The Calm of the Breath - Breathing, Relaxation and OCPD

This weekend, I went out into nature for a yoga festival, where I spent a lot of days relaxing and breathing.

Now that I'm back into my hectic life, I've found one of the best ways to keep some of that serenity going to simply tuning into my breath. No need to close eyes, meditate fully on a cushion. Simly taking a momment for a few deep inhales and exhales can really center my mind.

Sometimes my inner skeptic doesn't want to take the time or the mental effort to simply breathe. But we are doing it anyway, all the time! What harm can come from a few seconds of pause?

Then when I do tune in, and I feel the settling of my monkey mind, I remember. "Ahh yes". This is why I do breathing exercises!

It takes some trust and an open mind, but its the simple everyday things that become habits, that become our daily lives. So cut yourself a break, and give it a try.

Deeply in... slowly out...

For the advanced, here is a exercise from Dr. Weil :

Breath Counting

If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.

Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

  • To begin the exercise, count "one" to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count "two," and so on up to "five."
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting "one" on the next exhalation.
  • Never count higher than "five," and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to "eight," "12," even "19."

Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.

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