Where to Focus Attention in Hong-Sau


I find myself trying to place my attention on different areas where the breath flows (i.e. nostrils, root of the nose, spiritual eye) during the Hong Sau Technique. This leads me to restlessness as I find my attention moving from one place to another. When I do focus on one physical area, however, I find it more difficult to watch the breath so I often end up identifying with it for a whole meditation. Can you offer some advice please? : )

—Dan, USA


Dear Dan,

In Hong-Sau, choose one place to focus on the breath (the place where you most easily feel the breath passing), and stay with it until you feel your breath most easily at a different, higher location. Keep moving higher in the nose in this way, ideally never lower (although that can happen if, for example, something external disrupts your meditation). At some point, you’ll find yourself focusing on the breath as it passes through the bridge of the nose, or even inside the nasal cavity; that’s a good place to stay.

To avoid identifying with the breath, always be the observer, not the breather. Pull back, very impersonally, as if to say, “I am not breathing. Breathing is simply happening, and I’m observing it.” Be very interested, but keep yourself separate, just as the breeze is palpably separate from you when you are outdoors, so you don’t identify with it. In this way you should be able to avoid identifying with the breath.