"The mind is the king of the senses, but the breath is the king of the mind." -B.K.S. Iyengar
How well do you know your own breath? It is usually not something we pay attention to very much throughout the day. Did you know that, on average, we take between 17,000-30,000 breaths per day? When we begin to notice and become aware of our breath more intimately, it allows us to have greater insight into what is going on in our brains and bodies. Last week, we learned about how quickly our attention can wander off and get lost without even realizing it. One way to train our minds to be more present is by picking a target and resting our attention on that target.
The breath as a target for our mental training is great for a number of reasons. The first is that the breath is a portable training tool. It is with us wherever we go, and it is always accessible. Whether we're at home, at work, in the gym, on a plane, or in the car, we can tune into the breath and train our minds. Another second benefit is that the breath is always in the present moment. If we can train ourselves to focus our attention on "just this breath," as Sharon Salzburg says, it allows us bring ourselves back to this moment and what is going on with this breath. Peak performance can only occur in the present moment, and the more we can drive ourselves to be present, the more likely we are to be successful. A third reason to use the breath as a target is that the breath can tell us all we need to know about what we may be experiencing in the moment. The depth of our breaths, the rate of our breathing, and the location the air is traveling, either in the chest or in the belly, all point to the breath being the"king of the mind."
As we continue to press forward and train our minds to be more present and focused, let's use the breath as a target and up the ante by training for five minutes this week. Don't worry though-- we're providing the five minutes for you to follow. Just click the link below!
Click here to access the training for the week! (The track "5 Min Breath Focus" is located at the top of the Monday Mentality page. Just click play!)