Meditation On Breathing. Anapana Sati

Most yogis guess Anapana Sati, a form of meditation that focuses on in-and-out breathing, is the most important and popular meditation technique of all.

Such form of Buddhist meditation as Anapana Sati was originally practiced and taught by Gautama Buddha. The essences of this meditation were rather simple, but, at the same time, rather difficult as the Buddha said that monks should go to the forest, sit beneath the tree and watch the breath if it is long or short. At first glance, this may not seem hard to do, but there are sixteen stages in Anapana Sati. Every meditation practice you should start with the first stage and continue step by step because each stage of breath meditation has its own distinct characteristics, challenges to overcome and specific techniques.

To get the full experience of Anapanasati, you have to know:

  • What benefits of breath meditation you can get.
  • How to do Anapanasati practice properly.
  • Why you should practice Anapanasati every day.

Don`t think that it`ll be very easy for you to watch how you’ll inhale and exhale as your goal is keeping the breath in mind – only the breath – you shouldn’t have any other things on your mind.  Let`s learn to practice the meditation on breathing.

Great Benefits of Anapana Sati Meditation

You’ve heard the news that meditation is good for you. So let`s take a look at the breath meditation and what benefits you get practicing this type of meditation on a regular basis.

First of all, Anapana Sati improves five key areas of your life.

  1. Health benefits – there are more than 50 proven by science meditation benefits. For example, regular breath meditation can:
  • improve immune system;
  • lower the risk of cardiovascular disease;
  • help balance blood pressure;
  • improve communication between hemispheres of the brain;
  • lower heart rate;
  • improve airflow to lungs;
  • reduce migraines and headaches etc.
  1. Mood – practicing anapanasati meditation you become happier and more positive person as studies show that such a relaxing meditation can increase job satisfaction, self-actualization, peace of mind and happiness.
  2. Psychology – the meditation on breathing can help you reduce or even prevent: depression, anxiety and stress. The breath meditation helps control your emotions, increases the level of serotonin, improves energy flow, besides, anapanasati boosts reaction time and reduces the need for sleep.
  3. Relationships – if you practice the breath meditation every day it`ll help you strengthen your relationships. A study proved that such type of meditation increases sympathy and compassion, stimulates capacity for love and intimacy.
  4. Performance – the meditation on breathing also can increase your productivity and focus, improve memory and cognitive function. As well as make you healthier it can make you perform better.

By the way, Buddha taught that Anapanasati can develop the seven factors of enlightenment:

  1. Mindfulness (Sati)
  2. Investigation (Dhamma Vicaya)
  3. Energy (Viriya)
  4. Rapture (Pity)
  5. Tranquility (Passaddhi)
  6. Concentration (Samadhi)
  7. Equanimity (Upekkha)

The final goal of the breath meditation practice is to be free from suffering. Only in such a way, you can get the enlightenment.

Basics of Anapanasati Meditation

The breath meditation isn’t a difficult technique but it needs to be done correctly.  As has been said before, according to the Buddha’s original teaching you have to sit in the forest, keeping the breath in mind, you have to allow the mind to be calm and be still. But the modern way of doing mindfulness of breathing is a little different.

The Buddha outlines sixteen stages of approaching the mindfulness of breathing during the meditation. Now we practice only six first stages to achieve happiness. We don’t reach a state of Nirvana as for the assimilation of the first stage Buddhist monks are wasting many years of their lives.

Anapanasati Meditation Technique

Preparation: You have to choose a good place to practice. It should be quiet and peaceful. It shouldn’t be either too light nor too dark. The temperature should be comfortable. You cannot let anything distract you from the meditation.

Then choose the right posture for anapanasati. For beginners, the sitting position will be the best choice. If you’re not a beginner, you can select the crocodile pose.

Beginning: When you’ve chosen your pose you need a little break. Just take a few minutes to generally relax. When you feel that you’re really relaxed, concentrate your mind on breathing, only on your breathing, be concentrated on the sensation of the breath between your lips and nose. Try to count your breath (breath in, breath out – one; breath in, breath out – two so on).

Advancing: Feeling that you fully focus on your breathing, maintain this focus, at least for five minutes. After this try to develop an understanding of yourself – observe your thoughts.

Here are 6 ways to develop the breath meditation technique:

1) Focus completely on the breath. Imagine it like one: there is no in or out, there is just the breathing. This way helps you develop inner stillness.

2) Concentrate on the energy behind the breath. Imagine that this energy is your life-force. Meditating on this you`ll figure out “what I term Infinite Creativity” (it’s the most elemental part of yourself). Connecting with this part you`ll get immense power and freedom.

3) Connect the mind and breath during the meditation training. You`ll see the way you breathe alters your mental state, and vice versa.

4) Observe your thoughts to find the truth of yourself.

5) See how different your each breath is, how body and mind are constantly changing.

6) Try to hum “Ohm..” to achieve mind-body-spirit connection.

Before meditating check one more time these four things:

  1. The place is good for you.
  2. You have a comfortable pose.
  3. You’re fully relaxed and concentrated.
  4. Your breathing is slow and comfortable.

Anapanasati in Your Everyday Life

Doing anapanasati meditation 10 minutes in the morning makes your life more intelligent and joyful, strengthens your willpower and self-control.

If you feel strong emotions like anger or irritation, you should meditate for 10 – 20 minutes in a peaceful place to reduce stress.

If you`re depressed, it would be difficult for you to focus. It may take you 4 – 6 hours of the breath meditation to heal from your depression.

As you see the meditation on breathing is beneficial and not so difficult, but it needs your total concentration on the breath.

Guest Post Helen Rogers