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Awareness of Breathing: 6 Steps to Calm

Becoming aware of the breath is a simple, meditative exercise to establish calm breathing and inner tranquility. Awareness of breathing is an excellent, first-aid technique for navigating difficult emotional situations and for establishing a practice of mindful breathing, bringing many healthful benefits.

If you find yourself holding your breath from time to time, holding your stomach in and/or feeling stuck in stress-tension, you will find the following information valuable.

To shift from shallow, tense chest-breathing to deep, relaxed abdominal breathing takes only 6 steps, all simple and do-able at any time.

1. Sit or recline in a comfortable room with the eyes closed. Allow thoughts to become like clouds, floating on by, one by one.

2. Breathe in and out through the nostrils, allowing the abdomen to expand as you inhale and exhale.

3. Put the left hand on the upper chest area and the right hand on the abdomen, feeling the abdomen rise and fall with the breath.

4. If your mind starts to wander, simply re-focus your attention on your breath, letting the sensation of breathing fill your consciousness.

5. Practice breathing fully until slow, easy breathing comes naturally to you.

6. Practice this exercise as long as it is comfortable for you and repeat the steps daily until you feel yourself breathing naturally.

The breath is very important to our well-being. When under stress, we often breathe in a shallow manner or hold our breath, robbing our bodies of oxygen and creating more stress. Using these 6 steps, it is possible to relax the body and quiet the mind. Being aware of the breath assists us to dwell in the present moment, one breath at a time.

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