Mindful breathing: A mindfulness exercise for couples

Here is a simple mindfulness practice to do with your spouse or partner: breathing together.

Sit comfortably, fairly close to each other. For some people, it will feel better to be on the same couch. For others, it will feel better to be on separate chairs, facing each other… or next to each other… In other words, take a moment to explore what feels right for the two of you. This is part of the exercise: It involves paying attention to the subtle inner signals that tell you what feels right, and what doesn’t.

Then, spend a few minutes together quietly. For argument’s sake, let’s say 10 minutes. There is no magic to this number, so you can go for more, or less, as it feels right to you.

As the two of you are sitting quietly, notice your own breath, and notice your partner’s breath. You are not trying to match the other person’s breath. Just noticing your breath, and noticing theirs.

If you notice thoughts or any other distractions, it’s OK. Notice them, and gently try to bring your focus back to noticing breathing – – yours, and your partner’s.

As you end this practice, take a moment to make a transition to ordinary reality. Notice how you feel inside. Notice how you feel toward your partner. You may want to share this with each other. Or, simply, smile at each other as this moment together is ending.