Meditation Series #4: Easy Breezy
While a big part of meditation is getting in touch with your awareness, another major part has to do with relaxing and clearing your mind. Breathing is an important tool to get to both those places. Breathing may seem as simple as breathing in and out; however, this is not entirely the case.
For mediation to be successful, you will need to practice breathing properly. Here are a few easy breathing practices to make your beginning mediation experience an enlightened one.
1. Proper Sitting for Proper Breathing
First and foremost, make sure that you are comfortable. Sitting upright with a straight spine will help the energy flow and prepare you for proper breathing exercises. Do not sit too rigidly, or you will be uncomfortable and unresponsive to the proper breathing format. Try sitting on a cushion or bolster if sitting in easy pose on the floor is uncomfortable. Elevating the hips can dissolve any discomfort. You can also try sitting in a chair if that suits your needs. I would discourage you from laying down in bed unless you are trying to meditate yourself to sleep.
2. Relaxation of the Body
Once you have gotten into a comfortable seated position, it is important to relax your body to prepare it. No matter how well you practice your breathing, if your body is tense, you will not have success. Begin by relaxing the muscles in your toes, moving to your ankles, and work your way all the way up to the top of your head. Or vise versa. Once your body is in its relaxed position, then it will be time to begin your breathing techniques.
3. Pay Attention to Your Breaths
In the beginning, simply pay attention to your breaths. Be attuned to the rhythm of the breaths, focusing on the in and out of those breaths. Do not try to control them; just be aware of them. Be the silent observer of your natural breathing. It is very important to be aware of how you are breathing in the beginning before trying to learn any new technique on how to breathe. Being aware is an important part of the process.
4. Pay Attention to Your Body
Once you are acutely aware of how you breathe, it is important to pay attention to your body. If you are not experiencing your stomach rising and falling with each breath, you may be tense in the moment. It is important to have your breath enter into the nostrils and leave through mouth naturally. Relax your belly and let it expand as you inhale before your lungs expand. Then once you've filled yourself with fresh air from your diaphragm to your lungs, then release, exhale, let it all out. You should feel your stomach move toward your spine.
5. Establish a Rhythm
It is very important to establish a breathing rhythm. Once you become aware of your breathing, you will notice that it is easier to establish a rhythm. Once that rhythm is established, you will find your meditation to flow easily and you will get the most benefit out of that meditation.
These steps in and of themselves are a meditation. Try it out for 5 minutes at first then build up to 15-20min daily and eventually twice a day. This is a simple and easy place to start and build a strong meditation foundation.
This is the 4th in a multiple part meditation series. Be sure to check out the other posts @drlaramay.com/blog.
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