Breathe with Mindfulness Today!

Sandi Anders, MDiv, RYT, CSC

Peace with Every Breath

One of my favorite mindfulness authors is Thich Nhat Hanh -- and my favorite book by him is Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. (You can read an extensive Book Review of this in The Guide to Self Help Books.)

Peace Is Every Step is simply written in short chapters that can be read each day as a reminder to nourish awareness and mindfulness. This book encourages me to be in touch with my breath as I go through my days, awake and alive to each moment as it is unfolding.

Practice Mindful Breathing

So, right now, as you read this, I would encourage you to become conscious of the life-sustaining presence of your breath in this moment.

Notice that you are breathing in and that you are breathing out. What does it feel like in your body to breathe in? What is the feeling of breathing out? What is the difference between the inhalation and the exhalation? Where do you notice the presence of the breath in your body? Do you feel the presence and energy of the breath in the nostrils, in the throat, in the lungs, in the belly?

Take a few moments to really feel the touch of the breath inside your body. With each outbreath, begin to relax as you let your shoulders fall away from your ears.

As you breathe in, you can mentally say to yourself, "I know that I am breathing in."

As you breathe out, say to yourself, "I know that I am breathing out."

You can shorten those phrases to "in" as you breathe in and "out" as you breathe out.

For the next few breaths, allow 95% of your awareness to remain on the physical feeling of the breath and perhaps 5% of your awareness to rest on the soft mental naming of "in" with inbreath and "out" with outbreath.

After a few breaths, what do you notice? What effect does this awareness of the breath have on you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Repeat a Healing Mantra

Now, as you breathe in, say to yourself: "May I open to the presence of calm within me."

As you breathe out, say to yourself, "May I continually dwell in the present moment with gratitude and joy."

Take several opportunities to be aware of your breath today!