One conscious breath in and out is meditation.
– Eckhart Tolle, author of Be Here Now
Meditation can be daunting.
Especially if you’ve never tried it before, or tried it and couldn’t sit still through the session.
Before jumping on the meditation bandwagon I was definitely intimidated by the thought of meditation.
Just hearing the word conjured up mental pictures of a Buddhist monk in robes sitting atop a mountaintop temple for hours on end.
Luckily, meditation has started to go mainstream with various well-known celebrities making it a part of their daily lives.
Even royals like Prince Harry, his father Prince Charles, and his wife Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle are embracing this timeless practice of meditation. (1)
But what are you to do if you’re struggling to get into the meditative groove?
Try breathwork instead…
BREATHING: MEDITATION FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN’T MEDITATE
Breathing meditation can quiet the mind, open the body, and develop a great power of concentration.
– Jack Kornfield, meditation teacher and author
A regular breathwork practice (done correctly) can offer many of the same benefits as more “traditional” forms of meditation.
Deep, conscious belly breathing has been shown to host a variety of mental, emotional, and physical health benefits such as:
- increasing inner calm and decreasing stress/anxiety
- improving digestion
- enhancing sleep quality
- increasing mental focus, concentration, and memory
- increasing energy levels
- improving the quality of relationships
- boosting immune function
Meditation via the breath can help activate the restorative, soothing, and healing part of our nervous system by sending it messages of safety.
As a result, our minds become stronger, calmer, and more resilient in the face of challenges and demands.#Breathingmeditation calms the body and strengthens the mind. Click To Tweet
A recent study by Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience confirmed what ancient yogic wisdom has always known – that breath-focused meditation and yogic breathing techniques can help clear your mind and strengthen your brain. (2)
Researchers found an actual physical link between breathing patterns and a part of the brain directly related to focus/ attention levels.
According to the study, the way we breathe directly impacts our brain’s chemistry, making it possible to cultivate a healthier and stronger brain as well as increased mental focus.
Our breathing rate directly affects levels of a brain chemical known as noradrenaline.
The brain releases this chemical when we’re focused, and at optimal levels, it helps the brain grow new connections acting like much like brain fertilizer. (3)
“Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind…
This study has shown that… our attention is influenced by our breath and that it rises and falls with the cycle of respiration.
It is possible that by focusing on and regulating your breathing you can optimize your attention level and likewise, by focusing on your attention level, your breathing becomes more synchronized,” says Michael Melnychuk, Ph.D. candidate and the study’s lead author.
What this study shows us is that:Conscious breathing activates the brain so that we perform better. Click To Tweet
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE ADOPTING A BREATHWORK PRACTICE:
There are some dangers to deep breathing if done incorrectly, so let’s go over some best practices tips…
1- You’ll want to sit comfortably and upright, with your mouth, face, neck, jaw, and shoulders relaxed.
2- Breathe through your nose only. (Don’t breathe through your mouth.)
3- Expand your lower belly outwardly with each inhale. (This engages your diaphragm, the muscle under your lungs and over your internal organs. This will activate those regenerating and soothing systems in your body.)
4- Contract your lower belly inwardly with each exhale.
5- Don’t move your shoulders, neck, chest, or upper body.
GET STARTED WITH THIS 5-MINUTE BREATHING MEDITATION:
You say that you are too busy to meditate.
Do you have time to breathe?
Meditation is your breath.
– Ajahn Chah, Buddhist monk & author
Let’s put all of this knowledge to good use and practice meditating with our breath together…
Follow along with me:
How do you feel after this session?
What do you think could happen if you were to dedicate just 5 minutes out of the 1,440 minutes in your day to keep practicing this?
Chances are if you committed to doing this for just 5 minutes every day for 40 days you’d develop the mindset and conditioning necessary to deepen your meditative practice… all just by cultivating breath awareness.
Let me know how you get on 🙂