Soften your eyes. Relax your facial muscles.
Feel the weight of gravity on your body.
Take a deeeeeeeeep breath in.
Let your stomach expand, and keep breathing in until you can‘t hold any more air in your belly.
Hold that breath, and let the air flow to every part of your body.
Hold it, and allow your blood cells to carry the oxygen everywhere it’s needed.
Hold it for 5 more seconds.
Finally, let go….
And if you want to make a sound (“ahhhhhhh”), it might aid in the feeling of release.
Some say the vibrations of sound can aid in healing, and studies have linked cat purrs (which are basically their versions of that sound) to strengthening bone density.
If you found yourself feeling connected to the breath and the air you inhaled, then you have just successfully performed a singular instance of breathing meditation.
If not, don’t fret. Practice tuning into your imagination. If you visualize the healing effects of the breath, like the blood cells carrying the oxygen everywhere, that might have some power and influence over what is physiologically happening.
The mind is powerful, and the body will supplement imagination with sensation.
Do you feel slighter better than you did before? Maybe you already felt at the top of your game, that’s totally fair. I’m here to remind you to breathe.
Nowadays, with so many different forms of stimulation, we find ourselves moving a little too fast. My weekends can get booked a month and a half in advance. If I have free time it’s because I intentionally schedule in a day of nothing.
Life is crazy and fun but also definitely crazy.
We find ourselves running from place to place, from activity to activity without a second to literally breathe.
Adult life is different and cool, and once I had the revelation that I could do literally whatever I wanted, that’s when this hectic time-filled calendar booking life began.
I found my mental and physical health deteriorating.
I started to develop symptoms like acid reflux.
I started to break out too (we all know about that stubborn pimple life).
I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I felt really scared, desolate, and desperate.
This is was concurrent with a really hard breakup, but I didn’t want to attribute any of these things to that, because I wanted to believe I was stronger than that.
But I’m only human.
I realized the common cause to all of these things was stress.
The way I realized this was because I actually started the remedy before diagnosis. I felt depressed, and in times of depression, I take to meditation and journaling as antidotes.
This is why I would like to talk about meditation.
There are many different definitions and perceptions of what meditation are. Some think that the point is to empty your mind, and if they can’t do that they give up.
Emptying your mind is hard!
I don’t blame those people for being daunted by that task. To snap your fingers and say: clear! and expect the mind to be blank.
It doesn’t work that way, certainly not with the way our brains have developed to be so hyperaware and multitasking thanks to all the stimuli I mentioned before. I have found myself many a night unable to sleep because I couldn’t shut off my mind. I literally could not empty it.
But that is the very reason why meditation is crucial.
How I define meditation is: pulling in your focus to a singular activity.
It doesn’t matter what that activity is. Breathing is a convenient one because it is also good for the body to intake air in that controlled, tempered, gentle way.
I also consider reading meditation. It takes work to hone your focus, read every word, not get bored and want to put down the book to do something a little more exciting. Some books really can be a chore to read, and in a time when we seemingly have too little time for all the things we want to do, why would we waste time reading when we can get immediate gratification elsewhere?
But my argument is, besides getting the content out of the book, you are practicing a mental skill.
You are focusing on each word, piecing each one together into a sentence, allowing the meaning to sink in with regard to the context of the previous sentence, and using it as context for the next sentence. It is a skill you have to focus very hard on and also be present for, and that is how I use meditation as a tool.
This is a template for turning any task into a therapeutic, meditative one, like washing dishes or folding clothes.
The next stage would be to access this level of diligence and focus when there is no physical or mental activity to complement it. But we’ll get there when we get there, we all go at our own pace. :)
Back to breath meditation.
Breath is the most powerful healing medicine that we have access to at all times. Learning to harness this simple yet profound power will offer great health benefits.
The wellness collective I’m a part of, my amazing Zentourage, includes a gal who specializes in this very thing. Noelle Carvey teaches breath and mobility, and you can experience what she has to offer at our wellness event on March 17th, in San Francisco. Check out the banner below for more information.
Breath is utterly crucial and vital to our existence and wellbeing. If you don’t have access to the event, then try to tune into your breath on your own.
Get to know what it feels like inside your body to really breathe, to bring in that clean and fresh life-giving air, to allow your heart and lungs to work with that oxygen and distribute it throughout your body where it needs it.
Feel that breathe nourishing you.
Love your body, and your body will love you back. ❤