Mindfulness Meditation Breathing Exercises

, , 100 Comments


Hi everyone, welcome to The Enthusiastic Buddhist. Today I’m going to be leading you through a simple 10 minute guided meditation on your breath. This technique is what is most commonly taught as a mindfulness breathing exercise
for those who are interested in the practice of mindfulness. In Buddhism, this breathing
meditation is usually referred to as Shamatha meditation or Calm Abiding Meditation. Because
our minds are generally so busy, we need to quieten our minds down and make them more concentrated before we can do proper insight meditation. Insight meditation is a meditation done to inquire into the true nature of ourselves and it leads to personal freedom. But in the context of practicing mindfulness, this breathing meditation is extremely helpful for strengthening our quality of mindfulness and awareness, so that we can continue to
practice mindfulness right throughout our day and derive all the great
benefits that come from practicing mindfulness. So I’ll begin the meditation by guiding you through the instructions first and helping to calm your mind. Then we’ll do two techniques on meditating on our breath. The first technique we’ll do is counting our breaths, and we’ll do this for the first five minutes. Then in the next 5 minutes you can continue the counting technique if you like, or you can drop the counting, and simply meditate on your breath. So bring yourself into a comfortable meditation posture. Make sure that your back is straight. Place your hands in the posture of
developing concentration, for instance, with your right hand on the palm of your left hand and your thumbs gently touching. Your eyes can be half open or closed, whichever is more comfortable for you. But if you find yourself getting sleepy, it might be best to have your eyes half open. So let’s start by letting all our ideas about
ourselves, our future and our past to just drop away. Bring all your attention to the
present moment, to your body and your breath. Breathing normally, just become aware of the sensation of your breath coming in and going out. Feel the coolness of the air coming into
your lungs … and then back out again. Don’t try to change your breath in any way. If your breath is short and shallow, or long and deep, just recognize that it is short and shallow, or long and deep … nothing more. There’s no need to try and change it. Now, bring your awareness to the tip of your nose or your upper lip. See if you can feel the point on the tip of your nose, or on your upper lip where the breath slightly touches as it passes, on the in and out breath. You should feel a slight sensation of the breath around your nostrils or upper lip. Where you can feel the breath passing, this is where we want to anchor our attention to. Just continue to notice the sensation here of the breath touching this spot as the air
comes in and goes out. If you have any trouble breathing through your nose, then it’s okay to breathe through your mouth. So, without following your breath all the way into your body, just focus all your attention on this spot on the tip of your nose or on your top lip where you can feel your breath
touching. Just like a man standing guard at a gate, place all your attention on where
you feel the breath, without moving from that spot. This is the spot which you want to return
to, to bring your mind back to, time and time again, whenever it is distracted by thoughts
or some noise outside. Now to practice the technique of counting
your breath, each time you breathe in and out, and you feel the breath touching that
point, you count it as one. So for the first inhalation, as you notice
the sensation of your breath, on the tip of your nose or lip, just count it as one. Then as you exhale and feel the sensation
of the breath, count it as two. Then the next inhalation three, and exhalation, four. Just keep counting your inhalation and exhalations until you reach ten. And then begin again at one. It’s not a competition to get to ten, don’t feel pressured or in a rush to reach ten. Just breathe at your usual pace. Counting is simply a tool to increase your concentration. If you get distracted by thoughts at any time, just gently come back to your breath without mentally punishing yourself. Be happy instead you found your breath again. So for the next five minutes continue the technique of counting your breaths in your own time. Now if you want to, you can continue the same counting technique, or if you are feeling more concentrated and confident, then you
can drop the counting and instead place all your concentration on the spot, either on
your nose or your lip, where you can feel the breath. Just make sure you keep paying attention to that spot for the whole of the inhalation and the whole of the exhalation. Try to not let your mind wander. Say to your mind that your breath is the most fascinating of all things at this present moment, so it deserves your complete attention. But if your mind starts to wander again, just gently bring it back to your breath. So being fully aware of your breath on the tip of our nose or lip, continue meditating for another five minutes. So that concludes our 10 minute meditation. I hope it brought you some peace and some clarity of mind. Don’t be discouraged
if you had lots of thoughts during the meditation. If you only had two mindful breaths, then
congratulate yourself for making some progress. There is no such thing as a bad meditation,
as long as you’re trying. Now, if you can practice this meditation on your own for just
10 minutes a day, I guarantee you will notice a difference in how you see the world and
how you behave in the world. This technique is beautiful because of its simplicity and
effectiveness. And since the breath is something we take wherever we go, we can practice
this meditation no matter what we’re doing. So if we’re standing in line at the shops,
or doing the housework, or about to get into an argument with someone, then just try to remember to come back to your breath and do this meditation. Being mindful of our breath will lead to greater
mindfulness in general which will enhance many aspects of our life. It gives us the
freedom to choose how to participate in life so we don’t remain the victim of our negative habits of body, speech and mind. You can read more about mindfulness on my
website: enthusiasticbuddhist.com. I’ve been writing a few articles recently on the
benefits of practicing mindfulness. I’ll put links to those articles below in the info
box. In the near future I’ll be doing some meditations on loving kindness and compassion,
so make sure you subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss these videos. It would be great if you could like and share this video if you found it helpful. And let me know in the comments
below if you enjoyed the counting technique, or if you preferred the second technique where we simply watched and meditated on our breath. There’s actually a few variations other than counting that we can
use to increase our concentration. I’ll write more about these variations on my website. So take care everyone and I hope to see you in the next video!

