Mindfulness of the Breath

Mindfulness meditation that uses the breath as the focus of attention is a foundation of meditation practice.  The breath is always with us and is always available.  It is an anchor you may return to at any time and in any place.

Begin by setting a timer for 10 minutes, increasing this over time until you are meditating for 20 - 45 minutes.  Sit with your back straight but not rigid and your chin parallel with the ground, as though there's a string pulling you gently up from the top of your head.  You may close our eyes, or if that's not comfortable, you may keep your eyes open and maintain a soft gaze at the floor a couple of feet in front of you.

Exhale as if you are blowing out birthday candles and then take a few deep breaths, exhaling each breath fully.  Notice where the breath is most prominent for you; in the space between your upper lip and nose, inside the nostrils, in the rising and falling of your chest, or in the rising and falling of your belly.  Wherever you feel the breath most strongly, continue to use that same location as the focus of your awareness throughout this meditation.

The intention is to experience each breath as a unique event that will never happen again.  Experiencing the in-breath, the pause before the out-breath, the out-breath, and the pause between breaths.  The sensations are subtle, to be sure, but they are there and each one is unique. 

When you hear the timer signal the end of the meditation session, slowly feel the sensations of our body against the chair, and when you are ready, you may open your eyes.