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Meditation,Breathing, and Yoga

April 8th, 2011 | Spirituality, Uncategorized | ksimon | No Comments

Your brain is like a t.v. left on in the background with an out of control remote channel switcher. We need to tame it, slow it down, turn down the volume and sometimes leave it on white noise. To learn how to take control of your brain remote, we meditate. Meditation is practicing your control over your mind rather than it’s control over you. Just try to keep your mind still with no thought bubble arising for 5 min. How successful were you?

Suggestions to help you meditate:

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn has some wonderful books to help you. A good introduction to meditation is…

http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Our-Senses-Ourselves-Mindfulness/dp/0786886544/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1302281650&sr=8-9

  • Yoga and Tai Chi are physical forms of meditation to keep your mind on  movement. Eventually, your body can perform routines automatically without much thought.
  • Music can be helpful. Choose wordless, slow, soft, tones that  match your heartbeat. I-Tunes is a good resource. Chanting is an option and so is music with bells. You may chant any words that are helpful or there are chants created for specific purposes like healing or peace. A bell or bowl chimed throughout music bring you back into concentration if you’ve wandered.
  • A focal point is also helpful. Nature is good, like a flower, water, or a tree. Spiritual guide images are also useful like: saints or angels.
  • Aroma’s can enhance your concentration: frankincense, myrrh, and lavender. (see our essential oils)
  • Sit in a comfortable upright position with your legs crossed, your hands lightly on your knees facing up and as straight as possible.
  • Clothing should be loose.
  • Sometimes it is good to hold a quartz or crystal in your hand or in between your fingers to help maintain focus.
  • Focus your attention towards the pinneal gland or in between your eyes, with eyelids soft.
  • Upon ending a meditation, give your self time to come back to yourself and feel the calm. That calmness of mind and body is what you try to maintain throughout your day. With daily practice at meditation, your health and concentration will improve,  you will handle life stress better and will feel increased happiness.

Breathing exercises are imperative to meditation and can not only help you relax, but help you maintain concentration, and increase oxygen to your cells for better brain function and increased metabolism.

The following exercises are from Dr. Weil on his website: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html

Three Breathing Exercises

“Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-
related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and

clear state of mind. I recommend the following three breathing exercises to help relax and reduce stress:
Exercise 1:

The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)
The Stimulating Breath is adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy
and increase alertness.


  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed.

Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing

exercise.

  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm,

suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.

  • Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath,

you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

 

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after

a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the

abdomen. Try this breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself

reaching for a cup of coffee.

Exercise 2:
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise

This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.

Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise.

Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there

through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your

lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

 

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of

your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time

you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your

breath,speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it

all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often

effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first

tryit but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently.

Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend

it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will

pass.

 

Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always

have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware

of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone

can benefit from it.

 

Exercise 3:


Breath Counting: If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting,

technique much used in Zen practice.


Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your

eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally

it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

 

  • To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.

Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has

wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”Try to do 10 minutes of this form of

meditation.

 

Types of Yoga

  • Iyengar: Is good for beginners and is will increase strength, flexibility, tension reduction, and relaxation.

Relaxation focus

  • Jivamukti: Spiritual intense flowing postures, inspirational music, meditation, and chants. Holistic focus.
  • Kripaula: Loosens the joints, stretches muscles, meditation, breathing, and relaxation focus. Technique

focus.

  • Kundalini: Breath centered practice, with quick repetitive movements.Frees energy in lower body. Holistic

focus.

  • Ashtanga: Fast paced flow yoga for athletic types.
  • Bikram: Hot yoga focusing on alignment, strength, and repetition.
  • Power: Cardiovascular. fast paced.
  • Vinyasa: Flow yoga with long sequences. Good for relaxation when you have learned the sequences.
  • Yin: Stretches bodies connective tissue through poses held for long moments. Can release pent up emotion.

Not for the faint of heart.

 

 

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