Continued from: Meditation: Practice. Part I
However, because it is possible to consciously control breathing to a degree one is more often aware of it than of the heart and blood circulation. Feel the air flowing in and out of your nostrils.
As you breathe in mentally count 1.
As you breathe out mentally count 2.
Continue counting in this way to a count of 40.
Your breathing should be natural; don’t breathe deeply or slowly.
Throughout the practice maintain awareness of both the breathing and the mental counting.
When you have counted 40 transfer your awareness to the throat.
Feel the air moving in and out of the throat.
This might be a little difficult at first but try.
When you can feel the breath moving in the throat then start to mentally count each inhalation and exhalation.
Inhale – 1. Exhale – 2. Inhale – 3 and so on. Count to 40.
Be aware of the breath and the counting.
Now transfer your awareness to the chest.
As you breathe in feel the expansion of the ribcage.
Simultaneously feel that air is being drawn into the lungs.
As you breathe out feel the contraction of the ribcage.
Simultaneously feel the air being squeezed out of the lungs like air from a balloon.
Do this for a minute or so and then start to count each inhalation and each exhalation in the same way as previously explained.
Count up to 40 with continual awareness of the expansion and contraction of the chest and the feeling of air entering and leaving the lungs.
After this become aware of the abdomen.
Feel the rising and falling movement of the belly (the rectus abdominal muscles).
Breathe normally; don’t try to force the breathing by making it deeper or slower if any effort is required.
Merely breathe as your body dictates. As you breathe in try to feel the air being drawn into your body.
As you breathe out feel the unused waste products being expelled from the body.
When you are ready start to count the inhalations and exhalations as already explained.
Inhale – feel the expansion of the abdomen mentally counting 1.
Exhale – feel the abdominal wall drop – count 2. Continue in this same way up to the count of 40.
Be aware of the breath, abdominal movement and counting throughout.
When you have finished this slowly become aware of the surroundings.
Gently move your body and open your eyes.
This is the end of the practice.
If you have managed to remain aware of all the different aspects of this practice then you should feel totally relaxed.
Duration and time of practice
This practice should take about ten minutes. It can be lengthened and shortened according to the time available simply by increasing or decreasing the number of times that you count the inhalation and exhalation.
It can be practised after asanas and pranayama in the morning or evening or at any other time during the day. We recommend it when you feel tired or tense. If you have any problem sleeping then you can do it before going to bed at night.
This meditation is a reasonably long practice and it is very easy to fall asleep or lose track of the practice. If you have a friend who is also interested in yoga ask him or her to act as your yoga teacher using the instructions that we have given as a guide. Take it in turns to act as the instructor.
Continue to: Daily Practice Program