Breathing Meditation – Your safe harbour in a storm.

Breathing meditation is an exercise in mental awareness, not an exercise in physically controlling your breathing.

Breathing Meditation – Your safe harbour in a storm.

Breathing meditation is one of the simplest and easiest mindfulness exercises. Focusing awareness on your breathing takes your attention away from the raging tempest of thoughts and emotions that usually swirl around inside you during times of great stress. When you feel like you are spiralling out of control on the way to rock bottom, breathing meditation can be a lifeline around your sanity. Let’s take a look at how easy and effective this can be.

An Overview of Breathing Meditations

Breathing meditation is an exercise in mental awareness, not an exercise in physically controlling your breathing. Thus, if you suffer from breathing difficulties, such as COPD, this isn’t something you’ll do with your physical therapist. While mindfulness is generally an excellent antidote to stress, if the struggle to breathe is itself the cause of your stress then this may not be the best mindfulness exercise for you. But for most people, the process of breathing is controlled beautifully and unconsciously by the autonomic nervous system, and makes for an excellent anchor for our attention.

To begin the exercise, place yourself in a comfortable position, relax each part of your body in turn, and then close your eyes. For the next five to ten minutes, focus only on your breathing. If your mind wanders – which it will – just gently bring it back to your breathing. To help you focus (and stop you from going in the other direction and spacing out) keep a running count of each out-breath, from one to ten repeatedly.

After numerous sessions of counting your out-breaths, switch focus to your in-breath, counting before you breathe in. This makes you aware of the different feel of the in-breath – one of gathering energy – in contrast to the release of the out-breath.

When you feel you are ready, drop the counting altogether and just focus on your breathing. While counting can help you focus, it also breaks the seamless flow of breathing into a choppy, discontinuous series of individual breaths. Try to feel the air at the rims of your nostrils, and even on your upper lip.

This level of sensitivity may take a while to develop, but one of the purposes of mindfulness exercises is to enhance the richness of your present moments, bringing to consciousness fine details that are usually missed. In other words, mindfulness makes you more alive in the here and now, and over time this becomes apparent across your entire waking life, not just during meditation itself.

Dealing with Distractions

The issue of distractions brings us back to our primary purpose. When you are distracted by all those random thoughts or emotions that impinge on your awareness, you are like a car driver who allows an obnoxious passenger to take hold of the wheel. You are no longer in control, and this is not an acceptable state of affairs. But it is vital not to become annoyed or disappointed with yourself; in fact, there is something to celebrate here.

At that precise moment when you realise that you have lost your focus and become distracted, you are taking the passenger’s hands off the steering wheel and putting yours back on. You are becoming more aware; you are learning that you have a choice about the contents of your mind. And with choice comes freedom.

Thus, whenever you bring your attention back to your breathing after a rude interruption, do not judge yourself. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for rising above the distraction. (Don’t overdo it, though, since this little celebration can itself become a distraction!) In a sense, the right attitude to adopt toward yourself is one of loving-kindness, which we have discussed in companion articles on this website. Breathing meditation is, in fact, a prelude to more advanced Buddhist meditations such as loving-kindness, and the calmness it will give you is a necessary precondition for insight.

Using this simple exercise, you will always be able to regain inner control and restore your sanity with just a few minutes to spare.

Richard M. Frost – About the Author:

Effective though it is, breathing meditation is only the beginning of the most fascinating journey you will ever take – the journey within. To see what happens when ancient meditation techniques are enhanced by a thoughtful application of modern neuroscience, visit Meditation Audio Reviews.

A Meditation Technique to Help You Unwind

Unless you’re an extremely laid-back individual, you probably could use a good meditation technique. The vast majority of people spend their lives wound tighter than a three-dollar watch. Unfortunately, that type of stress is not only unhealthy physically; it also blocks any creativity; puts stress on relationships and makes your life miserable.

meditate-to-relaxThere are several different types of meditation techniques to relax both your mind and your body, and they all involve emptying your mind and thinking about nothing. That’s pretty difficult to do. It’s much like telling someone not to think of a pink elephant. The first thing that comes into their mind’s eye is a pink elephant.

Before you begin any technique, get into comfortable clothing and a comfortable chair that supports your back. Turn down the ring volume on the phone so you have no distractions. If you have children, request they give you 25 minutes of alone time or have a spouse take them to another part of the house.

You need to have a table in front of you. Put a candle in a holder on the table. Make certain that you have a heat and flame resistant plate under the candle. Light the candle and if you’d like, turn out the other lights. That’s not necessary but it does remove distractions. There’s no need to sit in cross-legged position. Frankly, for most people that is a bit uncomfortable. Sit with your feet flat on the ground, side by side. Lay your hands comfortably in your lap.

Stare into the flame of the candle and only focus on the flame. As you do this, slowly breathe in through your nostrils, hold it a few minutes and exhale through your mouth. Do not think of anything but the flickering light of the candle. Watch it as it dances and moves. Inhale slowly and exhale slowly. Allow your body to relax with each exhaling breath. Feel your body relaxing as you watch the dancing light of the candle.

Since you’re simply placing your focus on the candle, not making any judgments as to how it should move, whether you’re breathing properly or if you’re relaxed enough, you’ll find that you’ll begin to feel more refreshed. If you wish, you may close your eyes. If you’ve watched the candle intently enough, you’ll be able to see it dancing even with your eyes closed. After ten minutes, you can either continue or end your meditation. This meditation technique is quick to learn and helps you empty your mind and wind down.

Other meditation techniques use deep breathing and focus on each breath. Unfortunately, many of these require that you learn specific breathing techniques and often take a bit of time to conquer. Watching a lighted candle brings immediate focus and its movement helps your mind and body relax. You owe it to your health and those that love you to learn a meditation technique to use each day. You’ll find your attitude improves, but also you’ll reap healthy benefits.

Copyright Aaron Aberson. Learn more Meditation Techniques, and get the free Meditation Newsletter at: http://www.TheMeditationSite.com.

How To Meditate Anywhere

meditationWhere can you meditate? Do you need to have a quiet place free from all distractions and noises or can you actually meditate anywhere, anytime, any place?  Many people live in crowded cities or areas where it’s busy.  Does that mean that they can’t meditate?  Is it possible to meditate even when there’s cacophonous noise all around you?  I say it is.

Let me share this story with you.  Many years ago I went to my wife’s high school reunion.  I didn’t know many people from her high school because I had grown up in a completely different area.  So while I didn’t know many people and she knew just about everyone, she obviously wanted to meet up and enjoy conversation with her friends.  She wanted to spend time with her friends, reconnecting.  We were in a room with a band playing and many people talking and laughing.  I was sitting there quietly and I decided to try something.  I wanted to see if I could meditate even with all this noise around me.  I could clearly hear all the noise and conversation, the music all around me.  I kept my eyes open and although I could still hear my surroundings I was able to go into a meditative state without being obvious.  I managed to meditate and relax in a meditative state while she enjoyed herself and her conversations.  Even with all that noise, all the conversations going on and people dancing I was able to meditate.  I surprised myself with this ability because up until this point I had never been in an atmosphere like this.  My life normally is rather quiet, so I’ve never really had the opportunity to try meditating in this type of atmosphere.  I have been meditating for a long time and this is definitely part of the reason for my ability to meditate so quickly and easily in this particular situation; however, my point is that if I can do it than anyone can.  If I can learn to meditate anywhere, so can you.  All it takes is practice, determination and dedication.

Many people live in large cities, or have large families, or maybe live in a noisy house.  You ask yourself, “How do I meditate with all that noise going on all around me?” and my answer is simple; “You listen to the silence in the noise.”  In my house I have an area set aside in the middle of my house to meditate.  I never ask my family to be quiet.  If the television is on, music playing, whatever the noises around me I don’t ask them to be quiet, I just meditate.  How is that possible?  Well, the key is to listen to the silence amongst the noise.  That may sound kind of odd but let me explain.

It’s like a room.  The room you’re in right now may have chairs, a television, and tables.  If you’re in the car there’s the steering wheel, the seats, the console.  But in both of these places while there are things around you there is also space.  The space, in many ways, can be like meditation.  Find the silence amongst all the noise.  Find the silence in the noise.  The background in which the noise is taking place is silence.  Be present with that silence.  Go there, be attentive, and be present with that silence.

