Still the breath is the perfect object of meditation because it is always with you. Consider how simple yet complex it is, the breath comes in, then the breath goes out, the breath is the bodies primary conduit to the outside world, your breaths in and out motions give you life. When you breathe in, you are literally taking in the world, then when you breathe out, you are literally expelling a little of yourself out into the world, you are distributing yourself out into the atmosphere with each exhalation, you are exchanging molecules with the rest of existence. The breath sustains you, and with each breath you help sustain existence.
The breath is like an umbilical cord to mother earth. The breath is very symbolic, and it is the most primary example of the larger rhythms of life. When you are born you begin your life by inhaling, and when you die you will end your life by exhaling, it is the beginning and the end. The universe itself also functions with the same in and out rhythms or pulses, and so do all other universes in other dimensions. All of creation pulsates with the same rhythm as the does the breath. The breath is therefore a beautiful and practical symbol of the larger rhythms of life. It connects you to life, and reveals to you the deep mystery of how life is sustained.
The breaths patterns or rhythms can also be diagnostic of many physical and emotional illness. You can come to recognize and then alter some negative emotional states by observing the rhythm of your breath, then changing a negative pattern to a more beneficial pattern. For instance, fear constricts and holds the breath, while anger tends to speed it up and make it chaotic. Deep sighs or exhalations expel anxiety and fear, while soft long breaths punctuated with deep exhalations quiet the mind and relieve its stress.
By altering the rhythm of your breath, definite psychological consequences may be observed. You can ultimately become the master of your moods through breath control. Begin your practice by watching your breath for a few seconds without distraction, then increase the time to several min. as you wish until you can stay focused for at least 15 min. at a time.