Studies have shown meditation to be a practice of enormous benefit to the body mind spirit. It is restorative to the body: it balances our nervous system, enhances immune function, normalizes body chemistry and promotes harmony and coherence in the whole human energy field. It connects us with the energies of love, peace, and wellbeing on all levels. It reduces stress and helps the body heal.
The terms meditation, relaxation response, and meditative breathing are mostly synonymous with very minor differences. The process is easy and well worth practicing in terms of healthier living. Below are the basic steps for meditative breathing.
- Find a comfortable position – lying or sitting – with good body alignment
- Begin to focus on your breathing – each inhale and exhale representing one cycle of breath
- Comfortably deepen your breath and consciously make each inhale and exhale equal in length. For example, breathe in to a count of 4 and breathe out to a count of four.
- Relax into the process, releasing any tension or anxious thoughts, feeling your body very comfortable and relaxed, and your mind at ease. Feel appreciative for this time of self-care. Notice how good it feels to just relax.
- Contemplate the breath as it flows in through your nose, feel the warmness or coolness of the air, follow it as it moves down your trachea into your lungs, feel your lungs expand as it pulls the air in completely. Visualize the process of respiration and feel the air now leaving the same way it entered. Follow it as it leaves the body.
Continue this exercise for as long as is comfortable. If other thoughts come into your mind begging attention, simply notice and take your focus back to your breath. First time meditators may find this activity difficult, but it becomes easy with practice. Try for 5 – 10 minutes at first and build up to 20 – 30 minutes.
Dr. Carol Winkfield, PhD is a researcher and practitioner of Natural Health. She assists individuals and groups in finding natural solutions for health and healing.
Dr. Carol’s website is www.healingthenaturalway.com