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Ten Steps for Awareness of Breathing Practice

September 20, 2022

A person typically takes around 22,000 breaths per day. So, bringing your attention to this occurrence for a few minutes daily can provide many health benefits. Furthermore, pausing for a short breathing break is a great way to enjoy a quick refresher during a hectic day.

Conscious breathing or ‘breath awareness’ means paying attention to your breath instead of trying to control or change it.

Man breathing in nature

Conscious breathing or ‘breath awareness’ means paying attention to your breath instead of trying to control or change it.

Follow these ten steps to bring awareness of breathing into your daily life:

  1. You can practice mindful awareness of your breathing in any situation, in any posture, in a still body, or in a moving one.
  2. You can practice with your eyes closed or open. Closing your eyes can help reduce distractions and make focusing easier. If you open your eyes, let your gaze be soft, not focusing on anything you see.
  3. Remember, you do not have to make anything happen. You can trust that you already have all you need to be present and aware.
  4. Begin by finding a comfortable position and gently noticing how your body feels.
  5. Now, softly bring your attention to the place in your body where you can feel the sensations of your breath as it flows in and out. Your focus could be on your mouth, chest, abdomen, or even the tip of your nose.
  6. Let your focus be on the direct, changing sensations of the breath. Let your body continue to breathe naturally. There is no need to control the breath in any way. This is an awareness practice, not a breathing exercise.
  7. As your attention steadies and awareness becomes more sensitive, look closely at the changing and varied breath sensations. Notice the rising and falling of the abdomen or chest. Notice the coolness of the in-breath and the warmth of the out-breath. Notice qualities of the breath, such as how long it is, how deep it is and how rough or smooth. You may also begin to notice the space between the breaths. Let your noticing include the sensations and the spaces before and after them.
    Know that you have not made a mistake when your mind moves to something else—perhaps a noise, a thought, another sensation. It is just what the mind does. Acknowledge that your mind moved and patiently and kindly bring your attention back to a primary focus on the breath sensations.
  8. Relax and let the next breath come to you. There is no need to fight thoughts or other experiences, and you do not need to follow them. When you practice with your attention on your breath, you can allow yourself to relax so that you can begin to drop into a place deeper than your personality, deeper than your identity, deeper than your story. Stay present at this moment, aware, and resting in the very nature of your being.
  9. Continue practicing for as long as you like. Let attention on the breath sensations steady and hold you at this moment. Practice kindness and patience for all of the movements of your mind. Recognizing, sensing that you are already whole and present, that there is nothing more you have to do and nowhere else to go.
  10. End your practice by shifting your focus back to your surroundings, opening your eyes, and moving gently, if you like.

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