Controlling the breath begins with becoming aware of the breath. Through this simple exercise of counting your breaths, you will become familiar with the quality of your breath as it naturally flows.
Begin in a comfortable seated position with your spine straight and your eyes closed or directed to the space just in front of you.
Become aware of your breath as it naturally moves in and out of your nostrils.
Do not try to change your breathing pattern; just allow yourself to relax into the continual ebb and flow of each inhalation and exhalation.
Observe how it is flowing.
Is your breath fast or slow? Shallow or deep? Regular or irregular?
Do not modify or control the breath in any way.
Simply note to yourself mentally, "I am aware that I am breathing in; I am aware that I am breathing out."
Once you have come to a stable awareness of your breath, begin to count.
Starting at zero, count up to 10.
If you lose track or notice your mind drifting, start at zero again.
It is not a competition. The only goal is to be present yet relaxed.
As you complete your practice, turn your awareness to the rest of your body and to the outside world.