Of all meditation exercises the breathing meditation is the simplest. Your breath is always available! And of course, the way you’re breathing is a very accurate reflection of the state of your physiology - how relaxed or stressed you are. If your anxiety or panic attacks are associated with feelings of not being able to breathe, it’s probably best to first check out if you breathing properly. You may like to try one of the other meditation exercises initially until you are more comfortable with your breath.
Meditation is a simple and natural process – so much so that usually our biggest problems with it are about getting in our own way. So before going any further with these meditation exercises read our meditation tips on the Seven Secrets of Meditation page and meditation for anxiety.
Find a regular time to practice, twice a day if possible, for about 25 minutes in all, each session. You can start with 10 minutes and gradually lengthen the practice over time if you prefer. Try to make your meditation a priority over other activities because the benefits are really worth it.
Make sure you won’t be disturbed – take the ‘phone off the hook, turn off the mobile, put on a video for the children, feed the cat etc. Then …
Sit up with your back comfortably upright; you can use a chair if you wish, the main thing is to be comfortable but not so comfortable that you may fall asleep. Hence it is not so effective to practise meditating lying down. (For some people, using meditation exercises can be very helpful if having difficulty getting to sleep although for a few it can restore a feeling of alertness and restedness.) If sitting have both feet comfortably on the ground.
1. Close your eyes and bring your attention inwards to focus on your body.
2. Be aware of the silence in the space around you, the silence that exists beneath all sound.
3. Bring your attention to your breath.
4. Notice the feeling of the breath as it flows in and out of the nostrils.
5. Just be aware of the rise and fall of the breath. The fullness as you breathe in, the letting go as you breathe out.
6. Whenever your mind comes out into thought, as soon as you are aware of this, just very gently bring your attention back to the breath.
7. You are not trying to force thoughts away, or resist, nor for the time of the meditation are you going to let your attention be captured by pleasant thoughts or great ideas.
8. If your breath becomes very shallow and slow, don’t worry.
9. Continue in this way for up to 20 minutes.
10. At the end of 20 minutes, sit with your eyes closed for 2 more minutes or so, then very slowly open your eyes.
Sometimes during meditation exercises fatigue can be released and you may feel sleepy. If this happens it is good to lie down for a while if you can. Normally you might sleep for about10 minutes. If possible finish your meditation after your nap.
Other useful meditation exercises can be found here.
Try out our 5 minute, free relaxation recording too! Perfect for using several times a day to help unwind stress and as a short practice before you meditate.