What: Perhaps the most widely recognized type of meditation, breathing meditation utilizes your breath as the object of concentration.
Types: Various types of breathing meditation are practiced in Buddhism, yoga, and other spiritual traditions. It’s also practiced in the mindfulness tradition and in other secular settings.
Benefits: A 2014 study found that a 15-minute focused breathing meditation from the mindfulness tradition may improve decision-making. One review of studies on yogic breathing concluded "the research is very clear that breathing exercises (e.g. pranayama breathing) can enhance parasympathetic (inhibit neural responses) tone, decrease sympathetic (excitatory) nervous activity, improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, decrease the effects of stress, and improve physical and mental health."
Keywords: calming, soothing, grounding
Try this: In the book Breath By Breath, Insight Meditation teacher Larry Rosenberg suggests following the Buddha’s instructions in a sacred text called the Anapanasati Sutra. First, find a quiet place free of distractions, either outdoors or in a quiet building. Sit cross-legged with your eyes closed and the spine naturally erect. “Always mindful,” the Buddha writes, “the meditator breathes in. Mindful, the meditator breathes out.” Just focus on each inhale and exhale, beginning with a few minutes and gradually increasing your practice time. Soon, you’ll be able to do breathing meditation anytime—while you’re walking to work, sitting at your desk, or cooking at the stove.
Try this breathing meditation from Kim Eng.
Or, try this breathing meditation from Be Here Now author, Ram Dass.
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies