Meditation of the Month: Tracing the Breath

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Meditation of the Month: Tracing the Breath

March is a month devoted to Patience. Courtney and I were sitting together on March first, trying frantically to do something, and I turned to her and said “do you know what the theme is this month?” Courtney replied “Patience” and we both started giggling. At times we just need a reminder. 

The constant reminder, our trusted companion, on our journey of mindfulness is the breath. We have the opportunity and in fact the joy, of returning to it again and again. And, as many of us know, returning to the breath is not always enough. Our patience is not always in the right spot to be held by the inhales and the exhales. 

Another way to connect with the breath is a method in mindfulness called Tracing the Breath. There are a few ways to engage with this practice of patience and understanding. Let’s try two this month and see how they may develop our own patience. 

ONE: Adding a Count. 

  1. At the start of inhale mentally say ‘One’
  2. When the inhale turns into the exhale say ‘Two’
  3. The beginning of the inhale ‘One’
  4. The beginning of the exhale ‘Two’

Adding this concrete connection to both the inhale and the exhale allows us to stay with the flow of the breath, both the inhale and the exhale. 

TWO: Following the Breath.

  1. On the next inhale allow the mind to lightly attach to the breath, like a bee landing on a flower. 
  2. Follow the breath to the deepest space in the body. See where it goes without judgement. 
  3. Allow yourself to notice how the breath makes a turn. Feel that gentle roll from inhale to exhale. 
  4. Follow the exhale and see how the breath leaves the body. Is there a difference? Speed? Pace?
  5. One again notice the transition. See how the breath changes from exhale to inhale. 

Be patient with yourself and with the practice. These are simple practices, which makes them inherently challenging. The more we are able to come into practice with kindness the more we have the opportunity to increase our own spaces for joy and for patience. Enjoy!