Breathing is very important, not just for mediation and magic, but every day activities. I am going to explain the technique that I use the most often. You may use it for meditation, when you’re feeling stressed, or need to focus.
Breathing is a lot easier than you think, and you can practice it anywhere – even while doing strenuous activities such as exercising. For example, I like to practice focusing on my meditative breaths while walking on the treadmill. It helps with focus, and to keep the pain in the back of my mind, too.
Our breath is very important in both physical and mental hygiene. Most people do not think about their breath, or how to breathe more efficiently. I was taught proper breathing techniques through voice lessons. The concept is similar, though instead of expelling sound, meditative breathing expels air.
The first step is to be aware of how you breath. This is very important. If this is your first time examining your breath, you may be surprised to find that your “deep” breaths are actually very shallow.
Let’s start by examining our breath:
First, take a deep breath. Where do you feel it? If you feel it in your lungs or esophagus, and your shoulder move up, then you are taking shallow breaths. Most people breath this way when they take “deep” breaths. You are only partially filling up the lungs without supporting them.
If you were able to breath using your diaphragm, which makes your belly rise and supports the lungs, then you are doing it correctly.
Here are a few breathing exercises you can try to strengthen your muscles for meditative breath:
Exercise One: Laying on your back naturally allows for your diaphragm to support your breath. I suggest this for a beginning exercise.
Lie down on your back. Now take a breath. You will want to use your diaphragm, which is underneath your lungs, but above your belly area.
It may be easier to focus on the diaphragm muscle by adding a book or something comparable on top of it. This will help you see where you are breathing easier, while building the muscle. (This is one of the techniques I was taught in voice, which really does help with deep breathing.)Laying on your back naturally opens up your airways, and feels more natural to breathe from your diaphragm.
Exercise Two: This exercise also requires focusing on the breath. Standing or sitting, keep your spine straight, and take a breath. You will want to focus on using your diaphragm. Remember that the feel of breath should not come from the chest, but underneath the lungs. Practice this until it becomes natural.
Now that you know how to properly breathe, it is time to use it. This next exercise is a focusing meditation, which also helps to ground you. You can use this before any working, or to help calm and focus your mind at any time.
Sit or stand with your spine straight.
Breathe in deeply through your nose. Breathe until you can’t expand your diaphragm any more.
Hold your breath 4-6 seconds.
Release the breath through your mouth. Feel your muscles relax while you forcefully push out your breath. Push in your diaphragm until you expel all of your breath.
Repeat three more times.
When doing meditative breaths, I have found sets of four works best for me. You should experiment and see how your body responds to different amounts of meditative breathing. You may also experiment with timing for holding the breath. Good luck and enjoy your new breathing habits.
January 15, 2018 2:03 A.M.
Photo: Seeking Credit