Anapana Instructions

Keep your attention in either the area below the nostrils and above the upper lip—or the area just inside the entrance of your nostrils. Remain aware of any sensation, or lack of sensation, in this area both during and between breaths. Do not think about your breath on an intellectual level, or think ‘in’ and ‘out’ as you breathe; focus only on the sensations in your nostrils. Your breathing should be natural, not intentionally changed.

Being distracted for long periods is normal, working through tough emotions is normal, just return your attention to the sensation or lack of sensation in the area of focus when you remember to.

That’s really all. The answer to questions like, “I am feeling some strange senstation/I am not feeling anything/I keep getting distracted and am distracted for 55 minutes out of every hour I meditate/ I keep remembering past trauma and it’s really painful”, is universally that you should continue meditating, and just shift your attention back to the sensation of your breath whenever you remember to. Those experiences are normal, and you should keep meditating, just as you were.

If you’re physically uncomfortable, you can try changing positions: it’s encouraged to meditate either on a cushion, on a stand, or by sitting on the edge of a chair with straight posture. It’s important to be physically comfortable, and if you need a five minute stretch break mid-session, that’s fine. It’s much more comfortable to meditate on a cushion or stand if your knees are both lower than your pelvis, as such:

The point of anapana meditation is ultimately inner animal control, so it’s very important you meditate to a timer and do not get up before the timer goes off. I recommend meditating a minimum of two hours a day. If it feels like you’re having to fight your inner animal to make this happen, that’s normal, this is supposed to be a total war.