|Posted by Jamie Sparks on January 29, 2012 at 11:30 PM|
Anapanasati is a core practice of many traditional Buddhist meditations, as well as many western mindfulness practices. This is a practice of breath awareness, not breath manipulation. According to tradition, Anapanasati was originally taught by the Buddha in several sutras including the Ānāpānasati Sutta. Anapanasati (Anapana-breath and sati-awareness or mindfulness) means to feel the sensations caused by the movements of the breath in the body, as is practiced in the context of mindfulness. This meditation is frequently used for its simplicity in instruction and understanding.
To begin your practice of Anapanasati, find a comfortable seated position, with a long spine. Hands resting in your lap. Now begin by taking a few deep breaths to relax. With your your spine lengthening out of your hips and the belly soft, being to breathe normally through your nose, bringing awareness to your inhalations and exhalations. Try to find a spot where your breath is most noticeable. This may be your chest, belly, throat, the tips of your nostrils, or elsewhere. Follow your breath as it moves in and out of you. This is not a breathing exercise in that you are manipulating the breath, but rather you are observing, feeling and noticing your natural breath. As you observe your breath, count your breath from 1-10. "inhale, exhale,1 ; inhale, exhale, 2 " and so on. Each time you lose track of your count, start over. The monkey mind likes to keep us activley thinking and during this meditation it is no different. This is a great aid in focusing and calming the monkey mind (our active thoughts that jump around all over the place). Use the counting ass tools to help you maintain a focus on your breathing. Do not let them become the object of your focus. Practicing anapansati can help you to be calm and clear during stressful or overwhelming times.
Here is an additional link if you are interested in very specific details on Zazen, Anapanasati meditation: