A meditation by Hanneli Ågotsdatter
AUDIO FILE · Duration: 13 min
Our breath, on the one hand, is a biological automatism. When we are born, we breathe in for the first time, and we die with the last exhalation. The breath is thus one of the threads connecting all the events of our lives, a thread that takes place spontaneously.
On the other hand, breathing is very sensitive, it changes with the slightest shift in our state of mind, and is thus one of the bridges connecting our physical body to our psyche.
Inhalation and exhalation are also closely linked to our experience of vitality, to the movement of energy in our body.
To raise awareness of the breathing, therefore, is to raise awareness of one of the deepest aspects of our being: how it feels to be alive.
In this meditation, we explore the breath in three steps:
The first step is simply to become aware of the breath as it unfolds moment by moment. To follow the breathing without interfering. Bringing awareness to this process of inhaling and exhaling, thus making it the object of our attention.
The second step is to follow, attentively, the movement of the breath in the body. Becoming aware of how each breath not only involves the lungs, but also touches all internal organs and ultimately the entire body.
In this step we learn how the breath and sense of vitality are closely linked. By bringing attention to the fact that with each inhalation we enliven the body, and at each exhalation we have an opportunity for relaxation, an opportunity that is founded in our nervous system.
In the third step, we engage with the realm of breath in a deeper sense, exploring if a deeper and fuller breathing rythm is available to us right now. Following the expansion of every inbreath until it naturally ends, and follow the release of the outbreath as long as it last.
For, eventually, to bring some of the presence and breath awareness from this practice into our everyday life and our interaction with others.
This practice is created as a part of the Certification Program at the Center for Systems Awareness.
M.A., psychotherapist, architect and meditation teacher. She is the founder of Kontemplation which offers MBSR-programs and group retreats where mindfulness, presence yoga, compassion and creativity are interwoven into an integrated practice.
She is a part of the organizational group behind The Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children, an association placing special emphasis on relational competence, teaching the practice of empathy and presence to professionals working with children and young people.
Hanneli lives at Vækstcenteret, a contemplative community in Denmark under the guidance of founder Jes Bertelsen. She divides her time between counseling, teaching, and long-term individual meditation retreats.