Whether it is being used to reach some greater level of spiritual peace, to relieve anxiety, or to bring the body in better tune with itself, breath meditation is proving to be an incredibly beneficial practice. The main purpose of breath meditation is to de-clutter the mind, thereby calming the mind and allowing for the development of an inner peace. However, breath meditation is also able to afford physical health benefits as deep breathing can send more energy throughout the body, helping the body to function more efficiently.
In addition to being one of the most beneficial forms of meditation for the body, breath meditation is considered to be the simplest form, allowing even novices to practice the meditation in order to achieve the desired benefit. The process of breath meditation can be summed up in three simple steps:
1. find a quiet place and select a comfortable sitting position, keeping the back straight to prevent sleepiness and allow for optimum airflow and closing the eyes either completely or partially to help reduce external distractions;
2. focus on the actual act of breathing, air moving through the nostrils, settling on the rhythm that is most soothing and comfortable for the body; and,
3. resist the temptation to allow thoughts to wander, and when they do, return the focus to breathing.
Though the process can be this simple, variations may be added according to the purpose for the meditation. For example, if one is seeking inner peace, it is recommended to adopt a mantra, most often related to one’s present desire for happiness, and to silently speak that mantra on the exhale of each breath. To reduce anxiety, it is recommended that one lengthen the exhalations and then pause after each exhalation to focus on the quiet peacefulness of that moment. And to send energy throughout the body and help to relieve pain, it is recommended to focus on the breathing in parts of the body other than the nose. Some experts recommend moving from the nose down the body to the throat, chest, and so forth while others recommend moving the focus from the nose down to the naval and then working through the core of the body before focusing on the extremities. And still others will recommend simply focusing on moving the belly area with each breath while keeping the upper body as still as possible.
Breath meditation is a practice that can be beneficial to anyone who is looking to achieve optimum health, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. While it can be used as a means to a greater spiritual experience, critics of that practice can also reap the benefits of breath meditation when used to help reduce the stress and physical pains that come with everyday life. So relax, let go the easy way, and give breath mediation a try.