“We found some dramatic differences between the group of experienced mind body practitioners
and the inexperienced group. Specifically, 2,209 genes in the experienced practitioners
were being expressed differently.  The genes that acted differently have been
associated with medical problems and premature aging.”
– Herbert, Benson, M.D., Relaxation Revolution

The aim of this exercise is to strengthen your ability to become mindful and present without holding the spotlight of attention on the distractions that compete for your awareness.  You will practice gently and repeatedly “returning and resting” with your breath as you breathe in and out… through the entire breath cycle.

You are welcome to use the guided exercises below OR to create your own mindful breathing experience.

While a 10-12 minute practice produces the Relaxation Response reported by Dr. Benson (above), it is important to do whatever amount of time you can maintain.  Nudge, don’t force yourself!  If it takes a year to work up to ten minutes… like it did for my husband… feel good about working toward and sustaining such a noble aim!  In the beginning, a strong Daily Practice is not about amount of time as much as it is about building a new brain habit.

Please leave a comment in the section below to let me know how I might make this a “better fit” exercise for you!


  • At the start, announce an aim for yourself… something like, “I’m going to take __ minutes to let go of any concerns and Return and Rest in my breath.” You will have plenty of time to return to your concerns later!
  • Use the Guided Exercises or create your own for that amount of time (and no more).
  • Keep your attention deliberately focused on the inhalations and exhalations, sensing the physical sensations that accompany them.
  • Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring it back to a focus on the breath cycle.  No need to judge you or your experience.  Simply return to the breath without encouraging evaluation.
  • At the end, take a couple of minutes reflect on your experience (perhaps writing it down in the Comments section!).  You strengthen your capacity for mindfulness through a brief process of recollection!

Guided Exercises

© Copyright 2013 Maria Hunt
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