Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to start meditating and can be performed anywhere. The two key elements of any meditation practice are finding a focal point and letting go of any thoughts or emotions that arise. According to Yoga Instructor Mary Bruce of Phoenix, Arizona, focusing on your deep, rhythmic breath helps turn your mind inward and activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation. “When the breath is made steady, the mind becomes calm like a still lake,” says Bruce. “This is the fertile ground for meditation to blossom. Breath is key.”
Sit down in a chair or on the floor on a folded blanket or cushion. Keep your back straight from the base of your spine to your neck. This creates a straight path for energy to flow up your spine.
Place your hands on your thighs with your palms face up or down. Rest your feet flat on the floor if you are sitting in a chair. Cross your ankles or legs if you are seated on the floor.
Close your eyes to prevent your mind from being distracted by outer objects.
Breathe normally in and out through your nose for about one minute, observing your breath without judgment. Close your mouth and relax your facial muscles.
Allow your breath to slowly deepen as you inhale and fully inflate your lungs, counting silently to four. Feel your ribcage expand forward and to the sides as you breathe in.
Exhale to a slow count of four as you pull your navel point toward your spine. Make your in-breath and out-breath the same length. If thoughts or emotions arise, let them go and bring your attention back to your breath.
Continue deep breathing meditation for three to five minutes or for as long as you can sit comfortably with a calm, steady breath.