Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a short mindfulness-practice, easy to learn and simple to apply in daily life. It takes around three minutes and, after practicing it at home a couple of times, you can do it in every situation to find back to mindfulness.

Sanduhr - Breathing SpaceThe exercise has three sections, symbolized by an hourglass very nicely:

  • gather awareness (broad)
  • hold attention in your center (tight)
  • expand attention (broad)
Bring the basic principles of mindfulness to your mind before you start the practice. Exercise deliberately  Now! Here! and try not to judge (hastily).

Part 1

  1. sit (or stand) upright
  2. close your eyes (if it’s more comfortable: except for a small gap)
  3. recognise your emotions, thoughts and the sensations of your body

Try not to judge but simply realise the sensations thoughts and emotions – even if they are unpleasant. This deactivates the “autopilot” and leads your attention to your entire body.

Part 2

  1. now “tighten” your attention to your breath
  2. feel how your breath is moving your stomach – your center
  3. try to hold your attention at your center for one minute

lead your thoughts explicitly to your breath if your thoughts should straggle: “I breathe in … I breathe out …”.

Part 3

  1. now slowly expand your attention to the entire body
  2. let your breath take a backseat and watch your sensations, emotions and thoughts
  3. open your eyes widely

You could be very relaxed after the exercise maybe even sleepy. That’s good but can be inappropriate for some situations (driving a car!). In this case it is helpful to stretch yourself – like getting out of bed. This way you keep your attention and you are “back to 100%”.