Time to Breathe: A 5 Minute Mindfulness Exercise
© Simon Migaj
Like the rest of the body, it’s good to exercise the mind. Daily exercise, and meditation, has been shown to improve health, by decreasing stress, which allows the body (and mind) to naturally release endorphins, relax and heighten awareness. There is a lot of research on mindfulness and meditation, which have found it to be of great benefit for health and wellbeing.
Here is a 5-minute mindful exercise that can be done daily to reduce stress and create balance at home and when traveling.
Breath of Life
Close the eyes, and let the body settle.
Feel the air surrounding and touching the body; notice where it makes contact with the skin. It may feel hot, cool, or prickly.
Be aware of the air, as it enters the body; through the nose and/or mouth, down the throat, and into the lungs. With each inhale, and as it returns from the lungs, up the throat and out the nose and/or mouth, upon each exhale.
Breathe naturally. Let the body go at its own pace. There is no need to breathe quickly, or try to force it to slow down.
Keep coming back to the breath. Focus attention on its complete path, from inhalation to exhalation, or on any one point along the way. If the strongest connection is at the tip of the nose, then maintain awareness of it entering and leaving at that point. If the back of the throat, or the expanding and contracting of the lungs, are stronger points of contact, then be aware of one of those areas with each breath.
Follow the air, one breath at a time, as it enters and leaves the body. If thoughts, emotions, or other sensations come into awareness, return to the breath as soon as they are noticed. One breath at a time.
Feel the air surrounding and touching the body; notice where it makes contact with the skin.
Breathe and open the eyes slowly.
This exercise is an excerpt from Gabriel Constans’ new book A B.R.A.V.E. Year.
“A B.R.A.V.E. Year: 52 Weeks Being Mindful, by Gabriel Constans, is an elegant, yet simple, immersion into the transformative practice of mindful meditation. It provides the reader with 52 weeks of well-crafted instruction. A treasure trove for any student, or teacher, of meditation.”
— Gaea Logan, Director, International Mental Health