Anapana Sati (Mindfulness of breathing)
In this practice you just observe the natural breath without trying to control it.
Through Anapasati practice, we become intimate with our breath, learning to recognise its patterns and observing how it affects both body and mind.
Sit quietly in a stable and comfortable posture. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath.
For beginners, the best way to do this is to watch the movements of the chest and the abdomen with each inhalation and exhalation. Do not try to change the breath, just notice the changing bodily sensations as the breath flows in and out of the lungs.
If your concentration is good, you can also place your attention at the entrance of the nostrils, see what works for you!
If (or when!) you get distracted and your attention drifts away, as soon as you notice, gently bring your attention to the breath. In the beginning, this is likely to happen often, but you will soon find that by diligently bringing your attention back to the breath every time, the lapses of attention will become shorter and less frequent as your mind gradually becomes more concentrated,
Here are a few questions that will help you stay focused on your breath:
- Is the breath long or short? Deep or shallow? Fast or slow?
- Where is the breath going, high up in the chest or low in the abdomen?
- Are there parts of the torso that don't move? Parts that are tight or don't move as freely?
- Is the flow of the breath smooth and even?
- Are there pauses?
- Is the inhalation longer than the exhalation, or vice versa? Or are they both the same length?