Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Importance of Breathing in Meditation

Meditation, the technique of focusing the mind while deepening the breath, is an essential Tantric practice. Successful meditation depends upon concentration and the elimination of external distractions. Deep breathing is an important part of meditation because without proper breathing you can not achieve a deep trance.

Proper breathing means inhaling through the nose, letting the diaphragm (not the chest) expand. Feel this air as it is pulled into your lungs, and feel your lungs expanding to their full capacity. Then exhale through the nose and pull the abdomen gently back into the body, compressing the lungs from the bottom. Breathing this way slows down the heart rate which leads to physical and mental relaxation.

Breathing also plays a significant role in developing your concentration. This is done by focusing the mind on the act of taking in air and feeling it pass through the nostrils until the air is finally exhaled through the mouth. While this may sound easy, it can be quite challenging when done for the first time.

A similar method is used for increasing your awareness. Just like the concentration technique mentioned above, it involves putting one’s attention on your breathing. However, instead of focusing on the act of inhaling and exhaling air, you train your thoughts on the sensation of breathing - the feeling of the air passing through the nose, filling the lungs, and expanding the diaphragm.

Learning to breathe properly during meditation is an essential step to attaining the benefits of meditation. It is no wonder, then, that the two are inseparable activities that a student of meditation must learn. If you do not master proper breathing, then there is no meditation method or program that can be successful.

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