The BREATH Meditation
Focusing on the breath is one of the oldest and most powerful meditation practices on the planet. Your breath is always with you. It can be accessed anytime as a way to open the mind to presence and calmness.
In this meditation we will focus on the breath dancing with the nose, chest and belly.
If you value a steady, clear and focused mind, then this meditation is perfect for you!
Hope you enjoy!
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “The Be Ultimate Podcast.” Please note that this is direct from Travis speaking unscripted and unedited.]
Welcome to The BREATH Meditation.
Find a comfortable seat, relaxing your hands on your knees, or in your lap, and allowing your eyes to close.
Take a deep inhale through the nose and out the mouth let it go.
In this meditation, we will use the breath as an anchor for the mind.
W.S. Merwin writes, “Little breath, breathe me gently. Row me gently for I am a river I am learning to cross.”
The power of meditation is that it returns the mind back to the present moment. This helps to dissolve stress and promote calm. It gives us an opportunity to step away from noise and negative stimulation.
The poet Rumi says, “Be still. Be quiet. Find acquaintance with silence.”
Take another deep inhale through the nose and out the mouth – release. Let it all go.
As you allow the breath to find its natural rhythm, without changing or altering the breath, just allow that innate force within you to gently move the breath rhythmically in a way that feels natural and effortless.
For the first part of the breath meditation, see if you can bring your focus and your attention to the breath as it moves in and out through your nostrils.
Can you feel that subtle wind of air coming in and exiting out?
Notice where you feel the breath touching the nose. You might feel it more towards the outer rim of the nostrils. Or you might feel it deeper back into that nasal cavity. You might also feel it moving around, sometimes feeling it in certain areas and other times feeling it in other places.
You might also notice the quality of the breath.
Does the breath feel full, rich, deep, or perhaps more subtle, more soft?
Does the breath feel like it’s moving with an even cadence, a steady rhythm or is it a little bit more variable?
As you observe the quality of the breath, try not to judge it, but to just simply observe and witness. Just continuing to allow the breath to move in its own natural way.
Can you notice the temperature of the breath? If you look closely, you might even notice how the inhales feel cool and the exhales feel a little bit more warm. What is this temperature of breath like for you?
And then for another minute or two, just continue to allow your focus to remain right there at the nostrils in the nose, knowing when you’re inhaling and being aware of when you’re exhaling.
And naturally, you may notice the mind wandering away. You may notice the mind drifting away into thoughts. Moving away from being focused on the breath. And any time that you notice the mind leaving the breath, with compassion and kindness, bring your attention back to that breath coming in and out through your nose.
Now from here, we’ll shift the attention away from the nose. And now we’ll bring the attention to the chest. As you bring your awareness to your chest, notice how the breath interacts and dances with this part of your body.
You might notice the chest floating up as you inhale and then softly gliding back down as you exhale. Notice where you feel the breath the most within your chest.
Is it in the middle, slightly above, maybe below?
Allow your attention to refine, to become more and more subtle. As you now take a few minutes to be with this breath happening right here, right now, making contact with your sternum, your chest.
And again, if that mind does drift away, simply bring the attention back to the breath coming in and out through your lungs, keeping in mind that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. The important thing is that you’re here, that you took this time out of your day. And even if you spend the whole entire meditation practice chasing after the mind, this is time well invested. Take a last couple of minutes continuing to allow the anchor of the breath in your chest to be the place where you invest your focus and your concentration.
Good. Now allow your attention to move away from your chest and shift your attention down all the way to your navel, all the way down into your belly.
And then can you feel the natural flow of breath traveling down into the belly, noticing that as you inhale, your navel expands outward?
And as you exhale, the navel contracts inward. You might even feel some movement in your lower back.
Can you be present though to the movement of air interacting with your belly? For a few minutes, just meditate. Softly concentrate on that natural rise and fall of your stomach.
Beautiful. Now see if you can bring your focus wherever you feel the breath the most, either at the nose or the chest or continuing to keep the attention right there at the navel. And for these last couple of minutes, focusing on that area.
And nice and easily, allow that connection to go. Take in several moments to just be in stillness, and sit in the echo, and the after effects of what you just did.
From here, take a deep inhale through the nose and sigh it out the mouth. Let it go.
Any time you feel yourself becoming stressed, anxious, or agitated, return your attention back to your breath and therefore back to the present moment, knowing that any time you’re present there is no stress and there is no anxiety.
This can be especially helpful when you are in transitions of life, driving in traffic, waiting at a stoplight, or standing in line at the grocery store. Allow these transitions to be an opportunity for little micro meditations of feeling the breath, knowing where you feel the breath moving into the body and returning your mind back to being present.
As you’re ready, slowly open up your eyes and enjoy the rest of your day.