3 Easy Meditations

We lay in bed, tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep as thoughts race through our heads. All that is desired is some relief, relief from the constant stimulation that rings.

cantsleep3

Meditation   is not about “shutting down”, but about quieting, redirecting and controlling your thoughts. When we reduce the chatter then we may listen to our heart, not be stuck in our heads.

This can be done anytime and anywhere. When we are able to take control of our thoughts that is when we truly begin to take control of our mind, body, and the reality in which we live.

Each of these meditations will help you to root into the now. When you learn to focus on the senses, sights, or sounds around you and within you, you begin to grow the roots. Being in the now is about focusing on what is happening in the present moment, not what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow.

 

  1. Meditate on each breath.

The breath is a tool that allows us to make connections between our mind (brain/central nervous system) and the body (every muscle, patch of skin, organ, and tissue).  The second we direct our thoughts to controlling the breath is the moment that we begin to take control of tools that we are given. This brain and body are the tools that we must use to act out our thoughts, the breath is what connects the two, links them together so that they work as one. Sometimes if you are off balance, the two will become disoriented, and will bring your body into dis-ease.

All right, now you may be asking, how do I practice a breathing meditation?

Breathing meditation is simple. You THINK about your breath.

Everyone is different, for some it may be easier to feel the breath, others may picture the movement of the breath, or you may find it difficult to practice either way, and that is ok too. It may take some time to be able to see and feel what is happening, but with the right amount of intention anything is possible.

You may lie down or sit up tall in a chair with your feet planted on the floor, just make sure the spine is straight. You may also practice this meditation in the car, at your office, standing in line at the grocery store. If you are breathing, then this meditation can be practiced .

Place your hand over your belly, and breath into your hand (if you are in a public you can keep your hands at your sides or on the steering wheel). As you inhale your belly should rise/move away from the spine, as you exhale your belly should fall/ move towards the spine.  If you are unable to breath into your belly, keep trying! Soon enough your body will catch up to your intention.

You may observe your breath for as long as you want. I would set a timer for 3-5 minutes to start; I like to use the app Secondspro. With this app I am able to set a gong sound to signal the end of the time or transition from one meditation to another.

Remember that your mind will wander! That is OK, it is natural, all you must do is acknowledge that your mind wandered and come back to the breath. This will bring you even deeper into relaxation.

 

  1. Candle light meditation (Improve your concentration!)

The candle light meditation is about improving your concentration and awareness. You will begin by finding a comfortable seat, on a chair or meditation pillow/chair.

Grab a candle, one where the flame will be visible, not in a votive or glass. You will place the candle a  3 feet or so in front of you, preferably at eye level, but it is not crucial.

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Begin with the eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths. Open your eyes then begin to stare at the flame. Once you have painted a mental picture of the flame, close your eyes. Keep the picture in your mind, if the mind wanders bring it back to the flame.

If you lose the picture open your eyes and stare at the flame for about 10-20 seconds, then close your eyes again. You can set a timer for 5-10 minutes.

It is important for you to be able to hold an image within the mind, imagery is one of the many ways to improve confidence and strengthen your concentration.

 

  1. Walking/moving meditation

Meditation is not always about being still. It is about where your focus resides. What are you thinking about? Where has your mind taken you?

Whenever you are on the move, this meditation can be practiced. The best place for a walking meditation is in nature, but just about anywhere will work. As you are walking start to breathe with intention and settle your thoughts. Now begin to ask, what sounds are around me? Are there cars, people talking, a horn honking? What do you see? What do you feel? Keep asking yourself questions about your current surroundings and feelings. If you notice your mind wondering just gently ask another question and bring yourself back to the present moment.

walking meditation

The mind is the most powerful tool that we own. Learn to control your thoughts, connect with your breath, and become aware of your surroundings. When this is achieved we then have the ability to take hold of our reality and respond to our environment with better awareness .

 

 

 

 

 

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Let Stress Be Your Guide To Stillness

Society tells us that we must remove stress from our lives. Leading us down a vicious cycle. We spend time trying to remove stress from our lives, and then stress out even more when the exact opposite occurs. What if stress was good? What if, instead of removing it you are able to increase your capacity to manage the stressors that are currently in your life, as well as the surprise challenges that occur at the most inopportune moments?

Perception is Reflection

Perception is Reflection

We cannot remove our body’s reaction to the challenges in our lives, we should be thankful for them and learn to find calm and relaxation as much as possible to counter-balance the “fight or flight” response that occurs daily. If we are always in constant stress and never fully relaxed how are we able to gauge how much stress is really in our lives? We must bring awareness to the way our mind and body respond to a certain situation, and then be able to release the emotion (anger, frustration, anxiety, etc) or physiological response (increased blood pressure, heart rate, etc) as soon as it occurs.

Our bodies are our instruments, our minds are the remote, the breath and central nervous system program and connect the two.  Think of stress and relaxation as a continuum, the breath is how you regulate between the two. It is important to have a wide capacity for both stress and relaxation. To know stress is to know peace.

So you may now be asking, “Great, so I need to use my breath more. How do I incorporate this into my every day life?”

It is simple. Begin by placing your hand over your belly button, THINK about expanding the belly button into your hand and gently press the belly button in on the exhale, image you are using your abdominal muscles to press the air out from the bottom of the lungs. The lungs can be filled up like balloons, it starts by filling up the deepest part of the balloon, expanding in all directions till it reaches it capacity, at the top, the point of entry for the air.

shallow vs full breathing

This may not happen right away, you may get frustrated because the air just goes into your chest, you will have to THINK about bringing the air into the belly. After a few or many tries, at that exact moment when you are able to breathe into your hand, finally, something will click, you will become aware, and you will have control. Autopilot turned OFF.

To hear more about deep belly breathing watch the video in my previous post HERE

Primal Coding: Deep Belly Breathing

 

My journey with the breath began a few years back. I was in search of something within me that I had not yet uncovered. My outlook was changing and my mind was in need of a rest, always racing day in and day out. I was in search for something to stop the chatter. I began to practice breath-work and meditation on my own and then discovered Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is a deep spiritual practice and not for the weary, but for those who are not afraid to challenge the body and mind. As I begin to practice Kundalini yoga and get deeper into my meditation and breathing practices I began to notice how the breath was enabling me to push past the discomfort. I had finally taken control of the chatter. Today,  I utilized the knowledge gained from the numerous books that I have read, kundalini yoga, and all the experiences from my personal practice to teach others how to control the breath and take their mind and body off auto-pilot. Pranayama-3

The foundation of ALL pranayama (breath-work) is the ability to breathe into the abdomen and utilize the appropriate muscle to breathe. The abdominals, diaphragm, and intercostals (muscles between the rig-cage) are the muscles we are suppose to use with each breath. The problem is when our mind is cluttered with stressful thoughts our breath will be come stressed and then move up into the chest. If we are always stressed then we are always breathing only into the chest. This causes us to use the muscles of our neck and shoulders, which leads to headaches, back and neck pain, along with low back pain due to tightness within the diaphragm (attaches to lumbar spine and rib cage). In the video below I explain WHY, WHEN, and HOW to breath into the belly. Enjoy!