Perception of Breathing
Muni Mahendra Kumar
PERCEPTION OF BREATHING
The third step of preksha meditation is perception of breathing.
Regulate your breathing; make it slow, deep and rhythmic. Let the vibrations of each breath reach your navel. Allow your abdominal muscles to expand during inhalation and contract during exhalation.
Now concentrate your mind fully on your navel. Practice deep, slow and rhythmic breathing, by allowing each breath to take the same time. Perceive each inhalation and exhalation through the expansion and contraction of the abdominal muscles accompanying each inhalation and exhalation respectively.
Continuing the slow, deep and rhythmic breathing, now shift your attention from the navel and focus it inside the nostrils at the junction of both the nostrils. Perceive each incoming and outgoing breath. Remain fully aware of each and every breath.
Continuously practice slow, long and rhythmic breathing–inhale and exhale each breath while remaining fully aware of it. Fully occupy your mind in perception of breathing.
If you are distracted by any thought, do not try to stop it forcefully, but also perceive it, and then again start perceiving your breath. If the distraction is frequent, you may hold your breath for a few seconds without causing any discomfort.
Maintain the continuity of the awareness of breathing. Merely perceive it without like and dislike.
B. PERCEPTION OF ALTERNATE BREATHING
In the practice of breathing through alternate nostrils, you have to inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other, then inhale through the same and exhale through the other.
Try to accomplish the alternation by exercising your will-power. But in the beginning you may make use of finger and thumb of the right hand by placing the right thumb against the right nostril and the ring finger of the right hand against the left nostril and resting the middle and index fingers on the forehead. Now, remove alternately the thumb and ring finger for opening the path of breath through the right and the left nostril respectively.
The third step of preksha meditation is perception of breathing through alternate nostrils. Regulate your breathing; make it slow, deep and rhythmic. Concentrate your mind inside your nostrils, practice breathing through alternate nostrils. Inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left one. Now inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right one; this completes one cycle. Repeat the same exercise again and again continuing the rhythmic breathing. Perceive each inhalation and exhalation by concentrating the mind in alternate nostrils. Let your mind and breath go hand in hand. No thinking, no memory of the past, no imagination of future. Simply perceive.
Continuously the mind and breath should accompany each other. While you are breathing in, let your attention follow the breath inside. While you are breathing out, let your attention follow it outside.
Now, practice the perception of breathing through alternate nostrils together with holding the breath intermittently. Concentrate your mind inside the nostrils. Inhale through the right nostril and hold the breath inside, exhale through the left nostril and hold the breath outside; again inhale through the left nostril and hold the breath inside and exhale through the right nostril and hold the breath outside. In this way, practice holding of breath four times during one complete cycle. Continuously remain aware of each exhalation and inhalation. You may hold the breath only for a few seconds without causing any discomfort. Repeat the same exercise for several rounds. Let the mind and breath go hand in hand.