The three-minute breathing space meditation is one of the foundational Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) practices. MBSR, founded by John Kabat Zinn in 1979, was designed to provide intensive mindfulness meditation training to help people respond more effectively to stress, pain, illness, and psychological difficulties.
In this expanded version of the three-minute breathing space meditation, we begin by observing inner experiences of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations as they are happening. The middle phase of the meditation is spent connecting to and focusing on the breath. The final phase of the meditation is expanding awareness to observe all sensations and the body as a whole.
The Hourglass Shape of the Breathing Space
Because this practice begins with expanded awareness of what is happening in the moment, and then narrows in on the breath, and expands once more to the entire body, it has been described as having an hourglass shape.
Imagining the meditation in the shape of an hourglass is a helpful way to remember the three phases of the meditation if your goal is to learn to practice this meditation on your own without guidance (which I highly recommend!) One of the many benefits of meditation is that it is free, portable, and easy to learn!
This practice is designed to, not only quiet your mind, but to aid you in strengthening your ability to guide your awareness where you want it to go, to focus on one thing at a time, and to allow things to be just as they are without judgment.
This meditation can be practiced daily, or in moments when life seems to be spiraling out of control.
Benefits of this practice include:
- Grounds you in the present moment
- Strengthens mindfulness
- Decreases stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increases self-compassion
- Enhances emotion regulation and self-control
- Improves concentration and mental clarity
- Enhances overall sense of well-being
Try practicing the Expanded Three Minute Breathing Space Mediation once a day for 7 days as a way to enhance your personal meditation practice. If you are short on time, you can always do the regular Three Minute Breathing Space Meditation.
Have questions or comments about meditation? I’d love to hear from you! You can ask questions, leave comments, or just say hi in the comment section below.