This is a combination of breathing and thinking. Not a lot of thinking, mind you! Just a bit to help your breath focus in a particular way. In exchange, this exercise doesn’t require you to maintain a set rhythm or pose. The focus here is not exactly how you breathe, but why.
For this exercise, you’ll be thinking of a word or short phrase. It may be on the inhale or the exhale (or both). It may be a phrase to help you smile, relax, or focus. Whatever the word happens to be, the goal is to focus on and breathe that word. Some examples are: peace, let go, or relax. Before you start, decide on what it is you’re going to be thinking. No sense waiting till the last minute and having to figure something out!
Alternatively, if you have a particular sensation or experience you’d like to focus on, you could always choose that. You could picture each inhale bringing in love and peace. You could breathe out your tension with each exhale. You could breathe yourself deeper into relaxation – just try not to fall asleep!
Start with 5 or 10 minutes of breathing, and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Without trying to change your breath, bring your awareness to how you’re breathing. The pace, the depth, and how the air flows.
- For a few breaths, alternate between this normal breathing and deep breathing. When you breathe deeply, bring your awareness to the new sensations of deep breathing, such as how the abdomen expands.
- When you return to shallow breathing, bring your awareness to how shallow breathing moves differently from deep breathing.
- Continue to alternate between deep and shallow breathing. Bring one hand to rest on your belly. This will help draw your awareness to how the abdomen expands, and help you focus on using your diaphragm.
- Begin to sigh loudly with each exhale.
- Once you are well-settled in your breath, start bringing in the phrase that you’ve chosen. Use it on each inhale or each exhale, or on both. Alternatively, just imagine certain sensations for each part of the breath. You could picture each inhale bringing in calmness itself, and each exhale washing away the tension.
- Continue using your breath to dwell on the sensation, word, or phrase you’ve chosen. Breathe in this way for as long as you feel appropriate.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, please stay in touch!