In AYP, breathing meditation is sometimes used as an alternative to using a mantra for people who are especially sensitive to the vibrational qualities of mantras.
Meditation is really the most important practice in yoga. It is also one of the highest, ancient and most subtle arts in the world.
Start by sitting down with your eyes closed in a comfortable position. You can let your hands rest gently on your knees in chin mudra as in the picture, or palms facing downwards, or with your hands on your lap, palms facing upwards, one hand on top of the other.
Let your breath be natural, breathing gently in and out through your nose. There is no need to slow the breath down or speed it up, or to breathe deeper than you would normally. Bring your attention to the breath simply flowing into the body, and flowing out again.
You can be aware of the breath either at the nostrils, or deeper down in the body as it fills the lungs, or you can simply be aware of the whole process of breathing. People tend to find their own natural preference. If the mind wanders away from the breath, when you notice that the mind has wandered, gently bring it back to the breath again. Each time it wanders, bring it gently back.
Sometimes there will be a natural pause between the in breath and the out breath, or between the out breath and the in breath. When this happens, simply be aware that the breath is suspended either inside the body, or outside it. There is no need to make this happen, it will happen spontaneously when the time is right and the body and mind are calm.
With repeated practice you will find that the mind wanders less, and the natural, spacious quality of the mind becomes more apparent. Over time you will find that you are able to simply rest, being continuously aware of each breath coming and going. It is a very beautiful and peaceful state and gradually leads to the cultivation of bliss.
After each meditation session take a few minutes to rest. This helps to ground and stabilize the energy in the body. You can start with 20 minutes a day. If this is your only spiritual practice, then after some time you can increase this to 30 or 40 minutes of meditation each day. If you have the time, meditation can be increased to an hour. If you are combining breathing meditation with other AYP Yoga practices, such as Spinal Breathing pranayama, then stick to the recommended 20 minutes of meditation.
Eventually, after practising meditation every day for some time, you will begin to notice that the peace, beauty, stillness and bliss that we are cultivating during our meditation time will begin to happen spontaneously in your normal life also.