A Simple Breathing Meditation
The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.
We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else
If we practice patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky, but when the wind dies down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed through concentrating on the breath, our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.
Even though breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be quite powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions.
When you settle into restorative poses, try the following techniques for cultivating breathing patterns that are hallmarks of relaxation and well-being.
MOVE THE BELLY WITH THE BREATH. When we are at ease, the diaphragm is the primary engine of the breath. As we inhale, this domelike muscle descends toward the abdomen, displacing the abdominal muscles and gently swelling the belly. As we exhale, the diaphragm releases back toward the heart, enabling the belly to release toward the spine.
KEEP THE UPPER BODY QUIET. During high-stress times, it's common to heave the upper chest and grip the muscles in the shoulders and throat. When we're at rest, the muscles of the upper chest remain soft and relaxed as we breathe, and the real work occurs in the lower rib cage. To promote this type of breathing pattern, consciously relax the jaw, throat, neck, and shoulders, and envision the breath sweeping into the deepest parts of the lungs as you breathe in and out.
BREATHE EASY. Although some breaths may be deeper or faster than others, when we're relaxed, the alternating rhythm of the inhalations and exhalations feels like a lullabyâsmooth, soft, and uninterrupted by jerks and jags. Consciously relaxing into this wavelike, oceanic quality of the breath deepens our sense of peace and ease.
LENGTHEN THE EXHALATIONS. When we feel stressed, our exhalations tend to grow short and choppy. When we're relaxed, though, the exhalations extend so completely that they are often longer than the inhalations. Some teachers even instruct that if we're deeply relaxed, each exhalation will be twice as long as the inhalation. To facilitate this, try gently extending each exhalation by one or two seconds.
PAUSE AFTER EACH EXHALATION. In our most relaxed state, the end of each exhalation is punctuated by a short pause. Lingering in this sweet spot can be deeply satisfying and can evoke feelings of profound quiet and stillness.
LET THE WHOLE BODY BREATHE. When we are at ease, the whole body participates in the breathing process. Imagine a sleeping baby: When he breathes in and out, the belly swells and releases, the hips rock to and fro, the shoulders bob, and the spine gently undulates. This offers a mini-massage for the muscles and organs of the whole body, and turns each breath into a soothing melody that further calms and quiets every cell within.
Try these three simple practices to reduce stress, quiet your mind, and connect to your inner Self...Basic Breath Awareness
This gentle introduction to diaphragmatic breathing teaches you how to breathe more fully and consciously.
Benefits: Quiets and calms the entire nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety and improving self-awareness.
Try it At least once a day, at any time.
How to: Lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Place a palm on your abdomen and breathe comfortably for a few moments, noticing the quality of your breath. Does the breath feel tense, strained,uneven, shallow,Simply observe the breath without any judgment. Then gradually begin to make your breathing as relaxed and smooth as possible, introducing a slight pause after each inbreath and outbreath.
Once the breath feels relaxed and comfortable, notice the movement of the body. As you inhale, the abdomen naturally expands; as you exhale, feel the slight contraction of the abdomen. In a gentle way, try to actively expand the abdomen on the inhale and contract the abdomen on the exhale to support the natural movement of the diaphragm and experience the pleasure of giving yourself a full, relaxed breath. Continue the practice for 6 to 12 breaths.
The Cooling Breath..
Sitali Pranayama is often translated as "the cooling breath" because the act of drawing the air across the tongue and into the mouth is said to have a cooling and calming effect on the nervous system. To practice Sitali, you need to be able to curl the sides of your tongue inward so that it looks like a straw. The ability to curl the tongue is a genetic trait. If you can't, try an alternative technique called Sitkari Pranayama, which offers the same effects.
Benefits: Can improve focus; reduce agitation, anger, and anxiety; and pacify excess heat in the system.
Try it: Twice a day, or as needed during stressful times. Sitali and Sitkari Pranayama are particularly supportive when you're feeling drowsy in the morning or during an afternoon slump when you need to improve your focus.
How to: Sitali Pranayama: Sit comfortably, either in a chair or on the floor, with your shoulders relaxed and your spine naturally erect. Slightly lower the chin, curl the tongue lengthwise, and project it out of the mouth to a comfortable distance. Inhale gently through the "straw" formed by your curled tongue as you slowly lift your chin toward the ceiling, lifting only as far as the neck is comfortable. At the end of the inhalation, with your chin comfortably raised, retract the tongue and close the mouth. Exhale slowly through the nostrils as you gently lower your chin back to a neutral position. Repeat for 8 to 12 breaths.
Sitkari Pranayama: Open the mouth slightly with your tongue just behind the teeth. Inhale slowly through the space between the upper and lower teeth, letting the air wash over your tongue as you raise your chin toward the ceiling. At the end of the inhalation, close the mouth and exhale through the nostrils as you slowly lower your chin back to neutral. Repeat for 8 to 12 breaths.
The Long Exhale
This 1:2 breathing practice, which involves gradually increasing your exhalation until it is twice the length of your inhalation, relaxes the nervous system.
Benefits: Can reduce insomnia, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.
Try it.. Before bedtime to help support sleep, in the middle of the night when you're struggling with insomnia, or at any time of the day to calm stress or anxiety. In general, it's best to avoid practicing 1:2 breathing first thing in the morning unless you're experiencing anxiety. The relaxing effects of the practice tend to make it more difficult to get up and go on with your day.How to: Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place a palm on the abdomen and take a few relaxed breaths, feeling the abdomen expand on the inhalation and gently contract on the exhalation. With your palm on your abdomen, mentally count the length of each inhalation and exhalation for several more breaths. If the inhalation is longer than the exhalation, you can begin to make them the same length over the next few breaths.