 

100 Responses

  1. Rachel Apple

    January 30, 2015 10:02 pm

    I suffer with anxiety and was worried I wasn't going to sleep one night, so I came across this video, gave it a go and I got a good night's rest and felt much calmer! 🙂

    Reply
  2. e2e4au

    February 3, 2015 9:54 pm

    I liked the counting technique as it helps focus my mind on both the counting of my breath and my breath itself and gives me something to bring my mind back to when I realise it has wondered off – it does that often 😀

    Thanks !

    Reply
  3. James Duncan

    February 10, 2015 12:38 am

    This one is great for mindfulness meditation, a little instruction, then practise along with Mindah. This is the best one for me personally. Thank you, Mindah!

    Reply
  4. James Duncan

    February 10, 2015 4:08 pm

    I need to practise mindfulness. At work there are quite a few challenging characters and the news and state of world depresses me. This is the only way I can feel really positive and avoid negative reactions.

    Reply
  5. RanD0mCity

    February 20, 2015 3:54 am

    You taught me how to meditate. You did that. Yes, you! 

    I've been trying to meditate since I was young and have always suffered from uncontrollable thought syndrome and in all honesty I stumbled upon this video and thought I was going to laugh. It's not that I didn't take meditation seriously, it just never worked for me until watching this. I never truly understood emptying the mind and I didn't enjoy the concept of focusing on nothing. You told me to focus on my breath and you gave me a particular point to focus on, my nose and the tip of my lips. This really helped. Thank You. I'm trying to get 10 minutes in a day and will work myself to an hour. I can't wait to see how my thoughts improve; enabling me to experience a richer more substantial life. 

    Reply
  6. Jacek Z

    February 21, 2015 4:56 pm

    What to do if i always almost fall asleep when i try to meditate. It tends to happen even if i sit with eyes half open and my spine straight.

    Reply
  7. David K

    February 22, 2015 9:05 am

    I enjoyed this meditation very much. I tried, I had tons of thoughts, but I patiently and compassionately accepted the fact that my mind is doing what it wants to do, but I have my breath that i want to concentrate on. I think the counting was a good opening fort not counting and just focusing. I look forward to integrating this meditation in to my practice.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Poly Eurasian

    March 9, 2015 2:43 am

     I had tried meditating before as a way to improve other areas of my life. A means to other ends. This time when my mind became a little more peaceful I was able to see that peace as an end in itself even though it only flickered in and out a few seconds at a time

    Reply
  9. Maita Santiago

    March 17, 2015 11:04 pm

    My brother suggested for me to do Mindfulness meditation to help with my anxiety and overall mental health.  I am glad I saw this video as it always helps me calm down and focus.  I do it when I wake up, in the middle of the day and sometimes at night. Every time I meditate, I feel more healthy, calm and happy. Thank you for making a very calming and effective video. 

    Reply
  10. sabran suleman

    March 18, 2015 12:58 pm

    Thank you very much for this video, I feel so calm after I did the Meditation.My gratitude to you for your teaching of this and there is something about the whole of your presentation that has some greater energy that I have felt from it personally. Thank you and bless you. >3 

    Reply
  11. Hanno the Phoenician

    March 31, 2015 6:17 am

    This was difficult at first, but within maybe 10 minutes I was very focused and relaxed, a real physical sensation of this. I'm saving this to my account. 

    Reply
  12. Dominic Archibald

    April 3, 2015 1:44 am

    The counting worked well for me. I like the simplicity of this meditation. Thank you Mindah for uploading this vid.

