If you would like to find out more about global Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh and his practices, The Community of Interbeing are a network of people in the UK who practise mindfulness according to his teachings. 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