Learning basic meditation techniques to restore and maintain a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance: Breathing and Rhythm. A ten minutes daily meditation practice is essential for leading a positive lifestyle:
- Remaining at peace with ourselves and everyone around us;
- Remaining in control of our thoughts and emotions;
- Reaching higher states of consciousness;
- Reconnecting with our ego and soul;
- Realizing we dwell within a physical body; we are not the physical body.
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Meditation Techniques: Breathing and Rhythm
Every meditation practice should start and should end with three deep breaths, and with the total awareness of our physical body. We should also clearly state our intention before beginning a meditation practice. In order to remain grounded, coming out of a meditation practice should always be peaceful; slowly bringing back our focus to our physical body, starting at our head, and ending at our feet. The four exercises below should not all be practiced on the same day. As you master the first exercise, you can move on to the next, and so on.
A proper breathing technique will allow us to benefit from the true advantages of a daily meditation practice; as we breathe, we must be aware of the air entering and leaving our body. When we breathe in through our nose, we must lower our diaphragm and completely expand our stomach in order to fill it entirely with air. We can then slowly open our chest and let the air fill our lungs and our esophagus. As we breath out through our nose, we must raise our diaphragm and suck in our stomach in order to completely exhale the air from our body.
Only through rhythm can we reach a higher state of consciousness and communicate with our Spirit and the Divine; rhythm is achieved by counting.
- Everything in the universe vibrates; nothing rests, everything moves;
- Everything that vibrates is compensated by rhythm; everything flows in and out, everything has its tide;
- The swing of the pendulum is manifested in everything; the measure of the swing to the left, is the measure of the swing to the right;
- If we experience extreme happiness, we will also experience extreme sadness; or had previously experienced it.
The First Exercise (counting in our minds)
The first exercise is simply breathing in to a count of four, breathing out to a count of four, and then repeating this cycle without pausing. Our breathing must follow a steady rhythm; we must count as we breathe in, and then breathe out for the same count. Once we are comfortable completing three cycles, we can practice for two minutes, then increase it to five minutes, and finally reaching our objective of 10 minutes. We can also start increasing the count to eight-ten-twelve as our heart rate slows down. Please remember, the goal is not to reach the highest count possible, but simply to maintain a steady rhythm throughout our meditation practice.
The Second Exercise (counting with our fingers)
The second exercise is identical to the first, but we are now counting with our fingers; we are liberating our mind to enter a deeper meditative state. We can also incorporate a mantra or visualization into this practice for manifestation purposes. I find it easiest to rest my right hand on my right knee, and softly raise/lower each finger on each count; we can also tap the tip of our thumb to the tip of each finger.
The Third Exercise (counting in our minds)
The third exercise is similar to the first, but in this exercise we will hold the breath after breathing in, and after breathing out. We breathe in to a count of four, we hold to a count of four, we breathe out to a count of four, we hold to a count of four, and we then repeat this cycle without pausing. Our breathing must follow a steady rhythm; we must count as we breathe in, and then hold, breathe out, and hold for the same count.
Holding our breath after breathing in should be an easy task, but holding our breath after breathing out might be a struggle. If we find ourselves gasping for air, we should reduce the count for all the steps in this exercise. It is also extremely important to always remain relaxed; we should never force or rush a breath. As we hold our breath in, we are actually fulfilling our ego with an abundance of materialistic desires and pleasures, but as we hold our breath out, we find ourselves in a state cleansed of our ego, and aligned with our soul. In this state, the ego will surely resist; we must remain patient.
- If we desire to increase the count, we must do so while holding the breath out; before breathing in;
- If we need to swallow our saliva, we must do so while holding our breath in.
The Forth Exercise (counting with our fingers)
The forth exercise is identical to the third, but we are once more counting with our fingers.
It is preferable to meditate first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, facing east; the rising sun will fill us with Divine energy. If we choose to sit on the floor or on a chair, we are facing east, but if we choose to lie on our back, our head should be pointing east. Every meditation practice should also be adapted to our personal level of comfort.
Jnana Mudra (the wisdom seal)
Touching the tips of the thumb and index fingers together, forming a circle, with the hands placed on the knees, and the palms facing up. This hand position gives a feeling of spaciousness and has a subtle uplifting effect on the body and mind.
Incense will enhance our focus and our meditation experience. Sandalwood is one of the most calming incense and therefore is one of the preferred ones for meditation. It calms the mind, enhances mental clarity, and aids in the opening of the Third Eye.
*Please note, I am not a doctor and I cannot provide medical advice. None of the information I share should be used as a replacement for seeking medical attention.