The mind matters most! So essential and beautiful to have a full presence in the body, space around us, with other beings, earth and universe. To be truly in this life in all it’s glory and holiness. Aside from proper nutrition and water, nothing is more important than a daily mindfulness practice. It is dangerous to your health and soul/true self to not practice! I just got back from completing my 3rd 10-day vipassana meditation course. Details via the link below. Awareness of respiration and body sensations, sharpening the mind while remaining equanimous (with a balanced mind). Not reacting with craving to positive sensations nor with avulsion toward the negative. Recognize the impermanence of all things within the law of nature. Live a moral life full of compassion and joy. Do not kill. Do not steal. Know thyself. Get the band back together: body, mind and spirit!
Below are two that we teach in our clinic.
1. A room, breath and body focus technique:
Sit comfortably or lie down. If you tend to fall asleep lying down, then it is better to sit. Keep both feet on the ground if sitting in a chair. Bring your attention to the room, from far walls, then to objects closer. This will help you to ground yourself into the space around you and help settle the mind. When you are ready bring your attention to your breath. You can close your eyes at this time ideally or keep open. Observe your breath and change it to a slow abdominal breath. (see mindful breathing below) Notice your shoulders: are they suspended above your ribs or resting. Allow them to rest on your rib cage. Allow your facial muscles to relax. Allow your belly to rise on the in breath and fall on the out breathe. Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth. Follow your breath for a few cycles or more, especially on the slow exhalation. Then bring your attention to your body. Scan your body for any sensations. From the feet to the head or head to feet. Just observe without judgment. You will notice your mind wandering and this is natural. After noticing the wandering, gently bring your attention back to the breath or body. The mind needs exercise just like the body does. Every time you are thinking or triggered or upset and you bring your attention back to your breadth and body you are ‘flexing your brain muscle’ and strengthening your brain. This is called neuroplasticity. And you can practice this all day long in every occasion. Our stress and struggles in our life, which are often unavoidable, can become teaching moments that strengthen us rather than drag us down.
2. Mindful Breathing:
Shallow breathing may lead to tension and fatigue. Breathing with your diaphragm tends to reduce stress and improve energy.
Abdominal breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a powerful way to decrease stress by activating relaxation centers in the brain. The abdominal expansion causes negative pressure to pull blood into the chest, improving the venous flow of blood back to the heart.
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, with your feet slightly apart, one hand on your abdomen near the navel, and the other hand on your chest.
Gently exhale the air in your lungs through your mouth, then inhale slowly through your nose to the count of 4, pushing out your abdomen slightly and concentrating on your breath. As you breathe in, imagine warm air flowing all over your body. Hold the breath for a count of at least 4 but not more than 7.
Slowly exhale through your mouth while counting to 8. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely release the remaining air in the lungs.
Repeat until you feel deeply relaxed for a total of 5 cycles. You may be able to do only 1 or 2 cycles at first
Once you feel comfortable with your ability to breathe into the abdomen, it is not necessary to use your hands on your abdomen and chest.
May all beings be happy and free.