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Watch your breath
May 25, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Watch your breath
Chitra Jha
 
Meditation is no rocket science. Simple meditation techniques can be practiced everyday without any guidance. Like a sentry at a gate watches each person who enters or exits that gate, keep watching each breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils.
 
Of late, meditation has become the latest panacea for all ills. However, there are so many different types of meditational practices that a new aspirant becomes confused. Let me share a simple, personal meditation practice that can be done easily without any elaborate preparation or instruction. This practice involves simply watching your breath. Yes, it is that simple!
Dress in loose comfortable clothes, choose a quiet corner and sit in 'sukh-asana' or a comfortable posture. It may be a sitting, supine, kneeling, reclining or standing posture. You may sit on the floor, on a chair or on a stool. You may lie down on the floor or on a cot.
 
Whichever posture is the most comfortable for you is the right posture for you. However, most practitioners prefer to sit cross-legged, on the floor, with their feet tucked underneath their body, and the back held upright.
 
The seated posture is the most suitable posture for a beginner, as lying down might make you doze off . If you choose to sit on the floor, choose level, even ground. Sit on a cushion if the ground is uncomfortable. If you like to sit in a chair, choose a straight-backed, firm chair. It is preferable to sit without leaning back against a wall or against the back of the chair, but if you need that support, it's alright.
 
The idea is to become as comfortable as possible, because you will be able to enjoy meditation only when your mind is free from the self-inflicted pain in your legs and your hips. A good posture creates the least number of pressure points in the body. Once you're in a comfortable posture, join and clasp your hands together and gently place them on your lap. Now just observe your breath; ensuring you breathe through your nose and keeping your mouth closed. If, for some reason, it is difficult for you to breathe through your nose, you may observe the rise and fall of your abdomen.
 
Simply observe your in-breath and outbreath. If the breath is long, notice that it is long. If the breath is short, notice that. Don't try to change the pattern of your breathing. Just breathe naturally, in full awareness. During inhalation, observe the breath entering your nose and exerting pressure on your nostrils. During exhalation you may feel the breath blowing on your upper lip.
 
With awareness, observe the beginning, the middle and the end of these two functions of breathing-in and breathing-out. Just like the zoom lens of a camera narrows its focus on a selected field, you narrow your focus on your breath. Like a sentry at a gate watches each person who enters or exits that gate, keep watching each breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. Breathe in mindfully and breathe out mindfully, keeping the awareness as steady and consistent as possible.
 
As you maintain this mindfulness, your breath becomes more and more subtle and tranquil. And along with your breath, your mind too becomes silent, empty and tranquil. This is the no-mind state of one pointed attention. When you focus upon this inner silence, meditation happens. Meditation is this inward journey to your soul, unto yourself. Sit in this inner silence for as long as you enjoy the process. Even five minutes at a time will work wonders for your peace of mind. Isn't it as simple as it can get?

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