If you live in a big city you may hear cars honking outside and the people making noises as they walk by; but what about all the emptiness, all the space around you?  Go to that emptiness, that silence, and space.  It’s a lot like a bite from a mosquito.  There’s a tendency to scratch that bite because it itches, but if you scratch it then it actually gets bigger and more bothersome.  If you ignore the itch, it goes away.  In a sense you’re ignoring all that noise around you.  All the cacophonous noise that’s all around you is simply ignored.  You don’t push it away, you just in a sense acknowledge that it’s there and then get back to your breath.  Breathe deeply, breathe slowly, and when your mind goes back to the noises around you, simply go back to your breath, your mantra or your prayer word.

Another little trick that I like is to use headphones with music or a guided meditation while you are meditating.  You listen to meditative music or guided meditations and while you may still be able to hear the noises around you, but your main focus will be on the music, on your breath or on your guided meditation.  That’s really the key.  Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time.  In one day we bounce all over the place.  We listen to a conversation, move our attention to a noise, go back to a thought, whatever the distraction may be.  Meditation is about focusing on one thing and staying there, staying focused.

When I was at the noisy reunion that I spoke of earlier, I focused on my breath.  Even though I was still in a noisy place I could focus on my breath and tune out the noises around me.  I found the silence that the noise was created in and stayed there, concentrating on my breath.  Even though I could still sense the background noise, I was in a deep place.  You can do this too.  Wherever you are, you can make it a place to meditate.  You don’t need everything to be perfect.  Just focus on your breath, your prayer word, your mantra.  When your mind’s distracted by external noises, instead of thoughts, just get back to your breath.  If you’re in a very quiet place, your mind can be just as loud as if you were in a noisy crowd.  Don’t fight that noise, but acknowledge it and go to your breath.  Concentrate on breathing in, breathing out, slowly and deeply.

What you will find is that no matter where you are, no matter what circumstances are occurring in your life, you can still meditate each and every day.  Remember you can meditate anywhere, anytime; just be present and at peace.

Dr. Robert PuffAbout the Author:

Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast, available at http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com He also creates a weekly podcast that explores the world of Enlightenment available at http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com If you would like to contact Dr. Puff, his e-mail address is DrPuff@cox.net

Breathing Meditation for Self-Healing

Breathing Meditation for Centering and Self-Healing.
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Breathing Meditation for Centering and Self-Healing

One of the first things you need to do when you are choosing to fully engage in a self-healing practice is to quiet your body and mind, bringing your body into a relaxed state that allows healing to occur. Getting to this relaxed state is the challenge and the opportunity. As I discuss at greater length in my book, The Root of All Healing, you cannot heal by will alone. In other words, you can’t make healing happen. You open to healing by allowing it to happen. You use your will to stay true to your commitment to heal by engaging fully in whatever discipline (treatment, practice or therapy) you have chosen to further your wellness.

Some years ago, when I was in immense pain—too much pain to even provide sound healing for myself—I asked the Divine for a means of healing that would help me alleviate my intense pain enough to employ a more robust healing solution. This is the meditation that came to me and I share it with you today

Don’t let the simplicity of this exercise fool you. It is in the attention to your body, energetic expansion and oxygenation that healing is occurring. Many of us need more oxygen in order to heal. We tend to breathe in a shallow manner and as a result the cells of your body don’t get the oxygen they need for optimal functioning.

Breathe as though the breath is a feather. This is another key to the exercise. When your body is in great pain, it often likes to be treated gently. So imagine that your breath is like the softest feather you have ever felt. That feather is gently caressing your cells as you breathe. Notice how quickly your body relaxes in response to this feather-light touch of breath.

Begin by noticing your breath. Notice the air flowing through you and caressing you. Notice where it flows easily through your body and where it seems to stop. Do you breathe slowly, quickly, deeply, shallowly? Free yourself from any judgment about how you are breathing. Do not try to change or control it. Simply notice.

Breathe from the centre of your body to just a few inches outside your body. Fill everything with the breath of air. Feel your whole body engage in the process of breathing. As you do this meditation, if any place in your body feels tight and unresponsive, simply wrap those cells in breath, allowing them to absorb breath whenever they are ready.

