Sunday, July 25, 2010

More on Breath Counting Meditation

In a previous essay, I described the concept of relaxing and energizing breaths. In another one, I described a simple breath counting meditation. In the breath counting meditation, you take long slow breaths and count up to 10 starting with 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale, etc. When reaching 10, start over at 1.

A variation that combines these two ideas is to count the inhale and the exhale as 1 and only count up to a smaller number, such as 3 or 4. Say the number to yourself as you finish the exhale. In other words,
inhale, exhale – 1
inhale, exhale – 2
inhale, exhale – 3
inhale, exhale – 4

After practicing this meditation for several days or weeks, modify it by counting before the breaths. In other words, say the number to yourself before you begin the inhale.
1 – inhale, exhale
2 – inhale, exhale
3 – inhale, exhale
4 – inhale, exhale

It’s a subtle difference, but it is noticeable. In the first stage, your mind links the counting with the exhale. Long slow exhales are relaxing. This emphasis tells your body to let go of tension and relax. This is a good start to a meditation to allow yourself to relax and learn to enjoy the other benefits of meditation.

In the second state, your mind links the counting with the inhale. Inhales are expanding and energizing. This emphasis tells your body to wake up and get energized. This is where you can begin to increase your awareness.

Some of this information was adapted from
http://www.wildmind.org/mindfulness

© 2010 Eric Borreson