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We start breathing from the moment we are born, yet as we grow older we forget how to properly breathe. In times of stress, illness, or birth of a child we often hear the words “breathe” and see the positive effects in releasing the symptoms.
This article explains how to use Conscious breathing to bring healing, loving-kindness to our dear bodies. The physical effect of this can be truly remarkable. As they say, “Love your body and take care of your body. Conscious breathing, with plenty of rest, can do miracles. “
Have you ever noticed how a baby breathes? Deep, slow breaths through the stomach.
As we grow older, and become faced with more stressful situations, our breathing tends to channel more into our chest. Chest breathing is referred to as “shallow breathing” and limits the amount of oxygen you can inhale with each breath. Belly breathing, sometimes known as diaphragmatic breathing is a form of deep breathing. Deep breathing allows your body to ingest more oxygen. Ingesting more oxygen means reduced stress levels, less anxiety, and a more focused brain. The brain needs a lot of fuel to operate at a high level for a prolonged period of time. Developing your breathing habits to channel more oxygen and energy into your system is highly beneficial. It is also completely free, and can be done anywhere, at any time.
Once you start consciously pausing to deep breathe during high levels of stress, you will start to unconsciously breathe deeper naturally throughout the day. You won’t even have to think about it anymore, your body is already trained to take slower, deeper breaths, while you can consciously focus on your present task. The body will automatically know how to deal with stress issues that arise. It will associate any perceived stress as just another opportunity to consciously breathe deep. Soon it will never have to visit it consciously very often, leaving you more time to focus on accomplishing your tasks.
Deep breathing can also have great physical benefits as well. Along with your brain, your body’s other organs needs oxygen as well. They also need to not be under stress to function as efficiently and effectively as possible. Most disease stems from long-term stress. The body cannot fight off disease when it is under constant pressure.
Deep breathing enables me to find that “zone” state that I need to work at my best when i heal clients or when i need peace of mind and inspiration. It is hard to tap into your creativity without being in this zone state. Creativity tends to flourish when one is completely relaxed and tuned into a nice flow of positive energy. For some folks out there, this zone state is hard to maintain throughout the day, the trick to maintaining at this state is training oneself to remain focused, and practice this on daily basis until this becomes your new reality. External distractions tend to sway you out of a nice vibration; it is hard to channel your best energy into projects when your environment is working against you, there fore it is extremely important to find the right environment. An environment that acts as an escape from reality, is loving and welcomes creative ideas.
To enjoy the benefits from deep breathing, it is important to constantly put in the conscious effort and focus in the initial growing phase. These techniques needs to be employed on a consistent basis for them to have any long-term effect. Note, deep breathing consistently doesn’t create the autopilot habit in your subconscious mind. After prolonged conscious effort, conscious effort won’t even be necessary. Your natural unconscious breathing pattern will have you taking long slow breaths without even thinking about breathing. This will help keep you more relaxed, focused, and full of energy throughout the day with minimal effort. At any point you notice tension or stress, it is easy to pause for a few minutes to ground yourself with your breathing. It would be foolish to become a slave to your mind’s negative thoughts, you can just breathe them away with a little effort on your part.
The First Exercise of Conscious Breathing
My dear fellow light beings, the first exercise proposed by the Buddha concerning Conscious breathing: “Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in; breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out.” To recognize breathing is the first exercise. There are four exercises about Conscious breathing concerning the body.
We should always start with our physical bodies, because our physical bodies also needs peace, harmony and rest. In order for our mind to be concentrated, and also for our minds to be in peace and harmony, walking meditation, sitting meditation, and deep relaxation are exercises that concern our physical bodies.
As the society evolved over the century’s, we have lost our capacity to really rest our bodies. That is why we all need vacations to rest, but to rest is an art. Many among us know how to rest, but some others don’t know how to rest. Our bodies need rest in order to heal. There are wounds in our bodies, as in our minds, and rest is necessary. The practice of Conscious breathing allows us to realize this rest.
Animals in the forest, every time they are wounded, know how to rest. They look for a very quiet place, and they just stay there, without moving, for many days. They know it’s the best way for their bodies to heal. During this time they don’t even think to eat or to run after prey. This wisdom is still alive in animals, but we human beings have lost the capacity to rest. We know we need vacations, we need rest, but we don’t know how to use the time that is given to us. Sometimes, after a vacation, we are more tired than if we didn’t have the vacation. So we have to learn how to rest.
