The Stillness Initiative
Step 1 - Reset Your Mind 

Image by Toni  Reed

Mindfulness is like
fabric softener for when
life gets hard

Breathing Meditation Practice
Why Start Your Mindfulness Practice With The Breath?

Because when you are paying attention to your breath, you automatically ground yourself to the present moment. You begin to break the pattern of compulsive or negative thinking, and allow your mind to rest.

The NOW - The Present Moment - Stillness the only place where your brain can take a break!

In both practices below, you´ll tune in and connect to your breath.

As you practice sitting still and sustaining your attention on the present moment for as long and often as you can (without getting lost in thoughts of the past, or fantasies of the future) you are training your brain to be more mindful.

The Set-Up

Sit comfortably in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor.
Straighten your back and gently drop your shoulders.

Now, simply feel the weight of your body as it connects to the chair and floor.  Notice that whatever your mind (the voices in your head) tell you is happening, in reality all you will actually be doing in is simply sitting there. Nothing else.

Just before we start, try spending a few moments practising bringing your full attention to your breath, as it moves in and out of your nostrils. Once we start the meditation exercises below, you will be encouraged into aiming and sustaining your attention on your breathing, as often as possible. 

Whenever your attention wanders off the breath, as soon as you notice it has happened (and it will), just gently return your attention to the air moving in and out of the body, without berating yourself, or allowing frustration to creep in.

Re-direct your attention back to the breath, gently, and as often as is necessary.

Its also important that you avoid trying to force or control your breathing rhythm in any way.  Think of this practice almost as if the breath is breathing you. After all, it knows instinctively how to breathe all by itself.

Try not to expect any outcomes. You just need to relax and then focus your attention, as best you can, on your breath as it enters and leaves the body.
Just practice. Any consequences or healthy outcomes will be a bonus!

Your Meditation Practices

Close your eyes if it is safe to do so

Practice 1 - Breathing By Numbers
(Tip - Use Headphones)

Set your own timer for 5 minutes. The guided part of this audio meditation lasts for just less than 4 minutes, then remain seated and continue breathing normally (no longer counting) for the full duration of your practice.
Practice 2 - Stretch Your Breath
Simply pay attention to your breathing whenever you can, wherever you are. Gently extend the exhale. 
Do this for 6 breaths. Notice if there is any shift at all in your thought patterns, bodily sensations, or emotions.
Stretch Breath.jpg

Once you understand what mindfulness is, and begin your daily practice, you soon learn how to shift your focus to the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of your inner world, and skilfully use them as supports for self-regulation and healing.

Ian Matthews

Zenbok Founder