    Reply
  13. Toni Teague Bell

    April 4, 2015 7:32 am

    I found this video as a result of some career coaching encouraging me to use the Internet to help me access meditation tools. At least twice per week use this particular video to help me meditate.  Thank you for having the heart and tenacity to share this practice with the world.  Your story is inspiring.  Your methods are incredibly helpful.  Bless you!

    Reply
  14. Ron Young

    April 14, 2015 8:22 am

    Hi Mindah-Lee

    I am Cambridge UK based, but today I find myself in Moscow,
    as I travel the world frequently.

    Looking out from my hotel to the city skyline this morning, I did
    a Mindfulness Meditation using your video to guide me.
    It was extremely peaceful, and on completing it, I saw from my window the Red Square, the Kremlin, and the city business district in fresh, exciting, new, more mindful ways.

    Thank you. I am even more positive for the day.

    Ron Young

    Reply
  15. Adhi S

    May 11, 2015 9:34 pm

    Oh dear I've been doing the counting-method wrongly. I used to count from 1 till about 50 but I realised that my concentration always falters. Your method really helps to keep my mind in concentration! Thank you for the video! 🙂

    Reply
  16. Carl Gandeborn

    June 8, 2015 2:13 pm

    Hi Mindah Lee, 
    Many thanks for your excellent set of videos. I enjoy them tremendously.

    On your comment/request to know which of the two techniques is preferred, I find both suitable. If my mind is very active and difficult to quite down, then the counting helps. Otherwise I use solely breathing, as it is a way to calm the mind and know that the mind is calm[er]

    Keep it up 🙂
    Carl

    Reply
  17. Rahul C R

    June 16, 2015 5:57 am

    I like your video. A product I also found helpfull for mindfulness meditation techniques
      was Skyarza Meditation Success Star – it should be on google if you need it

    Reply
  18. Jacob Chadwick

    July 1, 2015 7:27 pm

    I have heard from other teachers that during meditation we eventually need to let go of the feeling experienced, such as joy. This is causing me to experience confusion. During my mindfulness practice, I will be focusing on the breath, this will cause feelings of peace and joy, I then recognize them, let them go, and return to the breath. This in turn causes feelings of great anxiety, even elevated pulse. I then let these feelings go, and return to the breath. This casuals feelings of peace and joy. When I let go of these, anxiety returns, and so on. I am confused on how to neither experience joy nor pain? How do I get past this issue?

    Reply
  19. Sophie AMAT

    July 1, 2015 10:54 pm

    Enjoyed your meditation technique. I used my meditation mantra however. The benefits were exactly the same … peaceful & calming. Waking up to a quieter mind is bliss!

    Reply
  20. Keith B

    July 9, 2015 2:42 am

    Quick guided-meditation. Great tool to build concentration–I use the counting technique for just that.

    Reply
  21. steve

    August 10, 2015 5:01 pm

    I have some anxiety, and I always seem to hyperventilate when trying to meditate, makes me extremely dizzy, I can't be aware of my breathing without controlling it, any tips??

    Reply
  22. J. T.

    August 16, 2015 11:04 pm

    There are some times when I can focus on my breath for a decent amount of time, and others where I can't sit still and focus enough to get into it. Is that normal?

    Also, when I focus on my breathing, what should I be 'feeling'? I understand the need for an anchor, but it feels very mechanical and devoid of feelings or emotion. I'm not sure if that made sense. Essentially, I wanted to try meditation to help quell anxiety and anxious thoughts – am I expecting too much too soon? 

    Thanks for your videos! They're very peaceful!

    Reply
  23. alonzo2k

    October 27, 2015 9:54 pm

    Hello, I'm new to mediation, I really like this simple technique, but also challenging my mind would wonder its not as easy but I would catch myself. How many times a day and at what time would you recommend doing this?

    Reply
  24. John Malone

    November 8, 2015 10:06 pm

    Excellent, some help (a pep talk!) then silence (ie not guided) is exactly what I wanted. Thanks, will check out your other stuff.

    Reply
  25. yogamantra

    December 14, 2015 8:12 pm

    I really appreciate this meditation lesson, for myself easily the best example on line of how to practise a simple breathing exercise, no fuss, no music just quite solitude. I find the breathing exercise done with the video is working out really well. So thank you I will continue to follow your videos, and learn a little at a time.

    Reply
  26. julian chan

    February 19, 2016 5:55 pm

    Mate have you stopped making new materials? I really love your videos and I feel really grateful that I've come across your exercises. Hope to see more cool stuff soon!

