Taking Breathing For Granted
Breath — it is the first thing we do when we experience this life and the last thing we do when we make our grand exit. As physical beings, it is our life – we cannot function without it. And yet we take it so for granted.
“Did you know that your quality of breath can determine your quality of life?”
In meditation, it is our bridge between the noise of our minds and the accessible silence. It can be our pathway to stillness and present moment awareness.
Did you know that your quality of breath can determine your quality of life?
Breathing correctly boosts the brain (it has even been shown to spark brain growth — especially in the elderly), invigorates the body and helps us to find clarity (especially when we find ourselves under stress or anxiety).
Controlled breathing can even lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Did you know that:
- Oxygen is important to blood cells because oxygen is needed to make energy for our body.
- You don’t get blood cell oxygenation from food — you breathe in O2 and it is picked up by the red blood cells in the lungs and taken through the body to all the cells via hemoglobin.
But Don’t We Breathe Naturally?
Most of us are on auto-pilot with our breaths — they are shallow and we don’t usually pay much attention to the inhalation/exhalation process.
Be honest with yourself — how often do you take a deep, belly-filled breath?
I know you’ve just done it now 😉 But think about it — it’s not that often, right?
Try to consciously breathe, even if it is every hour. As mentioned above, deep breathing will help your body by infusing your cells with oxygen, bringing vitality and balance to your system.
Shallow breathing restricts oxygen to the brain causing fatigue and lethargy so — whenever you can — put your attention on your breath.
Try this exercise:
Breathe in to the count of eight – really fill your lungs and let your stomach expand to the extent that you look pregnant. Hold that breath to the count of eight and then release it slowly to the count of eight.
Do this 3 times as many times a day as you can, especially in the morning, when you awaken, and just before sleep.
It will give you an added kick to the day and induce restful sleep at night.
Using Mindful Breathing to Begin Therapeutic Meditation
To those of you who are old-hat with meditating — you can skip this part. For those who are new to meditation and want to try it out…it may benefit you to read on.
When you engage in mindful breathing (find somewhere quiet to sit or lie down, close your eyes and put your attention on inhalation and exhalation) you form a bridge to the ‘still’ place in your mind.
With time and practice, you will be able to cross that bridge a little easier every time you engage in meditation and breathwork.
Don’t judge yourself or get upset if your mind just won’t shut up – this is normal and takes a lot of practice to get to the point where you can achieve full stillness without all the fluff and ‘white noise’.
Sometimes my mind just won’t let go of a song or tune when I am trying to meditate (especially when it thinks it’s being funny and starts up with ‘The Sounds of Silence’) and I just let that be – it usually dissipates in the end. Just persist with the mindful breathing and go with the flow of where your consciousness wants to take you.
“This is the journey into the mind and it can be a wonderfully calming experience…”
Mindful breathing techniques in meditation can be really awesome as you begin to sense the vibrations and different frequencies in the ether and all around you. It might come in the form of flashing or bright coloured lights or a vortex or wormhole. Sometimes it just remains dark or ‘spotty’ – a bit like the night sky.
Stay with this and see where it takes you. This is the journey into the mind and it can be a wonderfully calming experience.
Enjoy using your nasal passages and lungs to enliven and revitalize your body and soothe your soul!
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