Tag: Breathing

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Years ago, during a rough patch in life, I started seeing a behavioral psychologist to deal with some anxiety issues and insomnia. Part of his sessions often consisted of a guided meditation, where he would speak to me in gentle tones while I lay on the sofa, breathing deeply. The meditations were probably a good 20 minutes or so, and frankly, I wondered if perhaps these sessions were just a way for my therapist to get a break from listening to my life nonsense, but I found them very relaxing and left afterwards feeling calm and refreshed, two feelings that didn’t come naturally to me.

After one session, my therapist complimented me on my breathing. He noted that I could slow my breath down and take very long, deep breaths that helped me reach a different state. Higher consciousness? Maybe. Calm and relaxed? Definitely, at least during and for a bit after the meditation. He asked if I had learned this somewhere. I told him about the years I had spent taking Kundalini Yoga from a prominent LA teacher. It wasn’t daily training, just a class or two a week with a bunch of other students in a studio or in the instructor’s living room.

“Breath of Fire” (very rapid in and out breath through the nose and controlled by the diaphragm) and techniques that included filling your lungs with as much air as possible (or blowing ALL the air out of your lungs and keeping them empty – always much harder), and then doing yoga while holding the air in or out is the kind of training that can improve breathing technique. There were also gong meditations, lying on your back, eyes closed, and breathing deeply while the instructor bangs on a large gong, which you hear as well as feel (sound waves) for the duration of the meditation.

My therapist then suggested, that as a massage therapist and massage therapy instructor, I might also teach people how to breathe. So, with that in mind, here are a few thoughts for those of you who want to incorporate a meditation practice into your life to reap its proven positive benefits, including:

· When to meditate and how often

· Creating a good mediation environment

· What you need to meditate

· Mantra or no mantra?

· Deep breathing techniques

· Clearing the mind (what to think about… or not)

· Benefits of Mediation

· “Mindfulness.” What does it really mean?

1. PICK A GOOD TIME AND START SMALL

Did you know that the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree (ficus religiosa in Latin, which sounds like a Hermoine spell from Harry Potter) with the intention of remaining there until he achieved enlightenment? How long he actually sat is not entirely clear, but may have been weeks. Without food.

Good news: you don’t need to do that.

Start small. Most people who meditate “religiously” (it is spiritual, sometimes, but not necessarily religious, although even the Big 3 religions refer to silent or personal prayer as “meditation”) do so in the morning upon waking (and some do, in fact, get up at 4:30 for “sadna,” a pre-dawn meditation practiced by some Sikhs, when the spiritual energy is supposed to b especially strong), and then again in the late afternoon or early evening (before or after dinner is great).

Deep breathing before bed is a good way to relax, but a full meditation right before bed is not advisable because that might trick your body and brain into thinking you’ve slept enough already. And while early morning meditation seem to be fantastic for many, be realistic about yourself. Don’t make yourself get up at 5 or 6 to meditate if you hate getting up early. Do it when it’s convenient and easy for you, and then you’ll be more likely to keep doing it!

As for meditating for a week (or more) without food and water like the Buddha, this isn’t recommended for beginners or even the experienced. For most people, 15-20 minutes is a good session, but even five minutes is beneficial, and some long-time practitioners will do longer mediations. Starting out, five minutes is a good number because …

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Question: What do you think of Oxycise and other exercise programs that focus on breathing more so than the exercise?

Breathing

I feel strongly about breathing properly for fitness, for enhancing any physical activity and also for stress reduction. When I first started working out, I was concentrating so hard on keeping up with the others in the class, I made the big mistake of holding my breath. I asked the instructor why I was experiencing pains in my chest and lungs and, fortunately, she was astute enough to suggest that I start breathing deeply. I continually remind the students to breathe. Yes, we all breathe, but often not deeply enough.

 

I am delighted with the focus on breathing that is suggested in the more popular than ever before sessions of Yoga and Pilates. The idea is that when we are breathing in harmony with our movements, we are also paying attention in a deep way which not only prevents injury, but also is at the heart of what fitness is all about. Deep breathing is taking air in slowly all the way down into our abdomen, then breathing more air into our lungs until we are full of air, followed by letting that air out slowly through our nose or pursed lips. So many of us are in the habit of “shallow” breathing that results in “sticky lungs” – lungs that can’t give your muscles and brain the amount of air you need for a healthy lifestyle. Deep breathing helps you relax, think clearly and feel good.

 

Of course, I don’t feel that breathing is the only important part of exercise. It is definitely an important part of the whole. Today, breathing therapy belongs to both alternative and mainstream health. While hard science lags behind our intuitive understanding the subject, no one questions that better breathing makes for better health – and for more effective workouts. You see, the human body is designed to discharge 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. If your breathing is not operating at peak efficiency, you are not ridding yourself of toxins properly and other systems of your body must work overtime.

 

Oxygen

Even though it has been around forever, oxygen is one of the latest trends. There are “oxygen bars” across the country where people pay to inhale oxygen. There is the alternative therapy, Oxygen Therapy, which is defined as “any modality which introduces oxygen and related therapies as part of a health regimen. This can be anything from deep breathing exercises to autohemotherapy ozone.”

 

A doctor from the UK writes, “I have been treating people with oxygen for a number of years now. Pure oxygen is toxic and should not be inhaled over a length of time. The maximum dilution I use is 40% with air. In the UK we have a mask with a connector which dilutes the oxygen… When in hospital I treat my patients with up to four hours a day in two hour sessions, however I have found that in the case of wound healing, one hour per day has been successful.”

 

I don’t know about you, but I think I will stick with getting my oxygen with steady, deep breathing, drinking lots of water, and eating lots of oxygen-laden vegetables. And this leads me to the final topic of the question.

 

Oxycise

From what I know about Oxycise – and I only know what I have read about it, since I am not willing to shell out $35.00 for a program that sounds like it promotes what I feel is the common sense workout that I have been suggesting all along. The program sounds like a sensible, low impact, muscle and strength building routine coupled with a great deal of deep breathing.

 

The parts of the program that signal possible “red flags” are the claims of huge weight losses without drastically changing eating habits and after only 15 minutes a day of working out. Notice, though, if you see their advertisement or visit their website that the phrase, “Results not typical. Your experience will vary.”

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Source by Chris King

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