    Reply
  27. Siena

    April 6, 2016 6:53 pm

    I know this is a year old but I just stumbled on this. I've been trying to find a technique that helps me with meditation ( before it just felt like I was closing my eyes) This have helped me a lot. Whenever I'm done,i feel a little disoriented like it takes me a little to start back thinking,moving. Does this mean I'm going deeper into meditation? Or am I doing it wrong haha

    Reply
  28. Ken Adamson

    May 5, 2016 4:33 pm

    Hi Mindy, How can I overcome distracting thoughts while meditating and procrastination when preparing to begin?  I can even screw up the counting method!

    Reply
  29. Giancarlo Bucchi

    June 8, 2016 8:54 pm

    Thank you so much for your videos, they have helped me so much, I can't put it into words.

    Reply
  30. diana pustina

    August 6, 2016 9:08 pm

    I liked this exercise very helpful in having mindfulness i find both the counting and the second technique work well together

    Reply
  31. simon redfern

    September 12, 2016 9:25 pm

    This is a very helpful and skillful video, you clearly explain and then leave a silence to practice. Many years ago this was the first meditation taught to me by Tibetan Buddhist and started me on my journey. I now practice abiding with the breath every day for half an hour no matter what other meditations I do and occasionally I do return to counting the breath. Such a simple practice but so many hidden depths and amazing gifts contained in this.
    I love the refreshing honesty and simplicity of your videos and when anyone asks me a good way to start practicing meditation I am recommending your channel. You are a beautiful person and I hope an inspiration to viewers and a positive force spreading dharma and meta.
    May you be happy and free from suffering.
    Namaste.

    Reply
  32. kterbo

    November 4, 2016 7:04 am

    Thank you, I was looking for a silent meditation with just a bit of guidance ! The silence is blissful xo

    Reply
  33. Lewis Haynes

    November 21, 2016 8:53 pm

    At last!Meditation without slightly daft music and tubular bells running all the way through it. Thanks:)

    Reply
  34. Rajib Sharma

    November 24, 2016 3:31 am

    counting technique is very good…i like it .. and this technique is very easy and can perform anywhere,,,

    Reply
  35. Rafael Perez

    March 24, 2017 11:39 pm

    Since I began to medditate myapproach to worrdly matters has changed dramatically. Now I feel more centered and even my health has improed. Thank you for your advise.

    Reply
  36. Elizabeth Fletcher

    April 2, 2017 2:31 pm

    after 40 years of seeking…you have brought me home to the light…method 2vis exactly right after method 1,,,bless you…and thank you…don't stop….

    Reply
  37. Love Wins

    April 2, 2017 5:21 pm

    I found the counting helped me to concentrate but with practice hope not to need it eventually. Thank you for a great video!

    Reply
  38. Deborah Randall

    April 8, 2017 2:41 am

    Very helpful. Feeling as if I have my very own teacher meditating with me. Wonderful!

    Reply
  39. Kapila Mendis

    June 14, 2017 2:45 am

    Thanks. This is great. I find both the techniques given in the video clip quite comfortable to practice. Yet, I need your help to get release from my prolong stress situations. Is there any contact of yours please possibly email.

    Reply
  40. Aideen Larkin

    July 14, 2017 4:21 pm

    Beautiful and peaceful meditation thank you so much. The counting helped me to not let my mind wander. Love and Light x

    Reply
  41. Jared Jams

    December 4, 2017 12:15 am

    One interesting thing that happens is that I sit on hard wood floor when meditating, and I don’t feel it, but once I’m done I can feel the ruff surface and kind of hurts. Like it prevents pain.

    Reply
  42. Jess

    December 29, 2017 9:29 pm

    Thank you, Mindah! You are so beautiful. Loved this meditation – you are very knowledgeable in this field. May I ask what is the flower behind you? It's nice

    Reply
  43. neha mohan

    May 23, 2018 1:06 am

    Why do I experience pain and pressure around my third eye while focussing on breathing while meditating?

    Reply
  44. Liviu Marian Istoc

    July 31, 2018 7:44 am

    I'm so happy I found you. Thank you for this and for all of your other videos, very usefull. I wish you all the best and once again, thank you so mutch, it helps me a lot! <3

    Reply
  45. john milton Flinn

    June 14, 2019 11:33 am

    I've used your video as a 10 minutes daily discipline for mindfulness and meditation. All of your videos are helpful and teach mental composure.
    Thank you for being here. You are my mental health guide and counselor.

    Reply
  46. Kokuu Andy McLellan

    June 27, 2019 11:39 am

    Hi Mindah! I have been looking for somewhere to send people for basic instruction on breath awareness meditation. This is perfect! Thank you.

    Reply

Leave a Reply