1. Focus on your out-breath
As you breathe, give your main attention to your out-breath. Sometimes it feels as though the breath is going right down through your feet and into the floor. The out-breath tends to be particularly calming.
2. Find your anchor point
This is the point at which you are most aware of your breathing – typically your nostrils, chest, tummy, throat. Bringing your attention to the anchor point can return you to mindfulness straight away. If you don’t have a particular anchor point, you can establish one by, for instance, focusing for a while on the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose.
3. Count each cycle of breathing
Count your first in-breath and out-breath as one, the next as two, the next as three and so on up to seven. When you get to seven return to one again. If you become distracted and lose your place, return to one and start again.
4. Observe without managing
Observe your breathing without trying to change it in any way. This is actually almost impossible to do but making the attempt means you really have to pay attention.
Imagine you’re standing on a beach in your bare feet. The water is coming in very slowly, touching your toes, and then going out slowly again. Try to match the water coming in with your in-breath, then a pause, then the water going out with your out-breath.
6. Cool in, warm out
As you breathe, notice that the air is cooler as you breathe than when you breathe out. Keep returning your attention to this change in temperature.
7. 5/7 breathing
Make each in-breath last for a count of 5 and each out-breath for a count of seven. A variation is to breathe in to a count of 7 and out to a count of 11. If you find that too much, use 5/7 instead.
This post was published on 11th January 2015 and updated on 25th February 2020.
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