When you sit down, the first thing to do is to become aware of your breathing. Becoming aware of your breathing is the first step in taking care of yourself. Becoming aware of your in-breath and out-breath, you can see how your breath moves through your body. You begin to take care of your body and your mind, and you begin to find joy in the very simple act of breathing. Every in-breath can bring joy; every out-breath can bring calm and relaxation. This is a good enough reason to sit. We don’t need to sit with an intention like getting smarter or becoming enlightened. We can sit just to enjoy sitting and breathing. — Thich Nhat Hanh (from How to Live #BK558)
If you are new to meditation, it is likely to take some time before you “find your seat” – meaning, before you can consistently sit in comfort. And so it’s important to select the cushion or bench and posture that is best suited for you. The DharmaCrafts guide to choosing a meditation bench or cushion is here.
At Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hanh’s retreat center and monastery in France), the “Bell of Mindfulness” rings from time to time during the day, and conversations stop while everyone pauses for three mindful breaths. You can try this at home using your phone, watch, or our Enso timer to remind you to relax and become conscious of your breath.