And relax… Learn how to breathe properly and drift into a simple meditation practice with these short videos from Yoga Teacher Sam Stone.
But I already breathe, why do I need to practice?
I hear this question a lot! What I would ask is how well are you breathing? If you’re finding yourself frequently stressed and anxious, you may find you are breathing quite high up in your chest which means you’re not breathing as effectively as you could be. Every system in our body relies on our breath. When we breathe in we take in oxygen which is carried around our body, by our blood, vital in nourishing our cells to keep us healthy. So, as you can see, if you breathe well, you feel well! If you’ve watched a baby sleep you’ll see that they breathe right down in their belly but as we age we tend to breathe higher up the chest. Our lungs actually take up a lot of space in our body and many of us don’t use them to their full capacity.
In this short video I’m going to talk you through a simple practice that will make you more aware of where you are breathing in your body.
I’ll guide you to place your hands on your body so you can begin to feel the movement of the breathe and, through doing so, you may find your breathe naturally deepens, instilling a sense of calm.
The most important thing to remember is not to force your breath, we’re not actively changing it in any way, we are just being present in the moment within your natural breath.
In a world where demands on our time and attention are ever increasing, more and more of us are turning to mindfulness and meditation as a way to find a moment of stillness and peace. In the West we are most familiar with yoga’s physical practices (i.e. the poses) however the original aim of performing these poses was to gain control of the body to comfortably sit still for long periods of time in order to meditate.
The purpose of meditation is to quieten what we call in yoga the ‘monkey mind’, the endless chatter that goes on in our brains, reeling off our to do lists, reliving conversations, worrying about things we can’t change and fretting about things that haven’t happened yet. All of which can leave us feeling mentally exhausted. By learning to calm this chatter we can find more control of our thoughts, turn the negative into positive and make space in our minds for the things that matter. Ultimately, we can then work towards finding a state of complete bliss and tranquility – Samadhi.
If you don’t feel you have time to attend a meditation or mindfulness class then simply taking a few minutes when you can will reap benefits for your health and wellbeing. You don’t need any fancy equipment either, just comfortable clothing and somewhere fairly quiet where you won’t be interrupted.
We perform meditation in a seated position as the aim is to remain focussed and present (if you’re lying down then you might fall asleep!) and you can sit on the floor on a cushion, with your back against the wall or on a chair. If you can take your practice outside it’s also lovely to sit up against a tree trunk to really connect to nature.
In this short video I’ll take you through a simple meditation practice where we become mindful of the sounds around us to become truly present in the moment. Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander, it will, just let the thought go and return back to your focus.
With practice you’ll find that those fleeting moments of stillness in your mind become longer, resulting in lower stress levels, clarity of thought and an improved sense of wellbeing.