One of the early problem many beginners, who attempt to start meditation, face is they cannot get hold of their breath. Sometimes people are aware of this fact and other times they are not aware that they are not able to find their breath predominantly or vividly.
And because of not being able to find the breath they have no anchor for their meditation practice. They cannot focus anywhere. They are wanting to focus on the breath, but they can’t get hold of their breath.
This is very common. The reason is that we are not used to feeling our breath all the time. Breathing is an involuntary action. It is supposed to happen automatically, on its own without any intervention.
That is why we usually do not Sainsologi have to bother about our breath. And that is the reason we haven’t paid attention to our breath. We haven’t tried to feel it intentionally in the past.
Though we are not completely oblivious of our breath. Many times we sigh and sighing is usually associated with the exhalation. Sighing usually accompanies a conspicuous exhalation.
And we have heard from others, time and now, that you should take a deep breath to relax. You have attempted to take a few deep breaths, we all have. And when you took a few deep breaths you felt our breath. It is not that we completely do not know about our breath.
We have practiced feeling breath once in a while. But usually rarely. Because of which we don’t have that much familiarity. Breathing is taken for granted. We don’t have to worry about it. It just goes on and keeps working on its own. Just like the heart. Your heart keeps beating involuntarily.
Before you start meditating it may help to start with breathing training. People who have done breathing yoga exercise, find it easier to get hold of the breath. Because they often feel their breath and can recognize it easily.
When you start the meditation practice, usually people begin with breath as the anchor, the object of meditation. You try to hold your attention on the breath. That is the only function you are allowed to perform.
And if you can’t feel breath, you will have a tough time finding and keeping it around. If you are struggling to find the breath while meditating, doing two things at a time will be very difficult. You may be lost in finding the breath and you won’t be able to hold your attention your breath.
Hence, I suggest that before you start meditating, do some breath familiarizing. If your goal is to practice meditation for three minutes, spend a minute trying to familiarize the breath. During this stage you just try to breathe a little more deeply. Just a little bit, you don’t have to push it a lot.
When you breathe deeply, it is easier to recognize it. When you breath deeply it becomes more intestine and when it becomes more intense you can feel it more easily. You can feel it or you can hear it. It becomes easy to recognize.
Your practice can follow the breath exercise. Or you may just completely focus on deep breathing only for some time. Spend a few minutes every day just to familiarize the breath. All you do is take deep breaths with slow and deep inhalation and slow exhalation. The slow exhalation that is commensurate with the slow inhalation. You do this with the objective to familiarize yourself with the breath.
You continue to do this for a few days. It won’t take more than a few days before you realize that you are able to feel your natural breath. After a session of deep breathing, just go back to natural breath without any effort and see if you feel it.
You can try to feel it at the tip of your nostril or the back of the throat, the chest or the belly. Or maybe you can feel the whole breath. You may begin to hear it effortlessly as well. You now know where it is. This will help you with focusing on the real part of the meditation, which is maintaining the focus on the breath.
This may raise some objections for you. You may have heard that when you meditate, you should not try to change your breath or manipulate your breath in any way. You just let your breath be natural. Because when you try to change or force something that is otherwise natural, you will have to struggle for that. This struggle would become the distraction. You won’t be able to concentrate on the objective of the meditation.
I am advising you that you should take deep breaths when you are learning to feel your breath. It should not be that difficult to understand that why I am suggesting to first breath deep. You do only when you are not able to find your breath. The suggestion is not to continue to breath deeply while you are meditating.
When you can’t find your breath, there is no point in doing meditation. If you can’t find the object of your attention, where do you pay attention? In that sense, it will help you if you try to familiarize yourself with your breath.
As suggested it is possible to just do breath familiarization practice for a few days. It is preferable to spend a few minutes familiarizing the breath and then trying to spend the next few minutes doing real mediation with the natural breath. The hope is that the familiarization process has sensitized you to feel your breath better and you can maintain natural breathing during the actual meditation.
It is somewhat like tuning a musical instrument. You tune to set the correct pitch and then you start playing. Similarly, you find out where and how your breath feels and then you start resting your attention on your breath.
If you are having really hard time finding out your breath there is a very simple technique you can use. If you have ear plugs around, just put them on. Ear plugs will short-circuit a path between physical sensations of breath and the sensory circuits of your ears. You will immediately notice the difference. Once you close your eyes with ear plugs on you can definitely hear your breath effortlessly.
Alternatively, you can put headphones on as well. Some people report they work better than the ear plugs. Also, if you need to, you can keep the ear plugs on during real meditation practice. Just be aware that you will not be able to hear other sounds because of the plugs. Also, it is not recommended to form the habit of using ear plugs for meditation. But definitely use them as a crutch during the first phase of your practice.
One last topic to discuss is the correct type of breathing. People often ask whether one should breathe from the chest or the belly. In general it is better to breathe from the belly. Not only for meditation, but even otherwise. But it is not a must. Most of us are not used to breathing from the belly. We rather breath from the chest.
We will explore this topic at length in a separate article.
In summary, you should first familiarize with the breath before you embark on breathing meditation. You may have to spend some time familiarizing with breath. There are few techniques, like deep breathing or using headphones or ear plugs, that can help you. And while you meditate, it is important that you keep breathing naturally.
Rene Doumal is a writer with expertise in mindfulness and meditation. You can check out his latest website How to Reap Miraculous Meditation Benefits [http://www.meditationbenefits.org//], where he provides details, guided meditations and step by step advice about how to learn meditation, how to cultivate mindfulness and how to reduce stress, anxiety, worry, depression and promote better health and well being.