“we woud be dead if our bodies didn’t breath automatically. you just want to listen in on your breath, your body already knows how to breath perfectly.” – Jon Kabat Zinn
Breathing is the key ingredient to staying alive. If you don’t breath then you are simply not living. In meditation the concentration starts at the breath. The sensations of inhalation and exhalation is what allows you to reach inner peace during your meditation. To reach inner peace you must also have a meditation posture or else your focus is lost.
This is easier said that done. On numerous occasion I have had trouble staying focused on my breath while meditating. An occasional yawn or distraction shifts my focus. The rest of the meditation I am fighting myself to get my focus on the breath. So I have compiled a list of techniques that I have found and tried.
Samatha Meditation Technique
Samatha meditation is part of the Buddhist tradition and deals with focusing one’s mind on an object. This object could be a flame, sound or sensation.
Practicing Samatha meditation helped me snap my mind back on my breath. The object I focus my mind is the tip of my nose because that is where in-breath and out-breath take place. The tips of my nose also feels different sensations such as temperature, scent or taste. Alongside the sensation I label the inhalation and exhalation as “I am breathing in” then “I am breathing out”. The reason I label the breaths is it keeps my mind focused and away from other thoughts that might distract it.
Sit cross legged with your back straight
Close your eyes
Fix your mind on the tip of your nose
Slowly inhale and say “I am breathing in”. If you do not want to say speak out lound then just make a mental note of it.
Slowly exhale and label it “out”.
As you exhale feel the sensations in your nose. How does it feel? Can you feel the cool air caress the insides of your nose? The object in this meditation practice is your nose so that is why it is important to feel everything. It will help you stay focused on that object.
It is very important to choose a posture that is comfortable to your body. If you are sitting with your back hunched or legs asleep, the pain will take over your mental focus to meditate. Sitting in comfort will reduce any physical distractions that might plague your mind during meditation.
For comfort you can try the corpse pose, whereby you lie flat on your back and rest your arms to the side. Curl your fingers, then inhale slowly into your stomach.
Yoga: Release & Relaxation Poses : Yoga: Corpse Pose Tips
If you prefer seated meditation then you can try the lotus pose. Erect your back straight like a rock and cross your legs. You can rest your hands on the edge of your knee. Sometimes I find this posture hurts my butt, so I use a meditation cushion. This was the hardest pose for my body to adapt to because after 5 minutes my back would start hurting. I changed my meditation posture. I would lean my back erect against a wall to help support it. I did this for a couple of months to support my lotus pose.
Don’t get too comfortable with your meditation posture!
Remember that you always have to be aware and centered in meditation. If you start getting too comfortable, then you might fall asleep or loose focus of your meditation. The important thing is to meditate in a comfortable position while maintaining awareness of your body.