What is silence? Does it mean complete absence of sound or is it prohibiting someone from speaking? Or does it mean a person is trying to self-heal by staying calm? Due to our hectic lifestyle, we end up having a mental breakdown.

Silence and quietness are, thus, a precious commodity these days.

We also yearn for inner or mental peace. But mental peace can happen only if your mind lets you. Keeping your mind silent is an art. Concentration on breathing is a fundamental part of every meditation practice. The idea is to stay focussed on the natural rhythm of breathing, keeping track of the air as it moves in and out as we inhale and exhale. Yogic literature says that this allows one to let go of all the anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity and fears while staying silent.

In our hectic life schedule, even observing our own breath is difficult as it is not easy to spend time alone with all the jumble in our heads. It's hard to avoid the internal conflict, long-suppressed fears and constant need of validation when we are doing nothing but simply sitting and observing our own breath.

But then, how can we avoid stress and a noisy mind? We can't, not really. That's why we must meditate daily. Aside from helping us relax and de-stress, meditation can help us to develop a clear mind. In fact, regular meditation helps practitioners develop a better understanding of their life's purpose.

There are different ways to mindful breathing exercise. It is free and can be done anywhere, anytime and under any circumstance.

Many think meditation is difficult as we need an empty mind that is not thinking of anything.

But the yogic says this is a misconception.

To meditate, we do not need to block our thoughts. Just be aware of your breath as it goes in and out. As thoughts wander, all we have to do is to observe and notice them, and then try to let go of them, bringing focus back to our breath that "I am breathing in and breathing out".

Usually when we are afraid or nervous, we try to remain calm simply by exhaling and inhaling deeply. Through our breathing exercise, we send a signal to our nervous system that things are ok. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen in our brain and stimulates the nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.

Breathing techniques help us feel connected to our body and takes our awareness away from our worries. Meditation is a process that lets go of self-criticism, comparison and expectations as soon as they arise.

Once we become aware of our breathing, we will find that meditation is an enjoyable and wholesome experience.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 01, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.