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Mindfulness of breathing

Try and breathe like the Buddha with this basic meditation technique.
Plan a session with this activity

Before you begin

  • This is a great opportunity to invite a local faith leader along to your session. You’ll find detailed advice in the Buddhist beliefs You could also try Print a prayer flag as part of this session.
  • If you’re not able to arrange a visit from a faith leader as part of the session, we’ve included some brief information about Buddhism below. If everyone has access to the internet, ask the group to do their own research and share what you find out.

 

Get comfortable

  1. This activity will use some of the techniques from the Anapanasati Sutta, a Buddhist sacred text, to guide you through basic mindful breathing.
  2. Everyone should get ready for mindful breathing by:
    • finding a space
    • sitting down with their legs crossed
    • sitting up tall with their back straight
    • putting their hands on their knees, or their right hand on top of their left with palms facing upwards
    • closing their eyes
    • keeping their mind on your breath and trying not to let it wander.

Be mindful

  1. Everyone should sit still with their body relaxed.
  2. Everyone should breathe out slowly through their mouth, then close their mouth. From now on we will be breathing only through our noses.
  3. Everyone should inhale as normal, then exhale while counting to one in their head. Inhale again and count to two on the next breath out. Count up to ten this way, making each breath longer and longer.
  1. When you reach ten, begin counting before the breath in, starting with one count and building the length of the breath up. Breathe out through your nose as normal.
  2. Repeat the counting, or just focus on the breath as it comes in and out. Try to inhale, then pause, still thinking only about the Then exhale, and pause before the next inhale.
  3. Pay attention to the subtle sensation at the tip of the nose where the breath first enters and last leaves the body. If thoughts come into your mind, focus on your breath again.

Pair and share

  1. Everyone should find a partner and talk about how they felt during the mindful breathing, or how they feel now. Does anyone practice mindful breathing or meditation as part of their normal routine?
  2. Everyone should join with other pairs to form small groups. Every group should think about some of the things they’ve learned about Buddhism and meditation.
  3. Every group should discuss how Buddhists’ use of meditation (as a form of prayer or worship) compares to their own beliefs. Come up with one similarity and one difference between their beliefs or values and what Buddhists believe. Think about how different people pray or worship as part of their faith, if they have one.
  4. Every group should share the main points from their discussion.

Reflection

This activity was a chance to reflect on and develop beliefs and values. Sometimes it can be really useful to chat about these with friends and share them with each other. Sharing can help people see what they have in common and help them work together better as a team. What values did the whole group share? Did any of them match any Scout values?

This activity was also about being an international citizen and connecting with people from other faiths and parts of the world. It isn’t just Buddhists who meditate or practice mindfulness: these activities can have a positive effect on anyone’s physical and mental state. Some people find that it helps with things like restlessness or anxiety too. Ask everyone how they found the session. Was it difficult to stay still or concentrate? Did anyone feel easily distracted? See if anyone can think of any other ways they relax or practice mindfulness. If they enjoyed the meditation, challenge everyone to try it again in their own time over the next week.

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.