Have you ever just stopped and focused on your breath? Did you actually focus on it, or did your mind wander to what you want for dinner, or I need to get this report done. Yet again, I preach mindfulness to you today, my friends.
I have recently the past few months gotten into meditation. Now, I am sure most of you are thinking of someone sitting crosslegged on a pillow chanting ohmmmm ohmmmm.
There is so much more to meditation than that.
Like everything, meditation takes practice. Someday I would love to dive deeper into my mediation practice with you, but today I just want to focus on breathing. How many times in a stressful situation has someone told you just to take a breath? Well guess what… it really can be that simple.
Meditation can be hard. It can be easy. Maybe you just had an okay day of meditation. Maybe you just got it done. It is like a workout or a sport. It is not the same every day, and you are not at the top of your game everyday. The thing to remember is that nothing is incorrect in meditation. So, maybe you start thinking about chicken fried steak in the middle of your meditation, that’s okay! Just move along and get back to breathing. It is that easy. We are all human. Everyone is going to have random thoughts appear, but just as randomly as they appear; you let them randomly go away. You just be in the moment as best as you can be. That is the beginning to really practicing mindfulness.
Want to start meditating? Well again, like a sport you have to practice at it and work up to it. Start with just sitting with your breath for five minutes a day. Close your eyes, sit up tall, ignore the sounds around you, and just see where the breath takes you. You have a thought appear, that’s fine. Notice it, and let it blow away like a cloud in the sky. Just see if you can sit with yourself and your breath for five minutes.
Think that is intimidating? That is okay! I am going to share a few other breathing techniques that can help, especially in stressful times. These techniques allow you to just step back from the stressful situation and let your body regroup.
- Technique number one: Just take ten deep breaths…that’s it….ten deep breaths in a row at any pace you want.
- Technique number two: Breathe in your nose for three counts then breathe out through your mouth as if you were blowing through a straw for four counts. You then allow the numbers to keep rising. So, breathe in through your nose for four and out through the fake straw for five. Breathe in through your nose for five and out through the fake straw for six. You go as high as you want (I normally go to about eight or nine) then repeat as many times as you want.
- Technique number three: I learned this technique as a way to relax your body for sleep, but have found it to help in stressful situations, as well. Breathe in for four counts, hold for ten counts, and breathe out for eight. I normally just do it once, and I get some heaviness off which allows me to relax.
- Technique number four: The last technique is not really a pattern to follow, but a way to look at your breath. For example: notice where your breath meets the intake and turns into the outtake. How smooth was the transition? Another is noticing where your breath is strongest in your body? Do you feel it rush through your nose, your chest, or maybe it’s your stomach moving up and down? Finally, another way is to think of moving your breath to a certain spot in the body to create space. Having shoulder pain? Take a deep breath and imagine the air moving to your shoulders to create space and relaxation. It can work for any part of the body, and doesn’t necessarily have to be for helping to reduce pain. Maybe you are sad so you breathe into your heart for comfort? Maybe you are happy so you breathe into your feet to wiggle out the joy!
Just breathe, you lovely human beings.
You are safe and in this moment. The past is gone and the future is not here. So, relax and breathe right now.