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Wellness

15-Minute Guided Zen Breath Meditation

We’ve all got 15 minutes to spare in our day — even if it means less scrolling though Instagram! Trust us, this is a much more valuable way to kill time.

‘Zen Breath’ is a type of present moment awareness meditation. This form of meditation may be slightly different than what you are used to practicing or what typically comes to mind when you think about meditation. Rather than sitting in a traditional cross-legged position with the eyes closed, Zen Breath is meant to be practiced in a Burmese, Seiza, or half-lotus position with the eyes slightly open and the gaze down in front of you.

Burmese posture: Sit on the forward edge of a Zafu or Gomden and cross the legs so that one foot is placed in front of the other, making sure both knees are planted solidly on the ground; this posture is slightly out of balance, so you’ll want to alternate which foot is in front each time you meditate.

Seiza posture: This is the traditional Japanese sitting posture; place a Zafu or Gomden between your ankles and sit back on the cushion, opening the knees as wide as you’d like, creating a stable tripod base for your practice.

Half- and full lotus posture: For half lotus, begin by sitting in a traditional cross-legged position, also known as Easy Pose, and then use your hands to bring one foot up onto the opposite thigh, resting shin to shin. For full lotus, bring both feet up onto the opposite thigh, with both knees resting on the ground. Do not force this posture if you have tight hips. It’s important to note that you should not practice in half- or full lotus position unless you are an experienced yogi.

The reason for keeping the eyes open when practicing Zen Breath is to keep the mind open to every sensation around it — sight, smell, and sound — in addition to keeping the mind open to any thoughts that may come and go. Using one of the three aforementioned postures is important for keeping your body as comfortable and at ease as possible, while fostering a sense of presence and alertness. Molly sits in the Seiza posture on a gomden in this guided meditation.

Practicing Zen Breath meditation is a bit like driving a car — there is a lot going on at once, since you are keeping all of your senses open. Similarly to the process of learning to drive, Zen Breath can feel overwhelming, as if there are too many distractions and too many things to be aware of at once. But just like learning to drive, over time, the little things that once felt overwhelming become second nature, you just have to practice and give it time.

Ready to give it a go? Determine which sitting posture you’d like to try, and follow along with Molly. Happy meditating!

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April 24, 2019

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