Deep relaxation here is one of the methods of resting. Walking meditation is also a method. Sitting meditation is another means to rest. In order to rest, you have to know how to use your breathing. The first exercise the first exercise that the Buddha proposed is “While I am breathing in, I am aware that this is breathing in; and I breathe out, and I am aware that I am breathing out.” Recognizing breathing in as breathing in, and breathing out as breathing out.
The Second Exercise of Conscious Breathing
The second exercise: “I breathe in, and I am aware of the length of my in-breath; breathing out, I am aware of the length of my out-breath.” During the second exercise, we are aware of the length of the in-breath and the out-breath. That means that we are aware only of breathing in and breathing out. If your in-breath is long like this…you are aware of the in-breath all during the length of the in-breath. That doesn’t mean that a long in-breath is better than a short in-breath. What is important here is Conscious. It is not the length of breathing in or breathing out. If the in-breath is long, you know it. If the out-breath is long, you know it that is all.
Do not try to prolong the breath; just allow it to be the way it is, naturally. If it’s short, let it be short. You only need to light the light of Consciousness to recognize what is gong on at that moment. In this case it is a long in-breath, in that case it is an in-breath of another length. Light up the light of Consciousness, in order to recognize that this is an in-breath and it is quite a long in-breath. During practice you touch deeply your in-breath and your out-breath, and you stop thoughts. We should not interfere with the length of the breath, only being aware of what is going on.
So, during the first exercise, breathing in, breathing out; during the second, long and short. During the second exercise we are aware of the length of the in-breath or the out-breath.
The Third Exercise of Conscious Breathing
With the third, I breathe in and I am aware of my whole body. That means while you breathe like this, you generate energy of Consciousness, and with the energy of Consciousness you embrace your whole body.
You recognize your whole body being present here, either sitting, lying down, standing, or walking. Breathing is to generate the object of Consciousness. The object of Consciousness here is the whole body. You know that in the first exercise the object of Consciousness is in-breath, out-breath. In the second exercise, the object is length of the breath; in the third, it is to embrace, to contact, to touch something that is more than the breath, the physical body.
The physical body is the foundation of the breath. So you start with pure breathing, and you arrive at your physical body. Breathing in, I am aware of my whole physical body; breathing out, I am aware of my whole physical body. That way, we start to recognize our whole physical body, we embrace it, and we are at peace with it. “Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body.” This seems to be very simple, but it is extremely important. We started to come back to the breath, and after becoming one with our in-breath, now we are becoming one with our physical body. This is returning, coming back. We wandered a lot in the past, but now we are determined to come back to ourselves. The first destination is the breath, and then it is the body, and later the feelings, the perceptions, and consciousness, knowledge.
Take another step in order to come back to yourself as a physical body: “Breathing in, I am aware of my whole physical body.” This is already a love meditation. We have to be very interested in our physical body. “I recognize you, my physical body. I have abandoned you too much, but now I’m coming back, and I recognize you as existing.”
The Fourth Exercise of Conscious Breathing
Number four: “Breathing in, I calm the activities of my physical body.” Because there has not been enough peace in your physical body, not enough harmony, there are wars in your physical body, sorrow, or pain; so you should be here for your physical body. “My physical body, I am here for you.” Take care, be interested in your physical body, and start to take care of your physical body. “I breathe in, and I calm my physical body.
When in a lying position, practicing deep relaxation, you can realize rest and recovering of your physical body. You have room in your home where you can practice deep relaxation every day. You can practice this as a family. One member of the family can guide the practice of deep relaxation. Here in Plum Village the brothers and the sisters can show you how to practice deep and complete relaxation. You have to learn that very carefully, in order to do it when you get back home. Also you can teach that to the children. We can practice this as a family, a family is a Sangha. One member of the family can guide the practice of relaxation. During fifteen or twenty minutes, we can re-establish our Consciousness, we can dissipate stress. It is very important to practice as a group, as a Sangha, as a family, and this will create a good habit among your children.
The third exercise is recognizing the presence of your physical body. The fourth exercise is to calm the activities of your physical body, being aware of your physical body as a whole, and then being aware of different parts of your physical body.
Bringing Conscious Breathing to Parts of Your Body
The next four exercises are about feelings, but today we will speak only about the first set of four exercises. In the Satipatthana Sutra, the Discourse on the Four Foundations of Consciousness, the Buddha said, “Like a farmer who goes into the attic and brings down a bag of grain, and opens it and lets all the seeds fall out onto the floor, and with his good eyes he can distinguish wheat from beans etc., when you generate Consciousness, with this Consciousness, you can identify different parts of your body.”
