Proper Breathing in Meditation

The average person breathes in shortly and shallowly, which dissipates the vitality by failing to use the full lungs to take a full inhale and full exhale. Because of the incomplete discharge of carbon dioxide from the lungs, poor breathing can cause impurity in the blood and predispose you to sickness.

How to Practice Correct Breathing:

1) The breath should become extremely delicate so that even your own ears cannot hear the in and out sounds of the breath. Don’t try to force it to be quiet in the beginning, just allow it to happen in time.

2) The most important task is to breathe in a natural manner, using no force, just put the attention on the lower abdomen and let the breath sink and move naturally.

3) Within the torso, between the lower lung area and the upper abdomen, runs a horizontal muscle called the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the main muscle that assists in breathing. By moving up and down, it causes the lungs to expand to take in air and contract and expel air. People who are new to meditation and mindful breathing often sense a pensive type of breath within the chest. This is a result of tension in diaphragm. Exercising this muscle fully is the best way to bring back pliability so that the muscle can move freely to its fullest potential and not restrict the breath with its tension. The procedure for exercising this muscle is as follows: breathe in fully to take in air until you feel the base of the lungs expand. The diaphragm will move down and the abdomen will expand. You should also notice your back and sides gently expanding. Then exhale fully, contracting the lower abdominal muscles, feeling the diaphragm move upward, causing all the air to be expelled fully from the lungs.

4) Within the abdomen, the large and small intestines are extremely soft and pliable and can easily be obstructed and hinder blood circulation. So, by breathing in with deep, full inhales and breathing out with long and gradual exhales, it’s like a massage from the inside for the lower abdomen, helping the intestines move and stretch more elastically, clearing obstructions within the abdomen. For this reason, the healthy range of movement of the diaphragm through proper breathing contributes greatly to good digestion, helping everything in the digestive system move and circulate optimally.

5) The natural function of the nose is to intake and expel air. There are tiny hairs in the nostrils called cilia which filter the small microbes of dust, dirt, germs, etc, preventing them from entering the lungs during inhaling. Therefore, to keep the lungs clear of these particles and prevent illness and lung problems, it’s best to breathe in and out through the nostrils and close the mouth when breathing naturally, not only during meditation, but when going about your day-to-day life as well.

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