Finding the calm
A simple breathing meditation that will bring a moment of peaceful calm. By Kelly Scali
We don’t have to search far and wide for calmness. It dwells within each in-breath and each out-breath.
Just beyond the clouds are those beautiful blue skies and there exists those qualities of calm, clarity and balance. They’re always there. But when things get crazy and chaotic, we tend to forget. And guess what? That’s okay.
A simple deep breath can remind us.
In this meditation, we’ll use the breath as a way to connect to a greater sense of calm in the mind and body.
Breathing can help us ride the gentle waves in our minds, especially if we find ourselves lost in the sea of our own thoughts.
In this practice, we’ll be doing a special breathing exercise where we’ll be:
Breathing in for 4 (pause).
Holding the breath for 4 (pause).
Breathing out for 4 (pause).
And holding again for 4 (pause).
Don’t worry, I’ll be guiding you through every step of the way.
One thing to be aware of as we do this breathing exercise is that you are breathing into the stomach. This ensures that you are breathing deeply.
So if you’re sitting upright, make sure your spine is tall. Your shoulders are relaxed. Your feet are planted firmly onto the floor. Your hands can be resting on the legs or down by your side.
Let’s slowly begin to close our eyes.
And when you’re ready, take some nice deep breaths.
In through the nose…and out through the mouth.
Gently notice how your body feels at this moment. Does it feel tense? Does it feel relaxed and more open in certain areas?
Scanning down, starting from your head…or scanning up, starting from your feet.
Now, bringing your focus to your breath, and just noticing each inhale and each exhale.
Noticing the beginning of the inhale…and the ending of the exhale.
Riding the wave of the breath.
And at any time, if the mind wanders, that’s okay. Just gently guide it back to the breath.
Now we’ll begin with our breathing exercise. If you like, you can place a hand on your stomach to help feel the sensation of the breath in the body.
Breathing in through the nose for 1…2…3…4
And holding the breath for 1…2…3…4.
Breathing out through the mouth for 1…2…3…4.
And again holding the breath for 1…2…3…4.
Let’s do it again.
Breathing in for 1…2…3…4
And holding the breath for 1…2…3…4.
Breathing out through the mouth for 1…2….3…4
and holding the breath for 1…2…3…4.
Breathing in deeply into the belly…and softly out through the mouth.
Just continuing with that breath in for 4 (pause).
Hold for 4 (pause).
Out for 4 (pause).
And hold again for 4 (pause).
And now letting go of that breath just allowing the mind to be free here.
Maybe noticing the different sensations present in the body. And what the body feels like after taking those nice, intentional, deep breaths.
And just gently returning your focus back to your surroundings. Noticing any sounds in your space.
Inviting movement back to your hands and your toes.
And when you’re ready, slowly and gently open your eyes.
Taking your time transitioning from here into the rest of your day. See if you can bring this sense of calm, with you, wherever you are off to next.
The funny thing about life is that we get to spend some time together here doing this deep breathing meditation exercise, helping our bodies relax and our minds feel calm. Then in the next moment, life returns to normal.
Maybe we get distracted by our thoughts or maybe we’re heading back into a busy day of deadlines, expectations and obligations. So the practice for us is being able to accept life as it is in those moments. Not resisting it or wanting life to be different. But ultimately being fully open to and riding those waves of change.
At any time, the breath can be our anchor, helping us to relate to life in a calm and compassionate way, because how we’re breathing is often how we’re feeling.