“I breathe in, I am aware of my eyes; I breathe out, and I smile to my eyes.” This is because your eyes are part of your physical body, and you can start with your eyes. Then you go down to the nose, the mouth. You are aware of your brain, of your ears, and you should call the different parts of your physical body by their names, and send to each part of your body your smile.
Your smile, in Consciousness, is the energy of love. Your awareness is first, and love comes with it. You have to take care of your physical body, that‘s what the Buddha said. In the sitting position, or lying down, you can start generating Consciousness, and you send this energy to different parts of your body. ” I breathe in and I am aware of my eyes; I breathe out, and I smile to my eyes.” Recognize your eyes as existing, and send to your eyes the energy of your awareness. You can start with your eyes, and you can finish with your feet.
There are about thirty-six parts of the body that are discussed in this discourse of the Buddha. So always with Consciousness of breathing, you embrace the different parts of your body. When one part of your body is not well, when there is pain, when something is not going well in one part of your body, you should stop, you should tenderly embrace this part of your body with Consciousness. You should send energy and love, and this will help this part of your body to heal. The ideal position in which to do it is to lie down.
If your child needs this, you can become your child’s guide in order to practice this. I will practice with you, my daughter; I will join my Consciousness energy with yours, in order for you to embrace this part of your body that is painful. I will smile to this part of your body. We can always practice as a Sangha, and we can do it every day, before going to bed, or after you wake up. You should always look for a moment to do it, even if you have a doctor who is treating you, even if you take medicines.
Resting and Letting the Body Heal Itself
Nature can really help establish health in our body. The animals resting in the forest have a strong trust in nature. It’s because our bodies have the capacity to heal. When we cut a finger, what should we do to heal? It’s enough to wash the wound, and let nature do the rest. Our mind knows how to heal itself, so we should allow our body to do the work. If healing is not happening, this is because we don’t allow our body to heal, we have forbidden our body to heal, because we don’t rest. That’s how we prevent our body healing.
It is very important to allow our body to heal itself. We should have trust in the capacity of our own body to heal. Practice the non-practice. Don’t do anything—just allow your body to rest. With Consciousness and this rest, you can transform the state of your physical body. The Buddha has spoken at length about this practice. You should really love your body. You should really take care of your body. Conscious breathing, with rest, can do miracles. While taking medicine, you can still help the healing with the practice of Consciousness of breathing and rest.
In time of high stress, simply focusing on your breathing can shift your state of consciousness. Our monkey brains like to create stress and tension in our bodies based on our perceptions of our external reality.
External reality is a scary thing sometimes. We all have deadlines and tasks we must finish, life can get hectic sometimes. Luckily, you have the ability to change your state of mind anytime you feel like. If you learn how to consciously focus your breathing, you can put yourself in a highly relaxed state in a few minutes. Drawing your attention away from stressful thoughts and onto your breathing eliminates the tensions your body creates in reaction to these negative thoughts. Deep breathing is one of greatest things you can do for yourself to lower stress levels, and feel more relaxed whenever you consciously choose to.
Deep Breathing Techniques
To draw your attention off of your thoughts, immediately consciously focus on your breath. Follow the air as it enters your nostrils, and channel it into your belly, not your chest. Breathe nice and slow as you stay focused on a small area near your belly button. If your focus and awareness leave that point, direct it back immediately. Try to keep the attention for at least 5 minutes. Then graduate to 10.Then 20. Then as far as you are willing to go. This is a nice, easy, simple form of meditation.
Next, see how long you can make a single breath last. I don’t mean holding your breath. At the point where you feel can no longer inhale any more air, release slowly, and exhale as slowly as you inhaled. Don’t hold the inhalation in, begin to exhale as you feel the transition of your breath going towards exhaling. When you have slowly squeezed all of the air out of your lungs, start again. Make sure to completely exhale. Notice how the longer you do this exercise, the longer your breath becomes. If you consciously focus on your body inflating with oxygen and life energy, your negative thought patterns begin to slip away. You will no longer be a slave to your thoughts. You will become aware of them, and be able to eliminate them. Eliminating negative thought patterns leaves more time for positive, empowering, creative thoughts to flow through each day. Spending any time in a negative state is timed missed from a positive state. Don’t miss any opportunities to allow creative thoughts to arise, find that positive state when you need to.
@tonyjselimi | March 31, 2012 at 11:22 am | Tags: belly breathing, benefits of deep breathing, breathe, breathing, conscious breathing, deep breathing, deep breathing techniques, diaphragmatic breathing, mind, negative thoughts, positive energy, positive thoughts, stress | Categories: Brain Training, Health & Self-Development, Mental Health, Personal Development, Physical Health | URL: http://wp.me/p27qgy-1Zs
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