Help with hong-sau technique

Question

I become restless when I practice Hong-Sau technique. Each time I concentrate on my breath, I begin to breathe faster, as if I was doing heavy physical work. Please let me know how I can solve this problem.

—prashant malik, India

Answer

Many people are used to becoming tense when they concentrate. One key to hong-sau, and all meditation techniques, is relaxation. Check to see that the body is relaxed, and that you are sitting upright so that the breathing can be full and natural. While concentrating on the breath and the mantra, mentally relax and enjoy the peace that hong-sau produces.

We don’t usually think of deep concentration and relaxation happening at the same time, but in fact when we are engaged in something we enjoy — such as sports, reading a good book, watching a beautiful sunset — we are deeply relaxed and often deeply concentrated. Try to practice hong-sau, and all meditation, with that combination of concentration and relaxation.