Following Your Breath Mindfully

Abdominal Breathing

When first learning mindfulness meditation, it's important to ensure that you're breathing from your abdomen and to get some practice following your breath. Please watch the video below that describes abdominal breathing.

Following Your Breath

It can take a while until you're able to maintain your attention on your breathing for any length of time. Here are some practices that can help you train your mind to stay focused on your breath.

Counting Your Breaths: Counting your breaths from one to ten. At first you can count “one” on the inhale, then “two” on the exhale. Once you’re able to make it to ten without losing track, then count one number per inhale/exhale cycle, counting on each inhale. If you continue for longer than ten breaths, once  your count gets to ten, start over again at one. If you lose track, don’t worry about where you were, just start over again at one.

 

Measuring Your Breaths: Each time you take a breath, measuring its length by silently counting to yourself:

In ... two ... three ... (four) ...  (five)
Out ... two ... three ... (four) ...  (five)

 

Don’t force your breaths to be a certain length. Just breath naturally, measuring your breaths, however long they take. You may count to five or six, or maybe only to three. As you do this exercise, you may find your breaths naturally become longer.

 

Breathing In, Breathing Out: Following your breath by silently repeating to yourself the phrase:

Breathing in I feel calm,
Breathing out I relax.

You can also shorten the phrases to “In, Calm.... Out, Relax,” or silently say one word on each breath, such as Calm ... Relax,” or simply “In ... Out.”