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Week 3 - Nourishing/Relaxing Breath Practice

Let’s begin by noticing your body posture at this moment and making adjustments to sit in an upright sitting position that would allow you to pay attention fully in the next few moments.

You can let go of anything you may be holding. Bring your feet flat on the floor, back straight but not stiff, shoulders relaxed, facial muscles relaxed, and hands resting comfortably on your thighs or in your lap. Let your eyes gently close.


Often it happens that our body can be here but our mind is still somewhere else. The intention of mindful centering is to bring our mind back to the body and to the present moment.

To do that, let’s take a few deep breaths as an invitation to bring the mind and body together. Take a deep breath through your nose, and let the breath come out through your mouth. Make the exhalation slow and long. Let’s do this two or three more times. Watch the body release as you exhalation slow and long.


As you do this you may notice that your mind starts to wander. You may start thinking about other things or noticing other sensations. If this happens, it’s not a problem. It's very natural. Just notice what you are paying attention to now without evaluating it as good as bad; then drop that object and  gently redirect your attention back to the breathing.

(short pause)

Now, let’s explore the different properties of our breath. When you breathe in it can be naturally refreshing and nourishing, while when you breathe out it can be naturally relaxing and calming. So, let’s play with that.

First, let your attention focus on breath as you inhale and feel the movement of the body with each breath.

Feel the qualities of your breath as it nourishes your body and provides your body with oxygen to support all of its functions.

Notice how your body gets refreshed as you breathe.


Also, remember that you will inevitably be quickly distracted by our thoughts or anything in the environment. This is not a problem because we are not trying to empty our mind, but rather we are learning to pay attention in the present moment, notice our distractions, and gently return back to it when our mind wanders.

(short pause)

Now, place your attention on the exhalations.

Notice that with each exhalation, your body is releasing what it doesn’t need anymore. Notice that this process happens effortlessly, without you having to do anything.

Gently follow the length of each exhalation, inviting the whole body to relax, to rest.

Let each exhalation bring you deeper into a sense of calming, relaxed presence.

No need to force anything, but rather just simply rest your mind on the rhythms of your exhalation.


Now, pay attention to the whole cycle of your breathe.

With each inhalation, your body gets refreshed and nourished.

With each exhalation, your body is allowed to relax, to release.

Let your breath flow at its own pace and just pay attention to that flow in and out. Notice the sensations of breathing.

(short pause)

When your mind wanders, , notice what was it that took your attention away, and then gently bring yourself back.

Here, we’re training our attention with gentleness.

When you notice your mind has wandered, gently come back to the full cycle of your breath.


Finally, let your awareness expand to notice the body as a whole.

Feel the gentle movements of your body with each breath in the chest and belly.

Feel the whole body breathing effortlessly on its own.


A few more moments of just paying attention to your whole body breathing with the rising and falling of each breath.

Now, slowly begin to allow movement to come into your fingers and toes, and then into the whole body, stretching gently, and then allowing the eyes to open when you’re ready. Take your time.


Week 3 - Nourishing/Relaxing Breath Practice
Collection The Art and Science of Human Flourishing - Fall 2017
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)