According to martial arts lore: “He who controls his breath, controls his destiny.”
Doesn’t this sound a bit far-fetched?
First gain complete mastery of your own breath – under all circumstances. Then survey your destiny, and you will have your answer…
Because this exercise is so simple, it is tempting to allow the mind to wander off leash – yet the point of this exercise is precisely NOT to allow the mind to wander, to get used to sitting at ease inside a vacant mind. It is not an easy task to master, yet even in braving the challenge day by day, we can make tremendous progress in controlling our breath, clearing and focusing our mind while nurturing peace and poise within and without.
Choose a quiet, uncluttered place where you will not be disturbed. Sit so that the spine is straight, yet relaxed. Close the eyes and focus all attention on your breath.
Breathe in and out through the nostrils, with the feeling that you are breathing from the diaphragm and lower abdomen, rather than the chest: when you breathe, your shoulders should remain still, and not move up and down at all. Breathing from the diaphragm helps us to breathe more deeply and effectively, making it easier to relax and focus for longer.
Focus on making the ebb and flow of breath – in and out – as smooth and regular as possible, so that the air is flowing at one consistent speed.
Make your breath so calm that it would not disturb a tiny thread dangling right in front of your nostrils. Focus on an imaginary thread and consciously watch it remain immobile, motionless as your breath flows around it.
Allow no other thought to intrude. Simply breathe. Five minutes daily, unfailingly. Control your breath: control your destiny.