Proper Meditation Breathing Techniques are essential to your spiritual journey. Breathing and its control can provide a self-contained rhythm to your thoughts.
This is important because I believe we all find our minds racing, in fact, there are times our brains move too fast to even use the information it is working so hard to produce.
Focusing on your breathing automatically slows down your thoughts to an easy and steady pace. It is important to look at the experience of others so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel for your meditation, but also remember to experiment on your own. Use others' ideas as starting points for your own. Here are a few wonderful breathing techniques to help you on your meditation journey.
How To Do Breathing Meditation; Numbers, Rhythm and your Breathing
Meditation practice dictates to sit yourself down for meditation, give yourself a moment to get comfortable. In fact, meditation can be done laying down as well as sitting, standing, and posing.
As you sit in a comfortable position start by counting each in-breath and out-breath up to 70. What this means is that as you inhale, take a 70% deep breath into your belly, using your diaphragm to breathe, not your chest or shoulder. (Breathing into your belly is one key to calmness as breathing into your chest and shoulders is inefficient, as most of our lungs are below the ribcage.)
- Inhale through your nose: count 1 (one)
- Hold your breath for a sec or two
- Exhale through your mouth: count 2 (two)
- Continue to 70
Your mind is focused on breathing and counting and not on scattered thoughts, it is training your brain and spirit to remain on task and with intent. If you find yourself thinking of something else bring your attention back to breathing ASAP.
Next in line is controlling the breath with intent. So this is where you control the length of each inhale and exhale, with different times providing different meditative assertions and benefits. Here you will draw in the breath and while doing so count up to 5, to start with.
You are really looking for in this exercise is controlling the rate of inhaling and exhaling. Clearly you can slow or speed up your counting to accommodate your breath. But the point is to control your breath over the span of time you are concentrating on.
Take about a 70% full breath over 5 seconds is going to a faster intake of breath then doing it over 7 seconds. Then start where you feel comfortable in the breath and then work to extend the length of the breath over the entire inhale and exhale.
5-7 seconds per inhale or exhale, that is 10-14 seconds total complete breath cycle, is a very calming pace.
Remember to keep breathing into your belly. This is called diaphragmatic breathing, as you are using your diaphragm and not shoulders or chest.
Advanced Meditation Breathing - Using the full lung
You can take the two suggestions above and tweak them in terms of time and concentration to fit your own level of awareness. After feeling comfortable spend some time doing what is considered deeper and fuller breathing, some call it yogic breathing after the spiritually enlightened yogi's in India.
Breathe into your stomach, but then continue to fill the middle and then upper regions of your lungs once the bottom portion is full. So you process the breath like you would be filling up a container full of liquid. The bottom fills first, then the middle and finally the top.
Visualize this as you breathe. When releasing the breath use the full lung to expel the air. Imagine you are pouring out a container. If you think about it the liquid is pouring out equally really from all portions of the container. Imagine this with your lungs, that you are releasing the air from the whole lung at the same time. This does not mean breath out harder or faster, just do try to empty the top portion of your lungs or the bottom.
Losing Your Breath in Meditation
During meditation, when your conscious is aware but deep you can feel as if you have stopped breathing completely. The best way to describe to those not yet having experienced it is to say that it is a stillness in being, a calm restful sensation.
You are no longer aware of your breathing, it has become another factor in your external existence, that outside of your spirit. With the word 'spirit', do not take it too literally if it throws you off, think of a spirit as another term for your energy self.
The heat, the warmth, the love that radiates off of your body... not to mention electromagnetic, infrared and other very measurable energies.
This is your true self and breathing is what keeps your physical body connected to the energy body, that is why it is the root of meditation focus. It brings you to the place where your subconscious and conscious minds meet.
Eventually, you feel complete and the breathing is no longer pushed to the foreground.