These breathing meditations can be used all alone or after a Lamrim meditation as a prelim exercise to reduce your distractions.
The first stage of meditation involves blocking distractions and clearing out our brain and making it more rational. An easy meditation for breathing will make this possible. Sit in a comfortable position and a place that is calm for meditation. You could sit in the traditional way with your legs cross legged or in any other position that is comfortable position. You could also use a chair. The most important thing is to not bend your back to keep your mind from feeling sleepy.
Sit with your eyes partially shut and turn all your focus to your breathing. Breathe in naturally through your nostrils without controlling it and try to become aware of the breathing sensation as the breath comes in and out of your nostrils. This is the main aim of this meditation – to become aware of this breathing sensation. You must try to center on this sensation to the extent that everything else is excluded.
In the beginning, your brain will remain busy and you may feel as if this meditation is engaging your brain even more. However, in reality, you are only becoming more aware of your brain and its activities. You will be really tempted to observe all your thoughts as they emerge but you need to offer resistance to this and stay focused on the breathing sensation. If you find your brain wandering after your thoughts, return to your breathing immediately. You need to repeat this as many times as you like till your mind is only focused on breathing.
If you rehearse this with enough patience, gradually your distracting thoughts will diminish and you will achieve that inner ease and peace. You will feel as if your mind is spacious and you are bound to feel fresh. When the sea is choppy, the mud is continuously churning and the water gets murkier; but when the wind dies down, the mud settles down slowly and the water gets clearer. Similarly, the unstoppable flow of thoughts in our brain is quiet with focused breathing and our mind gets surprisingly clear. You need to stay in this mental state of calmness for sometime.
Even though this breathing meditation is just an initial phase, it is quite powerful. This practice proves that you can achieve inner contentment and peace with practice when you learn to command your mind without depending on any external factors.
Once this turbulence of unsettling thoughts reduces and your brain reaches a content and happy state, these feelings of peace will be natural for you. This feeling of wellbeing and happiness will help you to cope with your busy and troubled everyday life. Most of the tension that you face in a day stems from your brain and all issues that we go through including health problems are a result of this stress. Simple breathing meditation for about 15 minutes a day will help you to drastically cut down on this stress. You will experience a nice peaceful space in your brain which will result in most of your common issues just fading away. Difficult situations will become easy to deal with and you will naturally feel warm and agreeable towards others. This means that your relationships will also become better with time!