Previously I discussed the nature of energy and I used the breath to illustrate its natural rhythm alongside the perpetual expansion and contraction phases.
As previously mentioned the breath is probably the most useful meditation tool we have (it is also a primary reference for all yoga practitioners as it flags up suffering!) When we are physically challenged and feel pain in the muscles and fascia, the rhythm of our breath will be interrupted as the brain prioritises the pain. This also happens when we are mentally and emotionally challenged or distressed. The regular practice of yoga promotes a strengthening of the bond between the brain and the breath helping us to identify and rectify suffering. Remember that no two breaths you take will ever be exactly the same and that by simply observing your breath you will be in the present moment. The mind is distracted by pain or suffering, by the act of problem solving or problem seeking, by memories of past events, re-running conversations and arguments, dreaming of the life you should have and will have at sometime in your perceived future (which doesn’t actually exist). The practice of Meditation begins with encouraging the mind to sit quietly in the chair with your body and just ‘be’ in the present moment.
(This exercise is the same as in the previous blog so if you feel comfortable with it you can begin to increase the duration)
Find somewhere comfortable to sit with your back well supported. Make sure that the soles of your feet are in contact with the floor and allow your hands to rest comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. then let your breath find its own natural rhythm. Notice how your body responds to both the inhalation and the exhalation, naturally expanding through the ribs, collar bones, shoulder blades, into the belly and around the waist. spend some time observing the movement of your diaphragm muscle as it draws downwards on the inhalation and releases upwards on the exhalation. then begin to observe the passage of air as it enters the body through the nostrils, passes down the throat through the windpipe and into the lungs. Likewise, as it leaves the lungs and moves back up through the throat and out through the nostrils. Notice the difference in temperature as the air is inhaled and as the air is exhaled and how it feels at each stage of its journey in the nostrils, throat, windpipe and lungs. Experience being in the moment with your breath, and observe, without judging, how that feels.
To come out of your meditation exercise you should take 3 deep breaths. On the 3rd exhalation allow your chin to drop towards your chest. You can then decide when to open your eyes taking your time to pick up your routine.