October Yoga: Deep Breathwork and Meditation: An exercise
Here’s an example of a meditation that I do every morning. This can be done at any time of the day. I prefer the mornings as it sets the tone for the rest of my day and I don’t have to worry about it. It’s done.
It involves three things: Getting into a comfortable seated position, deep breathwork and a form of Zen meditation.
1. Getting into a comfortable seated position:
Find a comfortable seat that is accessible for you. This is an act of meditation itself and sets the tone. Here are three options below:
- Cross-legged on the floor: Sit on a cushion or some folded blankets to elevate your hips so that they are higher than your knees. I like to sit on a Zafu meditation cushion and then I support my knees and feet with a blanket. I often find first thing in the morning, I don’t have the knee flexibility to be able to sit cross-legged comfortably so I use cushions and blankets to support my knees and feet. See photos below.
- Legs straight out in front of you: If you find that you have compression in your legs when sitting in a cross-legged position then sit with your back against a wall and have your legs straight out on the floor. You may want to place a small rolled up towel between your lower back and the wall to provide your lumbar spine support.
- Sitting in a chair: Find a chair whose height allows you to have your feet flat on the floor and a back to support your spine. Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor hip width or slightly wider apart.
Once you are seated, position yourself so that your spine is straight and the crown of your head is tall. Chin is parallel to the floor. Place your hands palm down on the thighs. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
Start your timer for 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes.
Close your eyes.
2. Deep breathwork
Begin by inhaling deeply through the nose into your belly, then pulling the breath into the rib cage, expanding the breath into the side ribs, all the way up to the top of the collar bones.
Pause (if you are pregnant – do not pause)
Exhale through the nose, from the chest down to the belly.
Pull the belly back towards the spine as you exhale and at the same pull the pelvic floor up towards the heart. In men, this is the perineum, in women, it is the head of the cervix.
Relax the belly and the pelvic floor and start the inhale again.
Repeat for 3, 5, or 10 breaths.
3. Zen Meditation
Slowly open your eyes halfway and let your gaze fall upon an object 1-1.5 meters away from you on the floor or a wall.
Let your gaze soften.
Count the exhales of your breath from 1 to 10. When you reach 10, start over from 1.
If thoughts come to disturb you let them come and let them go. Bring yourself back to your meditation and continue counting. If you lose track of what number you are on, start over from 1 again.
When the timer beeps, signaling the end of the meditation, close your eyes, bring your hands together in prayer position at your heart. Take a deep inhale and as you exhale, bow your head.
Continue with the rest of your day.
Let me know how you get on.
Til next month – Jenn
Seated Cross Legged with blanket support under knees: (Cat optional)