OK, so we are set up on the ground in the recommended position. What happens next?

The most basic time-honoured technique is simply to focus on the sound of your own breathing:

  • breathe in
  • slight pause
  • breathe out
  • slight pause
  • breathe in etc.

Don’t fight against other thoughts that may arise, but don’t pursue them either. Keep bringing your attention back to that breathing.

This is all you need to make good progress. But you can add some additional techniques for better effectiveness.

For example, count in time with each outbreath: 1-10 or 1-15, then try doing this backwards.

Or try our old friend: do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do.

  1. Breathe in on each syllable,
  2. hold the breath for the count of six
  3. breathe out again.
  4. breathe normally.

OR try a simple drum beat.

OR try single musical notes, say on a piano, for each outbreath, with a random pattern of different pitches.

Another idea: try a variant on progressive relaxation. In time with each breath again, slight tweak one finger, then the next, then the next. When you have worked through all the fingers, rest for a moment, then work through them again, this time tweaking each one in synch with one of your toes. Try different patterns and combinations. I call this ‘digital progressive relaxation’.

But above all else – ring the changes! And alternate between bursts of concentration and simply resting and listening to each breath.

These types of focus points are a good method for getting down to the ground-state. But once you get there, you will not need them for a while, so just hold steady and keep breathing.