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Mindfulness Breathing Meditation

If you’re keen to try a short ten-minute sitting mindfulness meditation, this one’s for you. This meditation focuses your attention on the breath and enables you to guide your way back to your breathing when your attention wanders away.

Here’s how to practice ten minutes of mindful breathing:

  1. Find a comfortable posture.

    You can be sitting up in a chair, cross-legged on the floor, or even lying down. Keep your spine straight if you can (if you can’t, choose whatever posture suits you). Close your eyes if you want to.

    This is an opportunity to be with whatever your experience is from moment to moment. This is a time for you. You don’t need to achieve anything. You don’t need to try too hard. You simply need to be with things as they are, as best you can, from moment to moment. Relax any obvious physical tensions if you can.

  2. Become aware of the sensations of breathing.

    Feel your breath going in and out of your nostrils, or passing through the back of your throat, or feel your chest or belly rising and falling. As soon as you’ve found a place where you can feel your breath comfortably, endeavor to keep your attention there.

    Before long, your mind may take you away into thoughts, ideas, dreams, fantasies and plans. That’s perfectly normal and absolutely fine. Just as soon as you notice that it’s happened, gently guide your attention back to your breath.

    Try not to criticize yourself each time your mind wanders away. Understand that it’s all part of the meditation process. If you find yourself criticizing or getting frustrated, try gently smiling when you see that your mind has wandered away. Then guide your attention back to your breath.

  3. Continue to stay with the meditation, without trying to change the depth or speed of your breathing.

  4. After ten minutes, gently open your eyes.

You can be flexible and reduce or increase the time you meditate depending on your circumstances. Decide how long you’re going to practice meditating before each sitting, and then stick to your decision. You can use an alarm with a gentle ring, or perhaps a countdown timer to indicate when you’ve finished. This avoids having to check that you need to bring the meditation to a close.

If that was one of the first times you’ve practiced meditation, you’re starting a journey. The meditation may have felt fine or awful. That doesn’t matter too much. What matters is your willingness to accept whatever arises, and keep practicing. Starting meditation is a bit like going to the gym for the first time in months – the experience can be unpleasant to begin with!

Keep practicing and try not to judge it as a good or bad meditation – there’s no such thing. And remember, there’s nothing to be frightened about in meditation either – if you feel too uncomfortable, you can simply open your eyes and stop the meditation.

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