A key element in almost all meditation is your breathing. Another key element is your posture, although that’s mostly because it affects your breathing. Getting these right goes a long way towards making your experiences comfortable and effective.
They are also great for the rest of your life. Breathing balances your mind and your posture balances your body. Whether you want power, stability or health, you really want balance.
Luckily, one exercise corrects both at once. Talk about value for your time.
I will warn that it involves lying on the floor. If you have back issues, look after yourself first. If you have young children or pets, maybe lock the door.
Lie on your back and look up at the ceiling. You can use a pillow to support your head if you need. Without a pillow, though, you’ll gain a sense of how your spine feels when properly aligned.
Memorise how your posture feels. It should be as straight and relaxed as this while meditating.
I’ll come back to your posture. Let’s talk about your breathing now.
Place one hand on the centre of your chest. The other should go right below your belly button.
Then, while still on the floor, breathe. Inhale and exhale as naturally as you can and notice what your hands do.
Most people will notice both hands moving. Some people will realise that only their chest moves when they breathe.
If you want to be calmer, feel less stress and have more energy, chest-breathing is not your friend. You want to spend us much time breathing with your diaphragm as possible.
Especially while meditating.
Adjust your breathing so that your chest doesn’t move. Your belly should inflate and deflate like a balloon. Keep your breathing slow, steady and comfortable.
Practice this. Ten minutes of this, three times a week, will even transform how your voice sounds when you speak.
Take it easy, though. If you ever feel short of breath, don’t push through that. Listen to your body at all times.
When you get used to diaphragmatic breathing, the next step is to try it while standing. The act of standing engages muscles to fight gravity, so you’ll find that it’s harder. Your breath will want to rise to your chest because of tension in your abdomen.
Relax and breathe until your chest doesn’t move. Not even a millimetre.
And you’ll find, by no coincidence at all, that the only way to breathe with your diaphragm without feeling short of breath. You’ll notice that when your breathing is perfect, so is your posture.
This is a physiological change that drives psychological change. You might find that this exercise alone resolves a lot of issues in your life. If you’re unlucky, it will only fix physical ones.
These improvements will lay the foundation for you to go even deeper inside your mind. If you practice the basics of self-hypnosis with this exercise, each will strengthen the other.
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