We can develop our own variations of the basic modes (1). Unless otherwise stated, breathing in and out, is through the nose. Wherever possible, practice with your eyes closed, for better impact.
Counting with ‘One thousands’: “I just take deep, slow breaths and count ‘one, one thousand’, ‘two, one thousand’, ‘three, one thousand’ ….and repeat. I very seldom need to repeat more than three times to fall back to sleep, after waking up in the night. ” (7)
Visualizing mode: Visualize the the little finger. Breathe in and out three times while retaining the image of the little finger in your mind. Repeat this process for the other four fingers of one hand, visualizing one finger after another and breathing three times at each image. Then switch to the other hand and repeat the same process. Continue practicing, switching the hands. You can do this even when eyes are open and looking ahead. Who gave this idea? (3)
Engaging the idle hand: When using the left hand for tracking the breaths, keep the tips of the index finger and thumb of the right hand, in light contact. When using the right hand, keep the tips of the index finger and thumb of the left hand, in light contact. After a few months of practice, just touching the tips of the thumb and index finger may trigger the calming effect of ‘focusing on breathing’.
Numberless three breaths: This is an advanced version of the ‘Counting mode’ (8). Watch the out-breath without counting till its end. Then breathe in. Repeat this pattern two more times. You will instinctively know when you complete three breaths even without counting. Everything else is same as in the ‘counting mode’. You can use this variation when practicing the ‘Tip mode’ and ‘Segment mode’. Try this after the regular modes become an established habit.
I was practicing the regular modes of ’focusing on breathing’ (1) in the morning, as a part of the waking up routine (6) on the bed. The practice was calming and loosening the stiff muscles all over when practiced for longer times up to 45 minutes to one hour. But I realized that in the morning, I needed to wake up my muscles and stretch them, not rest them. More at (5).
If you find these variations useful, you can devise your own variations and combinations. Let me know, so I can list it here and acknowledge your contribution.
(1) How can I ‘focus on breathing’?
(2) Folding mode
(3) I introduced the ‘Tip mode’ to a cashier in the UPS store I visit periodically. After a long time, he told me that he was using this ‘visualizing mode’. He devised it on his own. He smilingly said he was too lazy to move his fingers.
(4) Tip mode
(5) Dynamic modes
(6) Waking up routine
(7) Contributed by Max Thornton who attended my seminar at the East Greenbush Library earlier.
(8) Counting mode
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Share your own variations and let me acknowledge your contribution.
Parent page: How can I focus on breathing?