MEDITATION… this word is quite the hot commodity lately. Everyone from our uncle bob to our next door neighbor is tooting the horn for sitting still and not thinking about anything. We know the science behind it, we know what people are saying it can do for us but when WE get onto our meditation pillow and close our eyes our minds start to race, our anxiety increases and we sit there counting the minutes we'll be done.
Here's the thing, meditation is great, and I love it and will sing praises to it all day, but if you are a ridiculously stressed, anxiety filled person or even just someone who has never sat down and tried to slow down their thoughts then sitting still is gonna make it worse and I would advise not starting a meditation practice at that time.
See there's a vital step, that needs do be done and practiced before you start a meditation practice, that is you must prepare your mind and body to be in a state that meditation can be beneficial for YOU.
This step is so vital that without is you would actually die in a matter of minutes. This important step is…
Focusing on the breathe will give your overactive mind something to focus on and it simultaneously will put you into the parasympathetic nervous system which means you can begin to relax and rest. Knowing how to breathe and how to use our breathe for changing our energetic state is good.
Our breathe is our way to connect to our body and mind. How we are breathing determines what state of being we are in and what type of thoughts come in and out of our head.
Picture for a moment a time when you were super stressed or filled with anxiety. What's happening to your breath? It's probably fast and shallow as your chest tightens. What's funny is that the lack of oxygen felt by your cells actually puts your body in a more anxious state.
If we can master our breathe I guarantee you won't be able to master your mind.
Mastering breathing comes before mastering meditation. That is why I love doing yoga because it's in yoga that i learn to control my breathe, be aware of it but keep my over active body happy by moving at the same time too. Many people don't know though that the whole point of a yoga practice is to get you to savasana, that place where your mind released into oblivion and you let your body relax and let go. We are so wound up that it takes a good hour practice of doing random weird postures to tire us out so that when we hit savasana we are hopefully able to relax and not move for a moment.
So this is what i tell people who want to start a meditation practice but can't-
I tell them to either sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Put your right and on your heart and you're left on your belly. As you Take a big inhale through the nose feel the chest rise and then the belly rise as you exhale and feel the belly fally and chest fall. Inhale chest rises belly rises, exhale belly falls, chest falls. Continue to do this simple practice as you work on elongated each inhale and exhale really filling up and expanding the body with each inhale and fully letting go of all the air in your body. Play with this feeling, focus on how the body feels.
This is just one of many breathing techniques you can try to prepare yourself for oneday starting a meditation practice. As you are mindful of your breathe and learn how to control it you will find that your mind seems more calm, and focused. So now when you sit on your mat you do not get over anxious or fearful of the meditation process because you automatically take a huge inhale in, which calms your body, calms your minds and gets you ready to dive deep into a meditative state.