It All Starts With Breath! Mindful Breath.6 Comments August 24, 2008 / Posted in Breathe
Over the past 14 or 15 years and into the present, when I lead or facilitate support groups I begin with focus on one’s breath. From my early readings of Thich Nhat Hanh and practice of observing breath, I got a glimpse of: Present Moment, Beautiful Moment. Only a glimpse here and there as my thoughts flitter by…and then being aware of and letting go of my thought I’d return to Breathing In, I breathe in. Breathing out, I breathe out.
“So I would propose a very simple practice to you, the practice of mindful breathing: "Breathing–I know that I am breathing in; breathing–I know that I am breathing out." If you do that with a little concentration, then you will be able to really be there, because in our daily life our mind and our body are rarely together. Our body might be there, but our mind is somewhere else. Maybe you are lost in regrets about the past, maybe in worries about the future, or else you are preoccupied with your plans, with anger or with jealousy. And so your mind is not really there with your body.”
“Between the mind and the body, there is something that can serve as a bridge. The moment you begin to practice mindful breathing, your body and your mind begin to come together with one another. It takes only 10 to 20 seconds to accomplish this miracle called oneness of body and mind. With mindful breathing, you can bring body and mind together in the present moment, and every one of us can do it, even a child. ”
Here are Thich Nhat Hanhs’s directions for mindful breathing:
"To practice mindful breathing, just observe the natural rhythm of the breath. Please do so without forcing it to be longer, deeper, or slower. With attention and a little time, your breath with deepen naturally on its own. Occasionally, your mind will wander off. Our practice is simply to take note of this distraction and to bring our attention gently back to our breath. If you like, you may use the sentences listed here to help you in focusing your attention. During the duration of several in and out breaths, follow your breath from beginning to end. Use the keywords at the end of each pair of sentences to help you maintain your awareness:
1. Breathing in, I am aware only of my in breath. Breathing out, I am aware only of my out breath…In, Out
You can practice mindful breathing in any situation: while sitting, lying down, standing, driving, or working. Breathing consciously will bring more awareness and concentration to whatever you are doing."
You can find a number of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books and audios here .