greggorious wrote:When one is focussing on the breath for meditation is it best to focus on the abdomen to make sure you're breathing correctly?
As someone who suffers from anxiety I notice I breath a lot from my chest, and the breaths are often shallow.
I know it's often said one should not try and manipulate the breath during meditation, and just let it rise and fall naturally, but I feel that I am actively taking deeper breaths from the abdomen in order to feel slightly more relaxed.
nothing wrong with that if it promotes a sense of ease!
Thanissaro Bhikkhu actually encourages this as does his teachers teacher Ajahn Lee. also the Samatha group apparently teach controlled breathing initially.
the Body does need training to relax at times, particularly when there has been a learnt behaviour. Behavioural therapy is rooted in this sort of approach i.e. you do it, and the mind follows. you need to balance the mind and body so they are doing the appropriate thing together.
There is no correct place to pay attention to, everywhere is correct for different people at different times.
you may want to look at each place you can sense the breath before settling on one, but if one place is more conductive or needs more attention focus there.
Although after a time you may want to focus elsewhere to allow the body to do it on its own.