The purpose of this exercise is simply to become mindfully aware of our breathing. It is not intended as a meditation or relaxation exercise, although that may occur naturally. Breathing is an activity which already occurs naturally for everyone who is alive. And since you are reading this we will assume you are living. Breathing is something that everyone does, always. However, most are not aware of the activity. This exercise can later be used as a tool for quickly becoming “present” and allowing you to be more keenly aware of your surroundings, thus better equipping you to handle the moment at hand.
Let us begin by finding a comfortable sitting position, either in a chair with both feet on the floor or in a seated upright position with your legs crossed, comfortably. Place your hands in a relaxed position, on your lap. Now, begin to notice your breath. Observe the inhale and exhale. Feel the coolness of your breath as it enters you nose and while keeping your mouth closed, notice the warmth of the breath as it exits your nose.
Observe the quality of your breathing…is it rapid or slow, deep or shallow? Don’t worry about making any adjustments to it. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Allow your body to do what feels natural at this moment. Become aware of how the inhale expands your diaphragm, pushing your stomach out while the exhale draws your diaphragm upward toward your lungs.
Feel the life-giving oxygen filling your lungs. See if you can notice the subtle energy (prana) traveling on the breath as it begins to spread from your lungs into your heart. Continue this process for several more breaths. See if you can now observe this life-force radiating from your heart into your bloodstream, as it brings nourishment to the rest of your body.
Practice this exercise for 5 minutes a day and slowly build from there, extending the time with each session. Use this exercise anytime you feel yourself becoming distracted, irritated or ungrounded.
Finding this moment, completely, will allow you to more richly enjoy what is happening…now.