I am meditating now for a year 30min/day sessions, mainly focusing on the breath in sinus area (root of the nose, near third eye). I feel the breath more clearly on the in breath, coolness, slight pressure. But not so clearly on the out breath. I could also hear my breath inwardly when I got (in the course of a meditation session) more quiet, the voice of the breath gets louder. Could you evaluate my practice? Am I doing it right? Is the 30min/day session sufficient? How long will it take (in years) to see changes?
—Benedikt Kaffanke, Germany
Thank you for checking in about your practice. I can respond to it according to the meditation technique that is given to us by the yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda.
After sitting up right, with the spine erect and body relaxed, we begin the practice with a few breathing techniques to relax the body and mind, ending with taking a deep breath.
1. When the breath begins to flow again, begin to observe its movement, without any attempt to control it. Notice the place at which you can observe the breath in your body — whether in the lungs, in the nostrils, or sinuses.
Be an impartial observer, not caring whether it flows in or out or remains stationary. Simply remain attentive to whatever the breath does by itself, naturally. Moving the forefinger of the right hand in for inhalation and out for exhalation may be helpful for helping you tune into the breath.
2. Follow the inhalation with the mantra Hong (pronounced to rhyme with song) and the exhalation with the mantra Sau (pronounced like saw). Repeat the mantra mentally only. Be careful not to move the lips or tongue. Hong-Sau is a Sanskrit mantra meaning “I am He” or “I am Spirit.”
3. As your practice deepens, begin to enjoy the pauses between the inhalations and the exhalations, when the breath is not flowing. Do not actively hold the breath in or out. As many times as your mind wanders away from Hong-Sau, bring it gently back to the technique.
4. After your period of practice of this technique (5-10 minutes is fine for beginners, gradually increasing the time as you go) inhale and exhale 3 times, and then leave the breath out as long as is comfortable. Then begin breathing normally.
5. Throughout the practice, keep your eyes closed and looking upward towards the point between the eyebrows; don’t strain your eyes; let them relax!
6. After completing your practice of Hong-Sau, be sure to sit in silence and stillness for at least as long as you practiced the technique. Practice devotion, inward chanting, visualization, or prayer.
In this technique, you begin to feel the breath wherever you notice it in the nostrils. Gradually as the breath slows down, you will feeling it higher and higher in the nose. We add the mantra Hong-Sau, which has a calming effect on the mind.
If you feel comfortable, you can lengthen your practice, especially, the Being part of meditation, after you let go of the technique, and sit in the silence, gazing at the point between the eyebrows, and absorbing yourself in one of the divine qualities of God. (Peace, calmness, love, joy, light, sound, power, wisdom). Changes can happen right away. You can feel more peace, deeper concentration, and more happy. When you practice, engage your heart and your mind. Avoid mechanical practice. Practice with peace, with joy. By doing so, you will benefit more from the practice.
Here is a video of this guided meditation that might help you:
You can also download our free Meditation App, with variety of guided meditations.
Blessings on your practice,