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Meditation for Health and Creativity

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 2 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Meditation Relaxation Body Mind Health

How aware are you of your breathing? Is it shallow or deep? Do you inhale and exhale for the same length of time? How long is each breath? Are your breaths irregular? Do you breathe through your mouth or your nose? Do you push your shoulders up when you breathe?

Minding Your Breathing

Breathing is an essential part of our daily life yet we usually take it for granted, often not noticing it at all unless it becomes a problem. Although we're breathing well enough to stay alive, that doesn't mean we are breathing well enough to maintain optimal health. Most people are not mindful of their breathing and in fact only breathe properly when they are sleeping. During their waking life most adults use only a small portion of their lung capacity. These shallow breathers use only the narrow top portion of the lung surface for oxygen exchange. Human beings cannot maintain good health while breathing this way. Our bodies need oxygen for many things. Digesting food, cleaning the blood, metabolizing fat and eradicating viruses are just a few, so how well you breathe plays a major part in how healthy you are. Too little oxygen circulating throughout our systems can lead to a wide range of problems from digestive disorders to heart disease. Healthy breathing produces many benefits from reduced stress and increased energy levels to improved memory functions and alertness.

Improving Your Breathing

Improving your breathing can begin right now, whatever age you are, in your own home.The first step is to become more aware of your breathing, and then you can begin to practice exercises to change it. All it takes is a few minutes each day and soon your new healthy breathing will become an automatic part of your daily life.

To begin, simply listen to your breathing. When you start to listen you may notice that your breathing is very shallow, that your breath doesn't fill your abdomen. Remind yourself that very time you exhale, you are not only releasing air, but also the tensions and emotions, which can build, up and become potential health hazards. Every time you inhale you are recharging your body with new energy. Sucking in air simply is not enough.

The process of minding your breathing is one of releasing and recharging the flow of energy throughout the body-mind. This type of breathing produces a mental, emotional, and physical state of calm, peacefulness, and well being.

You can mind you're breathing wherever you are. You can be sitting, standing or lying down. First straighten your spine and roll your shoulders back. Relax your eyes and let your tongue lie loosely in your mouth. Keep your lips together though not pressed; inhale deeply through your mouth. Do not fill only your chest, but breathe from your diaphragm. Breathe in for a count of three seconds then hold for three more. Exhale slowly and evenly, once again to a count of three seconds. Repeat your breathing several times.

Try to mind your breathing at least once each day and gradually, if you can, increase the number of seconds in your breathing rhythm. After a while you will notice that a more regular and rhythmic pattern of breathing becomes part of your daily life. When you mind your breathing more attentively, it is easier to adjust it when it becomes irregular.

The Path to Meditation

Once you have learned to mind your breathing you have started on the path to meditation. Meditation is mindful relaxation. A period of mediation should last comfortably between 3-10 minutes. Find somewhere to sit quietly and comfortably during your meditation period, somewhere where you will not be interrupted and where there are no distractions. Be mindful of whatever thoughts or images occur to you during your mediation period, do not try to force yourself to empty your mind but try to relax as much as possible and focus on your breathing rather than any particular thoughts, you find that this becomes easier with practice. You may listen to soothing music if it makes you feel more able to ease your mind. You will soon find out which method suits you best, the important thing is that you relax, mind your breathing and ease your body-mind.

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