Tara Brach takes you through The Art and Science of Meditation. Listen to the first session as it explores the mindfulness of sensations and breath.

The first session defines meditation and describes the Buddhist teachings that give a context to the path of practice. We explore the two basic types of meditation–concentration and mindfulness–and then focus on the ground of mindfulness training: bringing mindful attention to the breath and bodily sensations. Guided meditations include setting the intention and the sacred pause; learning to “come back” using an anchor of the breath; and “being here” with an embodied presence.

Breath awareness is probably the oldest meditation technique, and is certainly the most universally known. It can be found, for example, in the Anapanasati Sutta, a scripture which summarizes the Buddha’s teaching on breath awareness mediation. Anapanasati means “breath awareness meditation in Pali. The Buddha had learned the basic technique from his own teachers, which means that it existed at least as far back as 500 BCE, although it was probably already ancient at the time.

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