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Embodied practice: Basic Breath Awareness

The following recording follows on from a previous offering which introduced basic postural awareness, helpful in sitting meditation. This practice expands on the base of embodied practice introduced there, bringing in mindfulness of breathing. We draw on the Sutra on Full Awareness of Breathing, or Anapanasati Sutta (Mn118). As the name implies these instructions take the breath as the main object of awareness, and constitute a core practice of Buddhist Yoga. They are beneficial in the cultivation of a body and mind which is calm, placing the practitioner in touch with the parasympathetic nervous system, fundamentally down-regulating, and a helpful antidote to experiences of strong flooding emotions. The practice shared here are very general and introductory, suitable for any level of practitioner. They can be practiced sitting on a cushion on the floor, on a chair, or even lying down. The emphasis here is again one of cultivation of relaxation, ease and continuity of awareness.

Audio: Basic breath Awareness

Guided Meditation with Br. Tenzin: Basic Breath Awareness

“Your breath is your life raft in a stormy ocean, the anchor keeping you in your body. Follow your breath and notice what is happening in your body. Feel your abdomen rising and falling. When we are very upset, our breathing may be fast and shallow and our chest may heave. Just focus on these bodily sensations. Become aware of any constrictions in the body, any tightness or pain, and do your best to breathe into those places and release the tension. Keep your awareness on your bodily sensations and the flow of your breathing. Do not try to change or force anything; just become aware of what is happening. Your breathing will naturally start to calm down, and your mind and body will begin to relax and calm down as well.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

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