The breathing function is the only one in our body that is both automatic and voluntary.
Paying attention to our breathing is paying attention to our mind. The shallower the breath, the more prone we are to trigger a stress response Quieting and deepening our breath can make wonders in how we feel and how effectively we relate to the world around us.
At WAW we developed a series of gentle movements and breathing exercises to relax the muscles engaged in breathing, and expand our lung capacity.
A mindful connection with your breath anchors you in the place where true life occurs moment to moment. Try this meditation exercise for five minutes. Sit in a comfortable place with eyes closed. Breathing in through your nose and out through the mouth, focus on each inhalation and exhalation. Follow your breath through to a full cycle from the beginning when the lungs are full back down to when they’re empty. Then start all over again.
As you stay with this cycle, mindfully watching your breath, thoughts usually arise in the form of judgment: wondering if you’re doing it right, thinking about tasks you have to do later, debating if it’s worth your time. Don’t try to get rid of your thoughts. Allow them to arise and accept whatever arises with open heartedness, bringing your attention gently back and focusing on the breath.
Each time your attention strays from the breath (and it will), bring your awareness back to it. There’s nowhere else to be, nothing else to do but notice your breath. If your mind gets caught in a chain of thoughts, gently step out of the thought stream and come back to the sensations of your breath. After five minutes or more, open your eyes and notice how much more connected you are to the present moment.
Excerpt from "#Chill Turn off your job and turn on your life", by Brian E. Robinson, PhD