Once your inhalation and exhalation are equal, gradually increase the length of your exhalation by 1 to 2 seconds by gently contracting the abdomen. As long as the breath feels smooth and relaxed, continue to gradually increase the exhalation by 1 to 2 seconds once every few breaths. Make sure you experience no strain as the exhalation increases and keep going until your exhalation is up to twice the length of the inhalation, but not beyond. For example, if your inhalation is comfortably 4 seconds, do not increase the length of your exhalation to more than 8 seconds.
Keep in mind that even an exhalation that is only slightly longer than the inhalation can induce a calming effect, so take care that you don't push yourself beyond your capacity.If you do, you'll likely activate the sympathetic nervous system, or stress response, and feel agitated rather than calm.
If your breath feels uncomfortable or short, or if you're gasping on the next inhalation, back off to a ratio that is more comfortable for 8 to 12 breaths. Then finish your practice with 6 to 8 natural, relaxed breaths....
The Buddhist meditation of mindful breathing is an excellent way to attain concentration, happiness, spontaneous healing and spiritual insight. It is a unique process of becoming more and more aware of the existence in the present moment.it down in a quiet and dimly-lit place; keep spine erect and eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths, tense your whole body and relax. Feel with every inhalation, fresh energy entering your body and with every exhalation fatigue, worries and stress going out like grey smoke.
Without making any effort to control your breathing, simply observe each inhalation and exhalation. Tune in to the actual physical sensation of breathing in your nose as the air rushes in and out.
Now be aware of the up and down movement of chest and belly along with breathing for some time. Now observe the heartbeat and pulse in the whole body along with the breathing. Allow to expand awareness from the tip of the nose to hands and fingers, feet and toes and whole body in the present moment. Be aware of the muscles, bones and blood circulation in the body.
Now listen to the soft sound produced by the air rushing in and out during breathing. Expand the awareness from the physical movement of the body to sound. Relax and enjoy pure awareness of effortless breathing and surrender to calmness.
If you are sluggish in energy, focus attention on sensations in head, throat and chest. If mind is restless, focus on chest and stomach movements with each breath.
This meditation settles us into eternal present. We become aware of the vital realm of consciousness alive in us here and now......http://www.hindustantimes.com/
here are hundreds of meditation methods being practised all over the world. But, perhaps, Vipassana is one of the few time-tested methods. Vipassana, which means watching ones breath, has never failed because it brings our whole consciousness in the moment. Meditation also means the art of being in the moment no past, no future, just this moment.
When we pray or chant a mantra, our mind can wander off in all directions. Thinking continues. Calculations go on. The mind becomes full of market. We may start dreaming or having an inner dialogue with our beloved or wife, friend or an enemy. It does not matter with whom we may even end up talking with the Almighty God of our own imagination. We may even create a hallucination.
Everything that our mind does takes us to the past or the future. And what brings us back in the moment? Vipassana, the simple method of watching the breath in its natural rhythm.
We cannot breathe in the past or the future. It is simply impossible. In certain meditation methods, such as Osho Dynamic Meditation, vigorous breathing takes place. Such methods are really helpful as a preparation to move to simple methods of watching the breath.
Such methods bring deeper relaxation and when you relax later, you can watch your breath passively and naturally and continue to remain in the moment.
In Vipassana one goes inward with the breath consciously and comes out with it consciously. Theres no time gap in between. You are not thinking of exhaling when you are inhaling. You are not thinking of inhaling when you are exhaling. Go to the terrace or some other solitary place and try this method and see what happens to you in the process.
Just sitting and watching the breath is a traditional method of Vipassana. This method in its purity is very good but may not be suitable to everybody in the beginning. Most people have a lot of tension and they find it difficult to just sit and watch their breath. So I have a suggestion for them. Breathe vigorously for some time bring all your energy to exhaling and inhaling. A moment will come naturally when you will feel like sitting down or just standing or you may even want to lie down. Do that. Then watch your breath going in and coming out in its natural rhythm. You will feel the deepest rest and total relaxation, and at the same time a glimpse of meditation or expansion of your consciousness. With such techniques you can always find your own rhythm and time limit.
Meditation happens in deep restfulness, in passive alertness; it is not an action. It actually happens when all action stops and ultimately the mind stops. It is an intense feeling of unknown energy that resides within us.
This energy is really a delight and celebration. If you start your day like this you become very light and have a subtle dance in your ordinary walk. An early dose of this energy will work wonders for the rest of the day. You will move with a confidence you have never seen before.
Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take a few moments to simply be. Notice whatever is being experienced in the moment sounds, physical sensations, thoughts, feelings without trying to do anything about it. Continue like this a little while, allowing yourself to settle down. Now bring the attention to the breath. Simply notice the breath as it moves in and out as the body inhales and exhales. Notice how the breath moves in and out automatically, effortlessly. Dont try to manipulate it in any way. Notice all the details of the experience of breathing the feeling of the air moving in and out of the nose, the way the body moves as it breathes, etc. The mind will wander away from the breath thats fine, it doesnt matter. Thats a part of the meditation! When you notice that you are no longer observing the breath, easily bring your attention back to it. Let all of your experiences thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations come and go in the background of your awareness of the breath. Notice how all of your experiences thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, awareness of sounds and smells come automatically and effortlessly like the breath. In time, you can become aware of the tendencies of your mind. You will see how it resists certain experiences and tries to hold onto others. The natural settling down of the mind allows you to notice these underlying tendencies and creates the possibility to let them go. If you experience a resistance to what is occurring, an attempt to change what is happening, a tendency to hold on to some experience let it go.