The Benefits of Mindful Breathing

The Benefits of Conscious Breathing

Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.
Breathng Out, I know that I am breathing out.

“This exercise is simple, yet its effects are profound.  To succeed we must put our whole mind into our breathing and notwhere else….Anyone can succeed in the practice of a single conscious breath.  If we continue to breath consciously for ten breaths, without our mind going astray, then we have taken a valuable step on the path of practice….

The first result of conscious breathing is returning to ourselves……we often get lost in forgetfulness.  Our mind chases after thousands of things. And we rarely take the time to come back to ourselves….we lose touch with ourselves, and we feel alienated from ourselves….Conscious breathing is a marvelous way to return to ourselves.  When we are aware of our breath, we come back to ourselves as quick as a flash of lightening.  Like a child who returns home after a long journey, we feel the warmth of our hearth, and we find ourselves again.  Coming back to ourselves is already remarkable success on the path of practice.

The second result of conscious breathing is that we come in contact with life in the present moment, the only moment when we can touch life.  The life in us and around us is wonderful and abundant.  If we’re not free, we can’t be in contact with it and we’re not really living our lives.  We shouldn’t be imprisoned by regrets about the past, anxieties for the future, or attachment and aversion in the present.

To breathe with full awareness is a miraculous way to untie the knots of regret and anxiety and to be in touch with life in the present moment…As we breath consciously, our breath becomes more regular, and peace and joy arise and become more stable with every moment.  Relying on our breathing, we come back to ourselves and are able to restore the oneness of our body and mind.  This integration allows us to be in real contact with what is happening in the present moment, which is the essence of life.”

[Transformation and Healing, Thich Nhat Hanh]