What Is Mindful Breathing & How To Practice It 5 Minutes

What Is Mindful Breathing & How To Practice It 5 Minutes

Do you breathe normally or do you breathe mindfully? When I asked my friend this question, she said “Do we have to apply our mind to breathe?” When I said “Yes” she had a puzzled look on her face and asked me “What is mindful breathing?”.

She further enquired, isn’t “Normal Breathing” and “Mindful Breathing” the same? Applying our mind to breathe seems illogical as breathing anyways happens automatically.

Do you share similar ideas or views as my friend?

If you answered “Yes” then just like my friend, today you will discover a skill that you can apply to your daily life not only to breathe more mindfully but also to artfully deal with challenging situations in life.

You must have heard the word “Mindfulness”. Most people these days are raving about daily mindfulness and its remarkable benefits…but how many of them are religiously practicing mindfulness and experiencing the extraordinary benefits? Do you practice mindfulness on a daily basis? Be honest.

In simple words, mindfulness is the capacity to be fully engaged in the present moment. If you wish to see LIVE example of mindfulness, see any child – their curiosity, attentiveness, awareness in the given moment is truly amazing. Unfortunately, as we get older we tend to lose this capacity as we often get lost in thinking about the past or planning the future.

Mindful breathing is a powerful practice to regain our lost capacity of being fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing by simply focusing your attention on your breathing. So your breath serves as an anchor to learn this basic human ability, which you already possess and have forgotten how to access it.

Why Is Mindful Breathing Important

What Is Mindful Breathing

Today the common problem you, me, and the majority of people around the world are facing is a “distracted mind”. By the end of the day do you remember exactly what all you did during the day?

If you don’t remember…don’t worry, as you are not alone there was a study conducted by Harvard, wherein they found that approximately 47% of people in their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing.

Did you know that mind wandering during the day makes people unhappy? An average person has about 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts during the day – This sounds incredible however the sad part is majority thoughts are negative and repetitive in nature. This stream of worrying & anxious thoughts without any break hampers creativity and concentration.

Can you stop or reduce the stream of thoughts running in your mind?

The answer is “Yes” – As the stream of thoughts slow down in your mind, you will be able to focus your mind on what you are doing, your concentration improves, you are less distracted, your productivity improves. Are you noticing a chain of positive outcomes here…your mind simply becomes more efficient and useful.

Wondering how to reduce the mental noise, I will share the technique with you soon but before that let us understand this connection.

What Is The Connection Between Your Breath & Your Mind

Mind & Breath Connection

Your breath and mind have a very close connection. Your breathing pattern can tell a lot about your current state of mind. If your flow of breath is erratic, so are your thoughts.

Your breath acts as a barometer of how you are feeling and by simply understanding this connection you can consciously change the way you breathe and the way you feel.

Have you noticed how you breathe during the moment of stress or when you are under pressure? There is tightness in the chest area, due to which your breathing is restricted or shallow. This has a direct influence on your mind due to which you are unable to think through clearly during challenging situations.

The focus is usually on positive self-talk however we are forgetting that all ‘thinking’ stems from the way we breathe. If your breathing is stagnant, fast then how can your thoughts be solution-oriented? This is why it is vital to pay attention to your breath first and calm your nervous system. When the breath is slow, smooth, long, and deep then the mind is also the same. When you take charge of your breathing pattern, you are in some sense are taking charge of your thoughts as your mind and breath are irrevocably linked.

So next time you find yourself stressed or you find situations around you go out of control – At such helpless times, remember “You can always control your breath and by regulating your breath you can control your state of mind”. With this understanding let us now discover the practice of mindful breathing and make it a part of your daily routine.

How To Practice Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is one of the best ways to practice and train your mind to focus on one thing – Your Breath. The main objective of this practice is to simply notice and be aware of your breath. It is not about relaxation or stress reduction.

However, practicing mindful breathing on a daily basis has helped many to manage stressful situations, dealing with negative emotions, and sharpening their concentration skills.

To begin with, you need only five minutes to practice this technique and can be done anywhere. The more you practice this, preferably doing it regularly in the mornings or before going to bed in the nights is strongly recommended.

Preparation:

Find a comfortable position sitting with a straight back on a chair or on a cushion on the floor and allow your body to relax. The hands can rest gently in the lap. You can close your eyes, however, if you fall asleep then I suggest keep them open and simply gaze on the wall in front of you.

Setting An Intention:

As you settle down simply become aware of the fact that you are breathing. Set an intention – Say in your mind: For the next five minutes I will feel my breath, I shall be aware of it and notice the breath flowing in and flowing out.

