Mindfulness is the practice of being aware, or mindful, of what’s happening in the present moment. It sounds simple, but for most of us, it doesn’t come naturally. We have to make an effort to really tune in to what’s going on right now, instead of checking our phones, thinking about that thing our boss said in yesterday’s meeting or wondering what we should make for dinner tonight.
But why does it matter? Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress, boost your memory and focus, and improve your health, among other benefits. And the best part is, anyone can do it, and you don’t need any fancy equipment or training. All you need is your mind!
What is mindful breathing?
Mindful breathing is just what it sounds like: being mindful of your breath. It’s a form of mindfulness meditation, which has been linked to a host of benefits for your health and overall wellbeing.
Why should I practice mindful breathing?
Mindfulness has many benefits, and mindful breathing in particular is a great way to help you calm down and focus when you’re angry, stressed or feeling overwhelmed by your emotions.
Mindful breathing is one of the easiest forms of mindfulness you can practice because you can do it anytime, anywhere. As long as you’re breathing, you can be mindful of your breath. Once you know how to do it, it’s a helpful tool that you’ll always have with you, wherever you go.
How to practice mindful breathing
You don’t have to be in any particular position – you can sit or stand, move or be still, with eyes opened or closed – but you may find it easier to focus if you’re in a quiet place with your eyes shut, free from distractions.
Then, start by noticing your breath: the inhales and the exhales. Don’t try to change it, or judge it in any way. Just notice.
You may find that your mind starts to wander, and that’s okay. Don’t try to control your thoughts – simply notice them and bring your focus back to your breath. You may find it helpful to draw your attention to the rise and fall of your chest or the feel of the air as it goes in and out of your nostrils.
And that’s it! You’ve just practiced mindful breathing.
As with most forms of meditation, mindful breathing gets easier the more you do it. It’s a good idea to set aside time – even if it’s just a few minutes a day – to practice so you can more easily access it when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
At SHYFT at Mile High, mindful breathing is at the core of all of our yoga and mindfulness classes. We’re here to guide you through your practice of being present so you can experience all the benefits of a life lived in the now.