Posted by Kat Stein on May 03, 2018
Ask yourself: “how often do I take the time to sit down and check in with myself?” If you are like most people, your answer is probably “not enough,” as it is incredibly easy to lose track of yourself amid life’s crazy obstacles. One easy way to give yourself the attention you deserve and to relax and calm the mind is meditation, and breathing is a key tool to getting to the state of self-awareness and reflection.
Meditation improves concentration, stops the mind from worrying about little things, keeps us healthier, and provides us with a better knowledge of ourselves. For mediation to be successful, most find it helpful to research different techniques, listen to guided meditations online, and practice various breathing techniques throughout the day. We’ve compiled a list of easy breathing techniques to help get you on your way to self-awareness!
Posture for Proper Breathing
First and foremost, make sure that you are comfortable. Sitting upright with a straight spine will help the energy flow and prepare you for proper breathing exercises, but don’t force your body to do anything painful or odd feeling. Feeling energized AND relaxed is key to good meditation, so make sure you are able to settle in to your position.
Relaxation of the Body
Once you have gotten into a comfortable seated position, it is important to relax your body to prepare it for breathing techniques and meditation. No matter how much you practice your breathing, if your body is tense, you will have great difficulty in quieting your mind. Begin by tensing up every muscle in your body from your toes all the way to the top of your head. Then, starting again at the toes, mindfully feel each muscle release and relax, working your way up until every muscle feels at ease. Once your body is in its relaxed position, it is time to begin your proper breathing techniques.
Pay Attention to Your Breaths
In the beginning, simply pay attention to your breaths. Be attuned to the rhythm, the inhale and exhale, and try to focus on nothing else. Do not try to control those breaths; just be aware of them. It is very important to be aware of how you are breathing in the beginning before trying to learn any new techniques. Being aware is the most important part of the process.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Once you are acutely aware of your breathing, it’s important to check in with your body. If you are not experiencing your stomach expanding and contracting with each breath, you may be tense in the moment. It is important to have your breath enter into the nostrils and leave through mouth naturally. Feel the oxygen flow through your body with each inhale, and feel the air exit with each exhale.
Establish a Rhythm
Once you become aware of your breathing and your body, you will notice that it is easier to establish a rhythm with your breaths. Once that breathing rhythm is established, you are aware of your body, and your mind is clear, you are now ready to start the flow of meditation.
If you are interested in trying a guided meditation, we recommend Headspace