Focus on the lungs and work your way down your body. Bring your attention to the top of your lungs, where they attach at the shoulder blades. Breathe into the front of the top of your lungs, then add the sides, then the back. While still breathing into the upper portion of the lungs, focus into the lower half of your lungs, breathing into the front, sides and back.

Breathe into the solar plexus, while still breathing into your lungs, breathing into the front, sides, and back.

Take the breath further into the area of the digestive organs, breathing once again into the front, sides and back.

Now breathe down into the pelvic bowl, repeating the directional pattern. Take your awareness down into each section of your legs until you reach the tip of your toes. Once you have reached your toes, travel up the spine to the shoulders. Travel your awareness to the base of your spine, and slowly breathe up each vertebra until you have reached the shoulder area.

Breathe into your arms and hands, then return to the shoulders and travel up your spine into the neck and base of the skull, then fill the neck front, sides and back.

Last – breathe into the head. Breathe into your mouth, ears, nose, eyes, front, side and back, finishing with the top of your head. Breathe into your entire body for several breaths, feeling every cell expand and open as you breathe several breaths. Whenever you feel ready, surrender to the breath and allow the breath to breathe you.

When you are feeling nourished and relaxed, return awareness to your physical body. Once again feel the air moving in and out of your lungs. Take a few deep breaths and exhale through your mouth, blowing the air outward. Feel your body. Feel your body sitting or lying against a surface. Wiggle your fingers or toes and slowly bring your consciousness to a greater state of alertness. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

Written Misa Hopkins

Misa Hopkins is the author of the best-selling book, “The Root of All Healing: 7 Steps to Healing Anything”, which has been named the first-aid handbook for the new 21st Century consciousness. She is also Spiritual Director and founder of New Dream Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to global spiritual family and honouring the sacred feminine. With over 30 years of teaching and training experience, including teaching hundreds of healers, and now as a spiritual counsellor.

Breathing Meditation for Centering and Self-Healing

One of the first things you need to do when you are choosing to fully engage in a self-healing practice is to quiet your body and mind, bringing your body into a relaxed state that allows healing to occur. Getting to this relaxed state is the challenge and the opportunity. As I discuss at greater length in my book, The Root of All Healing, you cannot heal by will alone. In other words, you can’t make healing happen. You open to healing by allowing it to happen. You use your will to stay true to your commitment to heal by engaging fully in whatever discipline (treatment, practice or therapy) you have chosen to further your wellness.

Some years ago, when I was in immense pain—too much pain to even provide sound healing for myself—I asked the Divine for a means of healing that would help me alleviate my intense pain enough to employ a more robust healing solution. This is the meditation that came to me and I share it with you today

Don’t let the simplicity of this exercise fool you. It is in the attention to your body, energetic expansion and oxygenation that healing is occurring. Many of us need more oxygen in order to heal. We tend to breathe in a shallow manner and as a result the cells of your body don’t get the oxygen they need for optimal functioning. Breathe as though the breath is a feather. This is another key to the exercise. When your body is in great pain, it often likes to be treated gently. So imagine that your breath is like the softest feather you have ever felt. That feather is gently caressing your cells as you breathe. Notice how quickly your body relaxes in response to this feather-light touch of breath.

Begin by noticing your breath. Notice the air flowing through you and caressing you. Notice where it flows easily through your body and where it seems to stop. Do you breathe slowly, quickly, deeply, shallowly? Free yourself from any judgment about how you are breathing. Do not try to change or control it. Simply notice.

Breathe from the center of your body to just a few inches outside your body. Fill everything with the breath of air. Feel your whole body engage in the process of breathing. As you do this meditation, if any place in your body feels tight and unresponsive, simply wrap those cells in breath, allowing them to absorb breath whenever they are ready.

Focus on the lungs and work your way down your body. Bring your attention to the top of your lungs, where they attach at the shoulder blades. Breathe into the front of the top of your lungs, then add the sides, then the back. While still breathing into the upper portion of the lungs, focus into the lower half of your lungs, breathing into the front, sides and back.

Breathe into the solar plexus, while still breathing into your lungs, breathing into the front, sides, and back.

Take the breath further into the area of the digestive organs, breathing once again into the front, sides and back.

