“Follow breath, don’t anticipate it”, a phrase I have come across regularly while practicing mindfulness meditation. Yet, I find myself thinking what does this even mean? how do I pay attention to my breath without starting to control it? how do know if am?

One example I have been told is to imagine yourself as a guard, standing by silently, just observing the breath pass in and out. The idea is to try and interfere or change your breath as little as possible. I find it hard to tell sometimes what my natural breathing rhythm is, and this makes it difficult to not anticipate my breath. I think what works the most is to slow things down as much as possible so that each breath comes just as it is needed.