Breathing awareness and breathing techniques are very important for one’s continuing success of meditation. It is vital to remember that the first thing one needs to do is become completely aware of their breathing before they proceed to any meditation –this is regardless of whether the instructions do or don’t mention breathing.
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1) The inner calm
On the whole, a breathing technique is the simplest path to gaining inner calm. Doing fifteen minutes of breathing exercises every day can accomplish a considerable reduction in stress-related symptoms.
Breathing is a function of the body that’s controlled by both involuntary and voluntary nervous system –this forms a bridge between the outer and inner self. There are many breathing techniques of meditation, and it’s the most “natural” object of the practice that makes it easier to focus towards attention rather than thought.
2) The purpose
The initial phase of meditation is stopping distractions and making the mind more lucid and clearer. This can be achieved through breathing practices. Breathing slows, clams, and relaxes one’s breathing, which in turn helps in quieting and calming the mind, making it ready for meditation.
It is vital that the breathing is relaxed and calm before attempting to focus on the next level of meditation. One needs to spend a few minutes to let go of the hectic outer activities and its impact on one’s mental state. Breathing is just the right thing for this.
3) The basic guidelines
Before doing any meditation breathing technique, it is important to prepare yourself for the upcoming undertaking. As much as possible, blow the nose and clear the nostrils before starting. Begin to practice the breathing at room-temperature environment. Very hot or cold air may affect the health adversely.
Moreover, do the breathing in fresh air free of chemicals, smoke, or other damaging elements in the environment. During breathing, air is pulled deeper into the lungs, and the air needs to be fresh and clean. Breath only through the nostrils, unless otherwise specified.
The breath’s fluidity is the main priority, so if the breath starts to be uneven or choppy, stop what’s being done and allow the breath to get back to its own natural pace.
If you start to experience dizziness, faintness, or light-headedness, stop and allow the breath to go back to its natural tempo. This is the result of heightened oxygen levels that the body might not be used to. One can increase the breathing practice and use oxygen gradually.
Take caution if you have any heart condition, bronchitis, asthma, low or high blood pressure, or any other physical condition that requires medical supervision.
4) The techniques
There are lots of breathing techniques that helps one become aware of the more subtle space within oneself. The techniques will vary on the type of meditation chosen, but the main aim remains to be calming and relaxing in preparation for meditation.
Simple Breathing Awareness
This is among the simplest of the breathing techniques, yet one that’s very powerful and rewarding. It’s best practiced when one lies flat with their back on the floor and knees either bent or straight. As one improves, it may be practiced while standing, walking, or sitting, as long as good posture is maintained. Poor posture obstructs the breath and distracts the concentration.
The secret behind this technique is observing the breath without deliberately trying to change it. The observation of the breathing filters down into the subconscious levels of the brain, beginning delicately to “shift and refine” the breathing. This gradually leads one to the ideal path of perfect breathing. Conscious efforts to change breathing will only interfere and create tension and anxiety.
When one is able to adapt to simple breathing awareness, the breathing’s character can dramatically improve in a short time. Slowly, in a period of a couple of days, weeks, or months, one will be able to improve using their lungs’ full capacity.
Ujjayi Breathing Technique
This technique is practiced through half closing one’s epiglottis behind the throat. Doing this partly restricts airflow, causing a hissing or rasping sound behind the throat as one breathes in and out. In most cases, people breathe this way when they’re asleep. Don’t attempt to make the breathing sound loud so that others hear it. Instead, the breathing must sound similar to soft and gentle whisper.
With practice, one can be able to easily breathe in this way. The breathing technique allows one to listen to the sound of their breathing, thus helping the mind to focus on the breathing. It may be used with complete breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, and “alternate nostril breathing” exercises.
In fact, it may be used with nearly all breathing techniques, except bellows breath, Breath of Fire, cleansing breath, and the likes that involves sharp and forceful diaphragm contractions.
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