As you read this article, you are breathing. Without a thought, you are expanding your rib cage, letting in a full breath of air, filtering the air and delivering oxygen to your cells. Incredible, isn’t it? And yet most of us almost never think about our breath, even though it is an integral part of being human.
In fact, taking time to carefully think and contemplate things is a dying art. With constant demands on our time – kids, work, social life – it can seem impossible to just sit down and do ‘nothing’ but think. Any free moment afforded to us is all too often surrendered to a leisure activity, such as watching TV, reading a book, or hanging out with friends. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s just that your mind needs some leisure time too. The mind needs a chance to unwind and untangle the barrage of thoughts, emotions, and memories that echo through its cells every second.
One way to give your mind a break is to simply become aware of it and observe your thoughts from a neutral and peaceful place. This practice is called mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced with a wide array of techniques. One of the most popular and ancient techniques is that of mindful breathing. Mindful breathing combines the goal of mindfulness with your breath. By doing so, mindful breathing focuses our attention on the present, using all of your concentration on that single, unchanging object that is your breath. Even if everything is going crazy in your life, your breath is always there and steady, which makes it an ideal tool for the practice of mindfulness meditation.
In short, mindful breathing means placing all your attention on your breath. It may sound easy, but achieving full concentration on your breath takes practice. To help you along the way, Spire has created this detailed, instructive guide to help you learn and apply mindful breathing in your life.