Now breathe down into the pelvic bowl, repeating the directional pattern. Take your awareness down into each section of your legs until you reach the tip of your toes. Once you have reached your toes, travel up the spine to the shoulders. Travel your awareness to the base of your spine, and slowly breathe up each vertebra until you have reached the shoulder area.

Breathe into your arms and hands, then return to the shoulders and travel up your spine into the neck and base of the skull, then fill the neck front, sides and back.

Last – breathe into the head. Breathe into your mouth, ears, nose, eyes, front, side and back, finishing with the top of your head. Breathe into your entire body for several breaths, feeling every cell expand and open as you breathe several breaths. Whenever you feel ready, surrender to the breath and allow the breath to breathe you.

When you are feeling nourished and relaxed, return awareness to your physical body. Once again feel the air moving in and out of your lungs. Take a few deep breaths and exhale through your mouth, blowing the air outward. Feel your body. Feel your body sitting or lying against a surface. Wiggle your fingers or toes and slowly bring yourconsciousness to a greater state of alertness. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

 

Written Misa Hopkins

Misa Hopkins is the author of the best-selling book, “The Root of All Healing: 7 Steps to Healing Anything”, which has been named the first-aid handbook for the new 21st Century consciousness. She is also Spiritual Director and founder of New Dream Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to global spiritual family and honoring the sacred feminine. With over 30 years of teaching and training experience, including teaching hundreds of healers, and now as a spiritual counselor.

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation ~ Meditating on a consistent, daily basis shouldn’t be viewed as “taking time away” from your schedule. Rather, it’s an opportunity to honour your life by devoting the time needed to centre yourself every day so you can face the obstacles around you with a vivacious, courageous spirit.

Meditation for Beginners

Meditating on a consistent, daily basis shouldn’t be viewed as “taking time away” from your schedule. Rather, it’s an opportunity to honour your life by devoting the time needed to centre yourself every day so you can face the obstacles around you with a vivacious, courageous spirit. It’s just as important in your life as eating and sleeping. Let’s look at what meditation can accomplish for you, and how you can start meditation today.

*Benefits of Meditating on a Consistent Basis

*Experience peace of mind (reduce mental chatter)

*Increase your ability to focus and concentrate

*Improve efficiency while reducing anxiety

*Measurably decrease stress levels

*Lower your blood pressure naturally

*Reverse the aging process

*Increase your energy level

*Enhance your intuition

Basic Instructions for Meditating

1. Make a decision to schedule your meditation on a regular basis, allowing 20-30 minutes in the morning and afternoon or early evening.

2. Try to sit in the same place as often as possible, even if the morning and afternoon locations are different.

3. Eliminate as many disturbances as possible: shut off phones, give your children an activity to do, put pets in a place they will not disturb you, and let people know when you expect to be finished.

4. Set a timer and muffle it if the alarm is a jarring noise. Sit up straight with your eyes closed, your feet on the floor and your hands unfolded resting palms down on your lap. If you’re more comfortable on the floor, sit cross-legged on a comfortable pillow or zabuton.

5. Gently and calmly focus your attention on your breath.

6. Every time your attention drifts away from your breath to a thought, feeling, sensation in the body, disturbance in your environment or a vision, gently return to focusing on your breath.

7. At some point, you will have no thoughts and the awareness of your own breathing will fade. This is magical! You are wide awake, totally alert, conscious and aware, but not of anything in particular. You have experienced what it is like to simply BE. Remember, we are human beings, not human doings!

What to Expect During Your Practice

You might become restless and bored; this is all the more reason to sit and concentrate.

You might fall asleep, in which case you should search for the reason behind this reaction.

You will arrive at the time where you have no thoughts or awareness of breath, although you won’t realize you are in this place until after you have your first conscious thought.

Once you’ve begun practicing meditation consistently, you’ll be amazed at how your day-to-day life runs more smoothly than before. Taking the time to honor the life and energy inside you will have a profound impact on both your own existence and your surroundings.

Writte by Laura Nash

Laura Nash is a mentor and teacher guiding both individuals and groups within organizations to attain their goals using a surprisingly simple and effective vehicle: peace of mind. Trained and certified by Deepak Chopra, Laura is a well-established teacher, speaker and workshop facilitator. She offers meditation seminars to the general public as well as private mentoring for groups or individuals. Visit her website at http://lauranash.com.