Now that you’ve learned how to arrange the
body, you've learned how to breathe and you’ve
started to practice a form of mindful attention to
the breathing, take a few minutes to actually try
putting this all together.
Here are the basic instructions in audio and in
Seat yourself on the forward third of your cushion
or chair, (using a cushion on the chair if needed),
so that your hips are slightly higher than your
Rotate your pelvis slightly by gently pressing
the small of the back forward.
Extend your spine so that your posture is upright,
and not leaning to either side or to the front
Tuck your chin in slightly and make sure your
nose is over your navel and your ears aligned with
Place your left hand, palm up, on top of the
palm of your right hand. Rest your hands in your
lap, on top of your thighs.
Keep your eyes slightly open, looking downward
in the direction of the floor a few feet
in front of you. Let them drift out of focus.
Take a couple of deep slow breaths through the
mouth, and exhale freely, to begin.
Close your lips and swallow any saliva in your
Breathe through your nose.
Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your
mouth just behind the front teeth.
Exhale each breath relatively slowly and deeply,
but don’t force it. Your breathing will naturally
tend to slow and deepen by itself, as a result
of your posture and mental state. Let this happen.
Use your lower abdominal muscles to move air
in and out of your body. As you inhale, your abdomen
expands outward, as if inflating an imaginary
balloon in your lower belly. As you exhale, your
abdomen contracts inward, deflating this imaginary
Let your breathing become regular and continuous,
without holding your breath, straining, or gasping.
Easy does it. No rush.
Be aware of your breathing, of the sensations
of breath leaving and entering your body
with each exhalation and inhalation.
Direct each breath into the center of your lower
abdomen, about two or three inches below the navel.
As you exhale, silently count “one”,
continuing this number through the following inhalation.
At the next exhalation, count “two” silently,
and so on, repeating the process of counting
each exhale/inhale cycle as one breath.
When you have counted ten breaths, return
to “one”, and begin again.
If you notice your attention has wandered, if
you forget or if you lose count or go beyond
begin over again at “one”.
Let your attention remain with your breath. Be
patient with yourself, as it may take some time
before you can reliably stabilize your attention
for an extended period of time.
If you find your mind becoming active, with lots
of thoughts or memories,
emotions, etc., allow yourself to notice this,
then return your attention to your breathing.
Begin practicing for a short time (5-10 minutes),
gradually increasing until you can sit for 30 minutes
at a time. Then just do so several times each week,
building up to daily sitting.