When you are first sitting down to meditate, it can be difficult to really relax. Ananda.org offers a tip to deal with this called the Tense and Relax exercise. In this exercise, you purposefully clench and tense up your whole body after a sharp inhalation of breath through your nose. Keep your body tense enough that you feel a kind of vibration of energy and continue to hold your breath for 5 seconds.
Now, release your breath and allow your body to relax as you mentally throw the tension away from you. Repeat this exercise several times in a row. Now you are ready to begin your meditation and you begin with some nice and even breathing. Start by inhaling while counting to 8. Hold your breath for another count of 8 and then slowly release it – again to a count of 8. Repeat this 3-5 times in preparation for your Hong-Sau mantra.
Using a Mantra in Your Meditation
Now wait for the next breath to come in of its own accord. When it does, mentally say Hong (rhymes with song). This time, don’t hold the breath, but exhale naturally. As you do, mentally say Sau (rhymes with saw).
Hong-Sau is an ancient Sanskrit mantra (a mantra is a word, syllable, or group of syllables, which can convey spiritual power when pronounced correctly, often with repetition). It means “I am He” or “I am Spirit.” Try to feel that your breath itself is silently making the sounds of Hong and Sau. (Full article here)
Allow your breath to flow naturally in and out. You are not counting anything at this point, but simply being with your breath. In the beginning, you will likely be most aware of the feeling of the flow of breath through your nostrils and perhaps as well on your chest and/or stomach moving in and out. This is fine to concentrate on for a little while, but soon, attempt to focus your attention on the space between your eyebrows. This is also knows as your ‘third eye’ and is an energy center that is connected to your spirit.
If your attention wanders, that is fine. When you notice, simply bring your focus back to that space between your eyebrows and allow your breath to flow naturally. You can finish out the Hong-Sau by breathing in through your nose and then out in three puffs from your mouth. Slowly open your eyes when ready.
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