CORE Practice – Noticing The Breath

Allow yourself to be with the flow of breath and notice the entire cycle of breath:

  • Feel the movement of air coming in through the nostrils;
  • As it enters the nose, feel the expansion of the chest, as it fills the lungs and the extension of the abdomen.
  • Then comes the stopping point, where there is neither in-breath nor out-breath
  • As the air makes the journey out of the body, feel the flattening of the abdomen and collapse of the chest.
  • Feel the movement of air coming out through the nostrils

This is one cycle of breath in complete awareness – Try This… Right NOW

Thoughts Are Distracting Me

Yes I know this….after a short time, you may notice your mind may wander into thoughts of the day, things you need to do, memories, fantasies, planning of the future – As soon as you become aware that your attention is drifted, bring it back to your breath.

You do not have to be hard on yourself and be upset that you are getting distracted by thoughts. As this happens to everyone who begins to practice mindful breathing. Always remind yourself that you are training your mind to be in the present moment by paying attention to the breath.

Simply notice your breath and watch the thoughts arising, do not judge them, acknowledge them, and bring your awareness to the physical sensations of the breath.

End The Practice

In about 5 minutes you can end this practice. Set a timer in the beginning so that you do not have to keep checking the time. As you end the practice, slowly allow your attention to expand and notice the surroundings around you. Be thankful for the moment and remember that the breath is always with you as a refocusing tool to bring you back to the present moment.

Isn’t that Simple Practice? Go ahead and start doing it from today, keep me posted if you have any further questions in the comments below.

Explore The Power of Awareness with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach – A transformative mindfulness training program that gives you a system you can use for your own personal growth and transformation.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Kathy

    Hi Satish,

    Mindful breathing is something I have practiced and it works great. Your post has reminded me to do this as I’ve neglected it for a while. In fact I’ve just been sitting here mindfully breathing for a few minutes before writing this comment! Focusing on the present is a very effective way of reducing stress and lowering blood pressure,as well as boost creative thinking. Thank you for sharing:)

    1. Satish

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for your ‘mindful’ comment. I am glad this post acted as a reminder for you to practice mindfulness ~ Stay Blessed πŸ™‚

  2. Jamie L.

    Hi Satish,

    I love this article! It’s amazing how time slows down during this breathing technique! I tried it right after reading. My thoughts did wander a little but I would then refocus. I almost feel like I’m waking up from a nap. This technique is something I’m going to do as often as I can. My mind and body deserve a few 5 minute breaks throughout the day. Thank you for sharing such a magical technique.
    Stay healthy!
    Jamie L.

    1. Satish

      Hi Jamie,

      Yes paying attention to breathing causes most people to slow it down and to deepen it and it is quite soothing. Also when the attention drifts away from breathing and goes back to thoughts (i.e. concerns, anxiety) you can train to return periodically to your breathing. This refocusing has a relaxing effect on you as it helps to combat ruminative thinking in you, which happens to people who have anxiety or depression, especially those who are particularly prone to negative thoughts that run in a loop ~ Stay Blessed πŸ™‚

  3. John

    Hi Satish,

    Nice post. Very timely for the world today. I am looking online for information and even programs for practicing this. Glad I found your site. I will be using it from now on.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Satish

      Hi John,

      I am happy to know you found this useful ~ Stay Blessed πŸ™‚

  4. Saba

    Hi Satish,

    Thanks for sharing article on mindful breathing .I practised this at home for five minutes.Its very relaxing., reducing stress and anxiety.

    1. Satish

      Hi Saba,

      Glad to know that you have practiced mindful breathing, make it a daily habit for 5 – 10 mins ~ Stay Blessed πŸ™‚

  5. Ryzehn

    Hey Satish,

    Thanks for the reminder of mindful breathing. I used to do this a lot when I was in high school, for some reason, I was more aware and put together then as I am now. Over the years, I’ve forgotten to keep practicing mindful breathing. Now and then, I try this while I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep. It helps slow the mind and heart, calming them enough to quickly fall into a deep and mercifully dream/nightmare free sleep.

    I’ll be trying this again when night falls and I’ll be making an effort to keep it up from now on.

    1. Satish

      Hi Ryzehn,

      Being human, we forget the wonder of breathing. We take it for granted. As you have already experienced the benefits of mindful breathing just make more conscious effort to practice it daily, I am sure you can ~ Stay Blessed πŸ™‚

  6. Jim

    Hey Satish,

    I like mindful breathing .It sounds so easy to do and yet it has a lot benefits .My roommate has been depressed ,i am going to share this nice article with him ,i am sure it is going to help .Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Satish

      Hi Jim,

      Sure I hope it helps your friend ~ Stay Blessed πŸ™‚

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