So many different authors have shared the Three Minute Breathing Space in different ways – but I’ve chosen Shamash Alidina’s version as in his book Mindfulness for Dummies he describes this meditation really well. He suggests that this Meditation acts as bridge between Formal Mindfulness practice like a Body Scan Meditation or a Longer Seated Meditation, and your Informal Mindfulness Practice when doing daily tasks such as washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. It’s like checking in to your body and mind to see what’s going on, what you are feeling, what you are thinking.
Couple of things to note before you start on this. I started with this in a fairly formal way – so I made myself do this Meditation 2-3 times a day – just to get into the habit. My Trigger point was when I went to make a cup of tea. Once I got the hang of it, I found I was turning to it whenever I felt the need to – and sometimes time permitting this became a 5 or 10-minute breathing space. Adapt it to suit your needs. We are all different – as long as it works for you.
The A, B, C of The Three-Minute Breathing Space
• Practice each of the steps for about one minute each.
• First start by sitting upright, (or if standing – stand tall). If you feel safe to, close your eyes.
Step A: Awareness
Bring your awareness to your internal experience and ask yourselves the following questions:
• What are my thoughts at the moment?
Acknowledge these thoughts but don’t get caught up in them.
• What emotions am I feeling at the moment?
Acknowledge these emotions – comfortable or uncomfortable – no need to try and change them.
• What body sensations am I feeling at the moment?
How does my body feel? Am I carrying any tension or tightness in my body? Acknowledge these sensations – but do not try to change them – just accept them.
Step B: Breathing
• Now focus on your breathing.
• Take time to give attention to each breath – from the time you breathe in to the time you breathe out. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen as you inhale and exhale.
• If you find your mind wandering do not worry. Acknowledge that your mind has wandered, but don’t judge yourself. Be kind to yourself. Gently bring your mind back to your breathing and your abdomen – and carry on.
Step C: Consciously Expanding
Now take your awareness from your abdomen and consciously expand to the rest of your body. Be aware of your posture, face – feeling the whole body breathing. If you feel any sensations or tensions in your body, acknowledge them, breathe into them and then breathe out the tensions. Don’t try and change anything – just be aware. In that moment accept what is, what your body is and what you are feeling. You are in full present moment awareness.
Adapted from Mindfulness for Dummies – S. Alidina