Teri West, mindfulness teacher for the Community of Interbeing, gives us an insight into mindfulness techniques, with a simple breath exercise.

In Plum Village, our practice is simple. First, we learn how to breathe. We can start to connect with ourselves through the in-breath. The in breath is us. If you practice, the quality will improve. More gentle. More light. We use a gatha:

A gatha is like a mini-mantra - a word or sentence to simply carry on the breath, not to think or wonder about; a tool to bring mind and body into perfect harmony.  

While breathing in, saying to oneself 'In' or 'Aware of In-Breath' and while breathing out, 'Out'or 'Aware of Out-Breath' making the word last from the beginning, the end of the in- or out- breath - and so on:

In . . . . . Out   

Breathing in, we are aware of breathing in; breathing out, we are aware of breathing out

Deep. . . . .Slow  

As our in-breath grows deeper, our out-breath grows slower

Calm . . . . .Ease  

We can feel our mind grow calmer, our body easier

Smile . . . . .Release  

Allowing a half-smile to form on our lips, we can feel a release of tension

Present moment . . . . . Wonderful moment

Enjoying our breath, stopping, calming, we are truly alive

Teri West
Author and Mindfulness Teacher
Community of Interbeing

Teri West has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (author of 'The Miracle of Mindfulness' and over 100 other books on mindfulness practices) since 1988. While camping with friends who had worked with him in the 70s to support Vietnamese refugees in the UK, they received an unexpected invitation to visit his newly founded retreat centre, Plum Village (www.plumvillage.org) in France. She has studied and practised Thich Nhat Hanh's particular form of engaged buddhism ever since. She is an active member of his Community of Interbeing (www.coiuk.org), initiating and co-leading family-friendly retreats and leading days of mindfulness in the west country where she lives. She was recently ordained at Plum Village as a teacher. She is also a storyteller, singer/songwriter, workshop leader and clown, in the Nose to Nose (www.nosetonose.info)

´╗┐Photo Courtesy of Taz Kyprianou

Mindful Living Show Presentation
Friday 2nd June
Session Title: Managing the difficulties in developing a Mindfulness Practice