Too many of us mistakenly believe that meditation requires training under a guru in order to become “good” at it. But in fact, simply learning a few breathing meditation techniques can immediately make you feel better when that panicked feeling starts, or when you need to feel more energized. Longer-term, practicing controlled breathing regularly can yield specific health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, better sleep and a less severe reaction to stressful situations.
How To Do Meditation Through Breathing Techniques
Beginner Breathing Meditation Techniques
1. Bellows Breath
This breath meditation for beginners can perk you up when you start to lag during the day and is one of the easier controlled breathing methods to master. The trick is to keep your mouth closed and only breathe in through your nose.
Start by breathing in rapidly three times, then breathing out rapidly three times — all through your nose. Take one slower breath, then do another of the rapid three inhales, three exhales. (If it helps, think 1-2-3, 1-2-3, regular breath, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, regular breath — and so on.) In the beginning, just do about three of these cycles. Ultimately, you can increase the pattern until you’ve done the bellows breath method for one full minute.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
As the name of this breathing meditation technique implies, you’ll be doing both breath and bodywork with this exercise, but it’s easy enough for a beginner to do.
Start by breathing in through your nose while counting to five and tensing the muscles in your feet, then release your foot muscles while exhaling for a count of five. Move on to calf muscles, thigh muscles, butt muscles, core muscles, chest muscles, and arm muscles, while finishing with hand, neck and eye muscles. With each new group of muscles that work, inhale for a five-count as you tense that muscle group, and exhale for s five-count as you release that muscle group.
Intermediate Breathing Meditation Techniques
1. Alternate Nostril
Every emotion is connected with the breath. If you change the breath, change the rhythm, you can change the emotion. ― Sri Sri Ravi Shankar . . . #srisriravishankar #nadishodhana #alternatenostrilbreathing #meditation #breath #breathe #tenerife #ocean #balancingthenadis #mudra #nature #grafiti #peace . . photo cred: @zac.imhoof
The alternate nostril breathing meditation technique is excellent for soothing an overly excited mind, while also energizing your body. Start by bringing your right hand to your nose, closing your right nostril with your thumb.
Breathe in through the left nostril, then close the left nostril with one of your fingers from the same (right) hand. Remove your thumb from your right nostril, and exhale. Next, keep your thumbs and fingers in the same position, but switch so that you are breathing in through your right nostril and exhaling through your left. Repeat the pattern for several cycles.
2. Visualizing While Breathing
You can do this breathing meditation technique either in a special class or with a tape or video made for guided visualization. As you’re breathing deeply and regularly, picture a happy place. Your guide may describe that place to you, or ask a series of questions to help you visualize one that is unique to you.
It can take a little discipline to keep your mind in that place long enough to de-stress, but the breathing itself does not require counting or alternating anything other than inhaling with exhaling.
Advanced Breathing Meditation Techniques
1. Breath Counting
This one feels simple, but the challenge of cycling back every time you hit the fifth count is said it helps get you closer to a Zen state of mind. While sitting down, count your first exhaled breath as “one,” then inhale, count your next exhale as “two,” and so on through five. Then, begin the cycle again, counting from one to five with each exhale.
Doing this breath counting for 10 minutes is a breathing meditation technique that is simple enough to get you into a relaxed mode. At the same time, it keeps you from letting your mind wander, by forcing you to remember to restart the cycle of counting after every five exhalations.
Watch this video from Raising Self Awareness for some breathing techniques to can help you get through anxiety and stress:
Of course, there’s more to meditation than controlled breathing. Attending a meditation class or retreat can absolutely benefit those interested not just in relaxing, but for entering a higher plane of consciousness. But whether you’re learning a breathing meditation technique as a way to de-stress or as the first step of a spiritual quest, those breath work is an important part of the journey.
Have you experienced breathing meditation benefits by practicing the techniques mentioned above? Let us know how it went in the comments section below.