The word meditation used to bring to mind an image of a completely controlled, spiritually evolved individual not distracted by to do lists, or kids or Facebook. This advanced human has her life in order way better than I do and enjoys sitting in an uncomfortable position for long periods of time. With this as my internal image its not surprising I rejected the notion this could be a part of my life story. But then there finally came a point I could no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence that there is something to this slowing down of the central nervous system. The science (rather than the mystery) of it finally pulled me in.
I began to think of the goal being focused breathing rather than my warped definition of meditation. I began to sit however I wanted, or even lie down, and several times throughout every day I would think about my breath. I tried some counting techniques and those helped immensely in the beginning. Just focusing on the counting and breathing in and out (use your nose) was all it took to get this 40 something to finally fill her lungs up and to finally let it all out – in a regular and intentional way. I have now evolved into using a technique that is my own (or at least I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this). I must say first that I totally acknowledge that there are far more evolved and sophisticated techniques out there, I just want to share what is working for me currently and encourage you to find something that resonates with you so you too can begin your journey of better breathing.
What I do is first use the aid of counting to get myself in the pattern I want. I typically use a four count in, a pause and a five count out and a pause. The reason for making the exhale a bit longer is that it will literally calm you down and help ease anxiety. After I have established the feel of that count, I will begin to focus my breath into my brain – literally imagining the breath filling up my brain space. After I get the feel of that sensation I will start a mantra that begins with “I think”. Sometimes I will say as I breathe slowly in and out – I think today is going to be a great day, or I think I will l be a better listener today. I try to steer clear of things like I think I need to clean the baseboards and order dish soap on Amazon. Next I focus my breath into my heart space. I feel the sensation of life giving breath filling up my heart. Then I begin the mantra “I love” and I focus on an individual thing I want to honor that I love in my life. Next (and this one might be the most important) I turn my breath to my gut. I feel the breath filling up my entire belly region and then my mantra falls to “I feel”. You know that saying – I have a gut feeling? That’s really a thing. Spend time on your intuition, on what your gut is telling you. And then I end with a few breaths where I imagine the breath going to all the areas at once and my mantra becomes “I AM”. I am whole, I am beautiful, I am willing, I am able. Whatever resonates with me that day.
I leave you with this:
“When you own your own breath, nobody can steal your peace.” Author Unknown