ADVANTAGES: Calming and Stress Reduction

This basic technique gets you acquainted with the respiratory system and normal breathing rhythm. This basic perception will ground the mind and body without requiring any physical activity. This technique can be performed almost anywhere and, in any position, due to its low commitment.

1. Encourage your eyes to shut and relax your whole body in a relaxed pose, such as sitting tall or lying down in Savasana (here).

2. Without attempting to regulate your breath in any way, observe the instantaneous and normal rhythm of your breath, and experience it streaming into your nostrils on both inhalation and exhalation. You will note that your breath feels colder when you inhale and warmer when you exhale. Continue for a total of 10 easy breaths.

3. Bring the mind to the back of your lungs, where you can feel the feeling of your breath moving in and out. You may notice a change in feeling between inhalation and exhalation once again. Continue for a total of 10 easy breaths.

4. Pay attention to the area below your chest and rib cage. Feel the air flowing through the trachea and through the bronchiole channels when you inhale, as the alveoli (air sacs) in your lungs inflate. On exhalation, note how the lungs contract. Continue for a total of 10 easy breaths.

5. Bring your attention to your stomach. Feel the abdomen stretch outward as the diaphragm pulls downward on the inhalation. Feel the belly relax down into the spine while the diaphragm relaxes. Continue for a total of 10 easy breaths.

6. Finally, pay attention to the whole calm breathing mechanism in order. When you inhale, first feel the air in your nostrils, then in your throat, first in your chest and rib cage, and finally in your belly. Feel the belly relax as the breath moves out of the mouth, down the throat, and out the nostrils as you exhale. Repeat for another 10 to 20 breaths.

✺ Simply put: • Inhale: Nostrils > Throat > Rib Cage > Abdomen • Exhale: Nostrils > Throat > Rib Cage > Abdomen • Exhale: Abdomen > Rib Cage > Throat > Nostrils • Inhale: Abdomen > Rib Cage > Throat > Nostrils

7. Visualize the whole body as a single unit, breathing as a single organ. Allow your eyes to open gradually.

8. Keep a journal of your experience, recording any strange feelings, development, or obstacles.

TIPS: Being current with the breath at each point can be the most difficult aspect of this technique. In each step, count the breaths backwards from ten. Set a timer to help you control your time if you're worried about falling asleep during this (or any) session.