Using the Power of the Breath
by Joel Levey

Throughout this program you will encounter many references to the breath. Awareness of your breathing is a deceptively simple yet powerful tool for focusing the power of your mind and body.

You will breathe approximately 21,600 breaths in an average day. Properly attended to, each breath can become an opportunity to relax and let go of tension.

As you practice the fine art of relaxation, you will learn to use the breath as a tool to integrate the functions of your mind and body.

With practice, you will develop confidence in your ability to remain powerfully poised in the calm, centered strength of awareness of the here and now. You will come to understand the direct relationship between your state of mind and your patterns of breathing.

There is no need to control the breath, to make it different than it is. Sometimes you may want to take a few deep breaths to energize your attention at the beginning of a session.

But in general, it is best to simply let your attention rest on the flow of breath, allowing it to find its own natural rhythm and pace. Attempting to control or force your breathing improperly will only imbalance your body and create a sense of distress in your mind.

When you are practicing relaxation techniques, you may notice that your attention sometimes wanders to other things. At these times, it is helpful to focus your mind by simply bringing your attention back to the flow of your breath for a few moments - watching it flow in and out in a continuous cycle.

This strategy is profoundly effective. Simply breathe and be aware of your breathing.

Remember ... rely on the breath as your constant companion -- a friend who is always there to remind you -- to remind you to wake up, to pay attention, and to focus the power of your mind into effective action in the present moment.

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