Mindful breathing is a form of mindfulness meditation that, when practiced regularly and with focus, can be a way to build resilience to anxiety, stress and even anger. It's easy to get started!
Tip: Diffuse frankincense during your breathing practice. Frankincense is a great oil to incorporate into your practice for the health of your mind, body and spirit. The oil offers a very cleansing and meditative aroma, and is very grounding.
Why Mindful Breathing?
As we mentioned above, regular practice of mindful breathing can help to reduce overall stress in your day-to-day. But, long-term practice has been shown to result in a greater ability to focus on and live in the present, less worrying, greater emotional balance, and even a generally calmer state of mind.
How Much Time Does It Take?
You can start with just 5 minutes per day, but studies have shown mindful breathing to be most effective when practiced for a minimum of 15 minutes per day. The more you do it, the better you'll get, and the more you'll enjoy and look forward to your sessions!
How To Start...
Find a quiet spot to sit down in a comfortable position; cross legged on the floor is a popular position for mindful breathing, as it promotes a straighter back and spine. Your eyes can be open or closed – whatever feels most comfortable to you. Many people do find it easier to maintain focus when their eyes are closed during mindful breathing.
Set your intention to focus on your breathing. This may be tough when you are just starting out, but try not to become frustrated! Mindful breathing takes practice, and you'll see growth and improvement with each session.
Begin by taking several long slow deep breaths, breathing in fully and exhaling fully each time. Breathe in through your nose and then out through either your nose or mouth. Allow your breath to find its own natural rhythm. Bring your full attention to noticing each in-breath as it enters through your nostrils, travels down through your lungs causing your belly to expand. Then, be mindful of each out-breath as your belly contracts and air moves backup through the body and out the nostrils or mouth. Try and focus only on the flow of your breathing.
It's normal for your mind to wander; simply acknowledge your thoughts, but continue to gently bring your mind back to your breathing.
Tip! Try to see your mindful breathing practices as individual experiences without judging yourself. There is no such thing as “doing it wrong.”
After 5-15 minutes (or however long you enjoy mindful breathing for) gently open your eyes. Some people prefer to set a timer, while others find the ring of an alarm too jarring when coming out of a meditative state.
Tip! Use a refreshing essential oil to help bring you back from a mindful breathing session. Add a drop of lemon, peppermint or sweet orange to your cupped palms and breathe deeply to awaken and refresh the senses.
During this time when your practice is coming to an end, gently allow your attention to widen and take notice of your entire body – try to be aware of every part of your being and your surroundings.