Meditation can be done anywhere and in any way you wish, all it requires is that you concentrate on emptying your mind, or on directing it towards a specific task, depending on what precisely the goals of your meditation are and the reasons for your doing it. As such there are so many different techniques you can use to make it easier to concentrate, or to help you clear your mind. A lot of these are to do with the way you breath partly because breathing is a rhythmic unconscious behaviour that is perfect for focussing our mind on, and partly because our breathing and our thoughts are closely linked – as you will clearly witness if you try stopping breathing for any extended period of time – after which you are likely to fall unconscious. Here we’ll look at some powerful breathing techniques that can help you to meditate and make it easier hopefully to reach the meditative state that you are looking for.
The first breathing method that is possibly the most widely used across practitioners is to try simply listening to your breathing. The reason this works is basically because it gives you something to focus on which prevents you mind from wandering and thinking about other things. It is the same concept as visualising a spot in the centre of your vision and focussing on this which will also help you to focus your mind and clear your thoughts. You can add to the effect of listening to your breathing by using a mantra – which is any word or sound that you repeat over and over in order to focus on. Many people will just hum and this is why the stereotypical image of someone meditating involves them humming loudly or making another repetitive noise over and over.
Similarly the way you breathe can also help you to meditate. For example some practitioners believe that the way they breath can change the way their Qi circulates around their body, which is taught in practices such as Qi Gong or Tai Chi. To breath in a way that is conducive to this, practitioners are taught to place the tip of their tongue on the roof of their mouth gently and to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Breathing more deeply can also help you to focus and to clear your mind, as can inhaling and exhaling more fully. This is again because it helps you to focus on the act of breathing itself, but also because it helps you to get more oxygen into your lungs. Breathing more deeply meanwhile also means by extension breathing more slowly and this will mean that your whole body and circulatory system slows down, which will make you feel generally more relaxed and placated. Try breathing in for the count of five, pausing for the count of three, and then exhaling for five. When you exhale try to ensure that you fully empty your lungs and this will also have a range of other health benefits.