So first I want to start by saying that I'm in now way shape or form an authoritarian figure when it comes to meditation or mindfulness , I just acknowledge the power it has to help me grow and I enjoy reading and learning more about it.
With that said I want to give a tip to those who may be struggling with controlling or manipulating the breath when meditating. To get out of the habit of controlling the breath you need catch the breath during the day , meaning you need another point of focus something that requires your attention. My tip and suggestion is to find something slightly mundane you can do , for instance what worked for me was reading a paperback book(not an ebook). What I did was set time with NO distractions in silence to read , as I read in silence my mind would wander and I would bring my attention back to the book (sounds like meditation I know), while I read in silence I came to notice my NATURAL breathing without controlling it. I was amazed at how my breathing was so subtle on the out breath but the in breath the sensations were more noticeable.
Steps for this :
- Find something slightly mundane that would require your attention , instead of reading it can be washing the dishes or something of the like. Try to avoid anything too stimulating like watching tv since you may just get too absorbed in the program and forget to catch your breath.
- Set time and space where you can have silence to do it.
- Set the intention of wanting to observe your breath at some point during the activity. Then don't think about your intention once the activity starts, focus solely on the activity. So if you're typing up a paper, concentrate on typing the paper. The reason is because you don't want to become obsessed and start controlling the breath from the beginning.
- When you finally notice your natural breathing don't try to change it. The conscious mind likes to act like it knows everything like " hmm your breathing to soft …therefore your breathing is incorrect. You must breathe deeply" , lol don't be fooled by your own mind. If your breathing is soft then it's soft , if your breathing is deep then you breathe deep.
This worked for me really well I hope this helps someone out there regarding this common problem. Let me know if this works for any of you because it truly worked for me and I stopped obsessing about controlling my breath.