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Mindfulness Meditation: Controlling Breathing


Hi all,

I've recently been getting back into mindfulness meditation. If you've never done it/heard of it, you might find this video compelling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzR62JJCMBQ

One of the barriers I face with my practice is my incessant need to control my breathing. When I notice breath, it won't be long before I'm controlling it rather than letting it 'breathe itself' (which is what it had been doing for years prior to my becoming aware of it).

My question is, Has anyone here had similar experiences? And if they had, how did they get from where I am (with control anxiety) to where they are (allowing the breath to flow freely)?



2 posts in 4 years. You might be the best lurker yet.


One of the best things I used to do was a bike ride, actually starting with conscious control of the breathing, the pedal strokes and surroundings. Then imagining all of my body parts steadily disappearing as ground is being covered, starting with the feet and working my way up to the head, then just cruising along at a steady relaxed state. Knock out a good 30 or 40 miles and feel like the weight of the world was removed from my chest.

I kinda stole the concept from the whirling dervishes achievement of a trancelike state through repetative motion (pedaling).


Usually for myself I found not even focusing on anything was the key, to just close my eyes and be, just leave everything to its normal functioning and connect with that part that is already at peace and still now. Sometimes bringing awareness to the breath if you find yourself getting too lost in imagination and thought patterns to re direct attention, as well as letting all repressed emotions that come up just have their space and not trying to alter the experience.


Yes, I think I can take that title.

Thanks for your replies!


Wanna bet? :wink:


haha! Greatness


It takes time and practice. It may help to think of watching someone else breathe.
The attitude you have going into meditation is very important; if you are straining for results, you will create tension and defeat the whole purpose.


Oh shiiiiiit!


Meditation is the best thing ever. It's more rewarding than weightlifting.


Concentration on the process of breathing is absolutely not the way to do mindfulness meditation.

I've been meditating for a while, and mindfulness is just one of many many methods.

Mindfulness meditation works what is called the "open aspect' of attention, where you are concentrating on yourself, not on something external - like say a picture of jesus or buddha, or even on the breath. It is designed be a mental workout so to speak, to improve this open concentration but also improves the ability to be less judgemental towards yourself bc it practices making a note of yourself without reflection, and this taking of note without reflection or judgement becomes a bit more of a standard mental process so that you can be more aware of your body. You can judge yourself later all you like but that ain't the way to do mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness meditation is also one of the hardest kinds of meditation to do IMHO, bc the act of concentrating on yourself vs something else is more easily broken by a noise, or whatever.

Anyway, all you have to do is sit or lie down somewhere (I prefer to lie down) away from your bed, bc all you do on the bed is hump or sleep mostly, so the pattern might just make you want to sleep more than anything or be a bit lazy with your meditation.

Just lie down, and concentrate on:
1. The sensations of lying down
2. The sounds that you hear - I prefer a pretty quiet place but if there are a few sounds from neighbors or whatever then that is fine
3. Your thoughts - this is the best one to do imo

  1. The sensations of lying down- When you do this just break your body down into sections, and start with, say, your arms and shoulders. You should feel a bit more or less pressure in different points, just try to to feel that and take note of it. Does your back feel better/worse while lying down? How much better?

  2. Same as with taking note of the sensations, you need to take note of every sound, after you do this for a few minutes you should start to pay more attention to the various textures of the sounds, and take a note of the birds chirping, how the pitch rises and falls depending on what tehy are trying to "say" or whatever.

3,. Your thoughts-- In meditation we have this concept of the "monkey mind" where your thoughts just naturally erupt in your brain while you are trying to meditate, i.e. what the wife will be making for dinner, paying a bill, etc etc etc. Just take a note of every thought that you think, and when you say "Hey, I just thought about xyz". Well that's fine, and it's also the aspect of mindfulness meditation. So keep doing that.

To keep the noticeable affect, it takes time, just like anything else. 4X a week, 30 min per session should do you if you want to take the affect of the meditation with you throughout the week. But just doing it say once a week wont have a lasting effect.


I found this resource to be invaluable when I first began my mindfulness meditation.



Bong rips and listening to aerosmith. Walk this way talk this way sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet emotionnnnnnnnnnnnnn.


One of the things that I do is focus on my lower belly and just try to stay relaxed through the sphincter and lower abs (no joke) on every exhale.

Then with every breathing cycle, I'm focused more on relaxing/no muscular tension than the actual inhale/exhale.


Yah, that's generic meditation, just like concentrating on your breath.... as opposed to mindfulness variety that develops mindfulness and lets u be more aware of your own thoughts.....but theuofh, that could be an aid against ADHD if you've ever had that....... i mean practicing concentration sounds like the antithesis to attention deficits.


I've done something similar while running. One is to get going at a pace where I hop on to the invisible moving sidewalk and I'm just floating on top once I catch the groove.

Another one is where I slowly replace my legs and nervous system with cybernetics, air cylinders and wiring and visualize all the mechanics I think are necessary to make myself move--adjusting levers and voltages and pulse timings to increase stride, decrease contact time or jump higher and it all comes from a colour coded visual of my brain (that's a light summary version) Before I know it I've ran 4-5 miles and never even noticed.


I've been meditating for a little over a year now and I'm part of a Buddhist meditation center. I'm a huge fan of the Buddha and try to shape my life around his teachings as best possible.

Anyway, I struggled with controlling the breath for the longest time. My advice is just to be aware of it. Keep bringing awareness to it and return back to the breath. Over time you'll learn to let go. That's the beauty of this practice. You might want to try focusing somewhere else in the mean time...like focusing on your hands or somewhere else where you won't feel the need to control so much. However, I think if you stick to the practice and you're consistent enough you'll overcome this need to control and your practice will be much more soothing. It takes time. I'm finally at a point where sitting for half an hour seems like not much. I remember when I started doing 30 minutes seemed impossible...like an eternity. I need to up my daily practice, but as you can tell I'm a huge fan of meditation and think everyone should practice.