.
- Don’t try to force your breath. Simply observe the rhythm of your breath for a few minutes.
- How does your breath feel? Is it hot? Cold? Is it fast? Or slow?
- Are you taking deep and long breaths? Or are they fast and shallow breaths?
- Does the breath move from your right nostril? Or your left nostril? Or from both nostrils equally?
- Simply observe your breath. Don’t try to change it. Don’t alter it. Just observe.
- Now, have you been experiencing thoughts? It’s alright if many thoughts are racing through your mind.
- Be aware if you’re experiencing thoughts, but don’t ponder over it. Let the thoughts come and go.
- Treat your thoughts like background noise, let them be. Be attentive of it, but don’t give attention to it.
- Remember to keep observing your breath and how it feels. Don’t try to alter it, don’t judge it. Just notice it, be aware of it.
- Now simply observe the emotions inside of you. Be true to yourself, how do you feel?
- Whatever your emotions, pleasant or unpleasant, simply observe them.
- It doesn’t matter what kind of emotions you experience, understand that these emotions are ever-changing. Let go of them.
- Happiness is fleeting, one should strive to achieve contentment. Contentment is not dependent on the outside world but on just you. The inner you.
- Imagine that you are content. Now, at this very moment, you are content.
- Anchor yourself in the current moment with each breath. The past is gone and we have little control over the future. What you have is now. Experience being you, being here, being in the now.
- How does your breath feel now? Keep observing how you’re breathing.
- With each breath in, energize your body, and with each breath out, calm your body.
- With each breath in, breathe in positive thoughts. Know that all will be okay.
- With each breath out let go of you inhibitions, fears and regrets.
- Breathe in fresh prana, fresh life force. Breathe out stale or negative energy leftover in your body.
- Breathe in hope and joy. Breathe out any self-doubts you may have.
- Know that you are protected and loved by a higher energy force. Cocooning you and engulfing you. You are safe, you are looked after and you are shielded.
- Now, take a long deep breath in and then out. Take another long and deep breath in and out.
- Sit still for a few more minutes. Observe the sensations in your body, the feelings you have and your breathing pattern.
- Slowly start coming back. Be aware of your surroundings. The room you’re in and the ground that you’re sitting on.
- Whenever you feel complete and ready, slowly rub your palms together first. Create some heat between your palms
- Now place your warm palms on your eyelids and your face. With this, slowly open your eyes.
- Keep sitting for a few more moments before you get up and go about your day. Observe how you feel.
Remember that you can come back to this wherever you want. Wherever you are, you can simply close your eyes and do the same meditation again.
How do you feel?
When I first did mindful breathing meditation, I felt energized but calm. Sometimes after this meditation, I feel more in control of myself and ready to take on the word.
I hope you feel relaxed and experience the same calm this meditation brings to so many people.
Don’t be afraid to know the real you
Sometimes meditation can seem difficult and scary. Why?
We’re afraid to connect to ourselves. We may be stuck in unhealthy patterns. These patterns may create self-doubt and the illusion that we’re not good enough.
However, we don’t realize that the only we can break this pattern is by sitting down and actually getting to know ourselves. For this, we need to dedicate time and energy to the needs of the one person we always ignore.
I appreciate you and strongly believe if you got to know your inner self, you WILL learn to love and appreciate yourself as well. You deserve nothing less than the purity of love.
As my first yoga teacher used to say, we are all the pure souls, we just lose our way sometimes. The truth is that you are peace and you are joy.