If you were to ask me what the most powerful form of meditations is, I would say, “Breath meditation.” Even better, it’s also one of the easiest forms of contemplative practice to learn. In this post, I’ll provide insight into what is my favorite meditation technique.
In order to better understand the benefits of breath meditation, allow me to explain how it works. Our mind is made up of wave patterns. When we think, we can measure the mental activity in our brains.
There are four main types of brain waves. The pattern you are in as you read these words, and as you engage in thinking in general, is called “beta wave.” Next, when we’re falling asleep our mind begins to quiet and still, this is called “alpha wave.” When we’re in a deeper state of sleep, our mind is very still and quiet. This is called the “theta wave.” The final stage, when we are in a deep sleep and our mind has very little to no activity is called the “delta wave.” Even during sleep, we may never experience this last stage.
Mediation helps us reach the theta or delta stage. I have found breath meditation is one of the most effective ways to encounter the deeper levels of meditation and quiet the mind.
Most people who are new to meditation and are trying a variety of ways to meditate will most likely go between the beta and alpha states. Although these stages are very relaxing and provide a wonderful experience, as with all things in life, the more you practice the better you will get. Eventually, you will desire to reach the theta or delta stage.
In my experience, the most effective way to quiet the mind with breath meditation can also be the most challenging. Although it’s simple it’s not easy to do. In this form of meditation, you simply “follow your breath.” Follow it with no mantra or prayer word, just simply and quietly follow of your breath.
First, find a quiet, comfortable place. Next, sit up with your feet on the flat on the floor or your legs crossed. As you’re sitting, watch or take notice of your breath. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, and breathe out.
You can breathe in through your mouth or your nose—it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you follow your breath. If something distracts you, simply return to your breath. When strenuous or uncomfortable thoughts arise or bubble to the surface, don’t ignore them or push them away. Instead, acknowledge them and return to your breath.
Focus on only your breath. Again, acknowledge any distractions and then simply go back to your breath. As thoughts dissolve, your mind will quiet and your brain patterns will begin to reach those deeper levels. You will find a deep peace that matches when you are sleeping at night. The difference is with meditation you are giving your mind this break during the day. Stresses will go away and peace take their place.
I encourage you to try breath meditation and then practice it often. I also highly suggest you meditate twice a day: once first thing in the morning and again just before bed. I find those times to be the easiest to make a habit. You can meditate at any time of day or night, but I highly suggest you make it a point to do so twice a day. Breath meditation is what I consider to be one of the most powerful practices we can follow.