Accepted Paper:

Mindful breathing as practices of homing  


Aurelia Ehrensperger (Universität Zürich)

Paper short abstract:

Keeping the focus on the breath seems to be a golden rule for anyone who’s stressed out. With a phenomenological and ethnographic approach on mindful breathing practices in MBSR-Programms I explore how mindful breathing can be a way of „homing“ (Winther 2009) oneself no matter where you actually are.

Paper long abstract:

Not only since the i-Watch reminds one to breathe mindfully every 60 minutes, mindful breathing seems to reduce any kind of stress symptoms. Starting by a close-up of the breathing in guided meditation practice I'll show how the characteristics of breathing as a physical basic function are woven in a set of knowledge, beliefs, sensations and feelings.

Inspired by Ida Winther's concept of "homing" for the action that leads you to "a feeling of home, instead of looking at home as bound to a specific place", the presentation discusses along ethnographic data of breathing in popular guided meditation practices how they can be investigated in a phenomenological perspective (Merleau-Ponty 1966; Schmitz 2010). As an analytic tool it goes beyond interpretations that sense mindfulness as variation of individualistic self-improvement in (post)-modern time (Strasser 2016).

Mindful breathing is a practice that uses specific tools like meditation apps, structured language and narratives from buddhist mythology for reflecting between the impermanence and continuity, dynamics and stability as concepts of living. Even though breathing is happening by itself concentrate conscientiously on breathing focalizes on body and emotion, mind and space. The presentation emphasizes how the mindful breathing can be understood as a praxis of homing regardless where one is.

Panel Body02
Ways of dwelling: a phenomenological approach