The mind commands the body and the body obeys. The mind commands itself and finds resistance. —Saint Augustine (354-430)
We spend years training our body to do what we want it to. We learn to crawl, then to walk, then to run. We learn sports, or climbing skills, or tai chi, or many other physical skills. It’s not necessarily easy, but we put in the effort because we see the value in it.
Somehow, we never are taught to train our minds in the same way. Breath counting meditation is one way to develop focus. It’s not easy. Our mind resists and wanders all over the place like a monkey jumping from one limb to another in a tree. The counting helps us focus.
In general, quick inhalations and long slow exhalations are very relaxing. Combine them with a long hold after exhaling for an even more relaxing meditation. Moderate inhales and exhales are balanced and energizing. Inhales with a long hold are energizing.
For example, inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 1, exhale for a count of 8, and hold for a count of 4. This is relaxing.
Inhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 6, and hold for a count of 1. This is energizing.
Inhale hold exhale hold effect
4 1 8 4 relaxing
6 2 6 2 balanced
6 4 6 2 energizing
Depending on the type of meditation that you want to do, you can vary your breathing to get the desired effect.
© 2010 Eric Borreson