Tag Archives: breathing

Breathing and mindfulness

Breathing & Mindfulness

“So, at the beginning, you might want to stay with the breath, or use it as an anchor to bring you back when you are carried away. Try for a few years and see what happens”

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you go, there you are. Mindfulness meditation in everyday life.

“Use the breath as an anchor to tether your attention to the present moment. Your thinking mind will drift here and there, depending on the currents and winds moving in the mind until at some point, the anchor line grows taut and brings you back”.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

“There are many ways to come back to the here and the now and touch life deeply. But they all involve mindful breathing, If we´re anchored in our mindful breathing, we can practice anytime. Otherwise we risk missing our lives, our lives that are lived in the here and now”.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Your true home. The every day wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Anchors

Anchor Anclaje

Anchors or anchoring points, are places we go back to again and again when our mind starts wandering off while we are meditating, while we’re practising sitting meditation.

They are places to go to, when our mind gets lost. It’s like a refuge in the mountains for those who need to rest, or need to spend the night. They are safe havens, places where we can go again and again, and we will always feel welcome. It is like going home or going to see a good friend, or someone we feel secure with.

When we meditate our mind frequently starts to become active, and starts to think… various kind of thoughts…

When we start meditating, our first anchor is the breath. Breathing in and breathing out. Going back to the breath again and again… It doesn´t matter how many times… we just do it.

It could be that we keep meditating for a long time, for a number of years, and we just use the breath as an anchor.

But after using it for some time we can explore other anchors…

The next step is contact… the contact points of our body with the chair, with the cushion, with the mat, with the floor.

We can also use those intense physical sensations like itch, tingling or pain.

Of course there are the sounds… All sorts of sounds around us, that can distract us, even unnerve us while we are trying to keep concentrated, meditating… But as it can happen with intense sensations, instead of getting angry, or disturbed, we can befriend that sound that has got in without permission, and use it as an anchor…

Is there anything missing…? Of course the thoughts… And again as happened with those other unwanted visitors, we can use them as an anchoring point, in a ¨touch and go” kind of way. We are aware of it, we touch it, and then we let it go…

After the breath, we can go in a systematic way to the different anchoring points that we have just mentioned, or we can keep it open, welcoming whatever comes along… A touch, a thought, a sound…

Everything is welcome, everyone is welcome… Whatever it is… Whoever it is…

Walking meditation

walking meditation mindfulness

Walking is something we all do every day. But in most cases, we do it automatically, without thinking on the added value it can bring us.

Jon Kabat-Zin wanted to give a new meaning to walking, so he introduced the walking meditation within the formal practices that form the MBSR – Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Practicing walking meditation is as simple as walking, but while you do it, you can add to the meditation other stimuli, p.e., what you see, what you feel, the smells, the feel of your feet when they get in touch with the ground… what you should avoid is not to try getting caught for other thoughts that alienate us from cultivating our inner observation.

It may be difficult at the beginning: for many years we have used our legs mechanically likely you could even feel awkward during the activity. You can set your eyes straight ahead or you can look down and see how the foot up from the floor and back down, and feel the rhythm of your steps.

Any time is good for practicing walking meditation: in small displacements, at home, in a park, in the way to or back from work … there’s always a good chance to make that path a chance to meditate. Walking as a practice itself, try not to treat it as a further goal, as we usually do during our busy daily life.

Take your time. Do not run. Only wander without looking for a goal, not a destination, without the intention of reaching a particular location. If, for example, you put it into practice during a journey that you are used to do it in 5 minutes, allow yourself to do it in double time and practice walking meditation for 10 minutes.

Before starting practice, think about breathing slowly during those two or three initial steps to accustom your body and mind to this new way of walking. The soles should focus your attention: be aware of the contact between them and the ground you walk on.

You have to control your breathing. Make it mild and slow. It will help you to reduce the effects of stress and facilitate meditation. Make deep but slow breaths inhaling air through the nose and exhaling through your mouth.

And, most important advice: do it lively. Don’t think about a minimum or maximum time for practicing this meditation. And at the end, take a moment for reflect on what you have done, how through the practice, you have found serenity, peace, inner joy.

Sitting meditation

 

Sitting meditation mindfulness

Finding some time for oneself…

What a difficult thing to do in a fast-paced world like the one we live in…

We all deserve some time for us. Time in which we will not be disturbed. No phone, no interruptions, just ourselves.
It is not easy. There are always other things to do. The current in which we are all immersed is too strong…

In order to get some consistency and commitment, effort and discipline may be needed.

At the beginning it can be just five minutes. Five minutes to start with.

We can sit indoors or outdoors. We can sit on the floor, on a cushion, or on a chair. Sitting in an upright position, in a dignified posture.

We can place our hands on our lap, or on our thighs, whatever feels best for us.

We start by focusing our attention on our breathing. Breathing in, and breathing out. Feeling our abdomen how it expands with the in breath, and how it retracts with the out breath.

Nothing else exists. Just the breathing. The air going in and out.

All kind of thoughts will try to capture our attention. Thoughts, feelings, emotions… It’s okay. No guilt, no judgments. Just being aware of it, and going back to our breathing.

Once more, our mind starts wandering… Just being conscious of it, and gently returning our attention to the breathing.

It is not a struggle, nor a competition with one self or others.

It is an encounter with the now, with the present moment, with ourselves.

All of a sudden, we realize that the time is over. We may have the feeling that our mind has been wandering all the time. That we haven’t done it right, that something has failed, that this was not made for us…

We may feel discouraged, or even disappointed.

No expectations here… Just letting things flow, trusting, experiencing the experience…

Whatever it might be, wherever it may lead us…

As John Kabat Zinn says: “Try for a few years and see what happens…”.