Breathing Your Way to Mindfulness

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Mindfulness has become increasingly trendy and gaining popularity across the world’s consciousness. This is because successfully meditating on being aware of one’s state of mind can lead to some amazing benefits. People are starting to understand just how powerful being mindful can be, especially in focusing oneself towards success – in any aspect of the human experience or condition.

 

Mindfulness is such a simple concept, and when practiced consciously, it is also very effective for dealing with so many stress-related issues. Being mindful is being in the “now”. It focuses the mind on the present, not on the past and not on the future either. Mindfulness is the art of becoming aware of the body and the thoughts that are crossing through your head NOW! So you train to observe your mood, feel your sensations, get in tune with your body and you do all this while breathing deeply, progressively going deeper and deeper.

Through the breathing process, note when you encounter anything negative, then simply push it aside. Anything disturbing you causing you to feel regret, anger, frustration or negativity in any way, you simply push it aside. It is as simple as that! Any worry about the coming days is of little use too, and nothing is as important as the state you are in at the moment in time you call up your state of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is at the core of all Buddhist meditation. The best way to gain mindfulness is through conscious deep breathing, which is the precursor to meditation. This can differ from person to person. The key is to learn the yogic breathing techniques and then practise it according to what is most comfortable for you. You can start with the level one breathing only, then move to level 2 and finally to level 3. The key to success here is having the discipline to get started and to keep going until the practice of the three levels of deep breathing becomes a daily habit, a ritual you incorporate into your daily life.

Over time, you develop mindfulness of the body and going inwards as awareness of your body develops.

Mindfulness will dramatically reduce stress levels, which has a multiplier effect on your general well-being. In time, you begin to experience a mental clarity that can be very invigorating. You will experience better sleep, improved digestion and generally have a healthier outlook. You become calmer, get angry less often and indeed will even begin to feel love coming into you and flowing out of you. A sort of restfulness settles over you. Life appears very beautiful.

Mindfulness meditation slows down the heart rate, lowers the blood pressure and induces a state of relaxation that actually leads to regeneration. The brain gets nourished and the mind becomes powerful. As the body muscles relax, so too does the mind let go of everything inconsequential. This enables the mind to focus with great clarity; which brings you in touch with your own inner power. This is when Mindfulness begins to emerge, getting stronger the more you practise.

To get started, learn this MINDFUL DEEP BREATHING EXERCISE. Make the effort to inhale deeply and exhale slowly. When you breathe, think of the air moving from your navel to your throat as you inhale and back down to the navel as you exhale. Once you start, you will feel yourself creating a calming connection between your body and your mind. Note that in addition to empowering yourself, there will also be some health benefits. This is because deep breathing relaxes your muscles, enhances your lung capacity and increases oxygen levels within you that strengthen the immune systems of your mind, body and spirit. This will heighten your awareness levels and in time bring on the experience of mindfulness. This is when you become very aware of the here and now. That is when life can seem quite beautiful.

To begin, try doing the five stage breathing sequence slowly, remembering not to strain as you breathe in and out. Breathe easily and slowly. Make your breathing smooth and effortless.

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POSITION: Lie down on your back. Relax. Hands and legs are stretched out. Palms of your hands turned up. Eyes closed. This is the yogic starting point called Savasana.

ABDOMINAL BREATHING: Inhale and let the abdomen rise to its limit. Exhale and let it fall completely. Keep the chest still. Move only the abdomen. Breathe twenty times and then relax.

CHEST BREATHING: Next, inhale and fill the rib cage. Exhale and let it collapse completely sinking to its limits. Keep the abdomen still, moving only the chest. Do 20 breathing cycles and then stop.

UPPER CHEST BREATHING: Take a few short breaths to open the upper chest area. Then start the breathing. Your shoulders will lift slightly as you inhale and go down as you exhale. As you inhale, expand and lift the upper area, and as you exhale, relax completely. Keep both abdomen and chest still. Do 20 breath cycles and then stop.

FULL YOGA BREATHING: This is the last stage where you combine all the three levels of breathing. Thus inhale filling the abdomen, then the chest, then the upper chest. Then work your way back down, exhaling first from the upper chest, then breathe out from the chest, and finally continue breathing out from the abdomen. This is one complete round of yogic breathing. Do 20 complete rounds and then stop.

As you get better at deep-breathing exercises, you will start to experience Mindfulness. In the beginning, you can use the enhanced awareness to simply feel happier, more relaxed. You perform better at exams, speak better at important interviews and feel more confident at meetings. You experience a heightened sense of balance and will feel rested and relaxed. Stress gets reduced. Depression gets thrown out. Slowly but surely, daily satisfaction levels gently improve.