We all know meditation is good for us and if don't believe this, do a quick google search on the benefits of meditation. I am not in research mode today, so instead I'm going to share some meditation techniques I use! I meditate daily for at least 10 minutes every morning and it's genuinely changed my life. But each day is different, so I use different techniques to support myself the best way possible each and every day.
Sensations and Qualities of Breath
This has become my favorite technique! With the eyes closed, start by focusing on the ease and depth or shortness of the breath without changing it.
Begin to focus on the inhales. Notice how the tip of the nose becomes cool and the back of the throat becomes cool and dry. Notice where throughout the body the breath expands to; is it the belly? Or maybe the ribs or chest. Perhaps you feel the breath expand out into the back, lifting your body. Just notice where, do not move the body or send the breath to a specific area. Just notice. Notice if there's a specific scent in the air passing into your body, but try not to attach the smell to anything. Do not identify the scent or lack there of, just notice the existence of scent. Is the breath loud or soft? Let all other noises dissipate into the background, know you are safe to stay here, focused on the breath.
Next, focus on the exhales. Notice how the tip of the nose becomes warm and the back of the throat becomes moist. Notice the body deflating, expelling the air out of the belly, lunges, chest; wherever it went, notice the breath leaving the body. Notice the lack of scent as the breath leaves your body, expelling all that is no longer necessary to fuel the body. Notice how the breath sounds leaving the body. Is it a loud exhalation? Or a soft quite one? Notice if you've let yourself be distracted by outside concerns, do not judge yourself if you have.
Count to Ten
The very first, and probably the easiest, technique I ever learned. I like this because you can do it absolutely anywhere at any time!
Simply count to ten without having any other thoughts. If you have a thought outside of the numbers, simply start over and try again! The hardest part of this is not getting frustrated with ourselves, it's a lot harder than it seems! Remember that judgement doesn't help anyone and will only get you farther from your goal.
This is similar to manifestation, but a little more grounded in reality.
Find your meditative position and close your eyes. Now, see yourself, your life, the event/conversation your nervous about, as you want it to be. See that perfect situation going exactly how you expect it to go. Do not let any negative thoughts escape! Rather, acknowledge those fears. Acknowledge that that situation may happen, but now is not the time for problem solving. Now is the time for positive thoughts and energy to flow through your body. There will be time to think of those situations, but not now. Continue to picture perfection. We know perfection does not exist, but it's ok to pretend. Because we know, even if things go awry, we can handle it.
Left & Right Nostril Breathing
Also known as anuloma valoma pranayama (Sanskrit is a weird old spoken-only language). This type of breath work helps to ease anxiety, connect the left and right side of the brain, and has many more other awesome benefits! The thing is, to receive the benefits you have to practice this daily. Below is a very old walkthrough I made when I was going through my teacher training. The sound quality isn't great, but it gets the job done. In this video I use the traditional 4-16-8 beats, but feel free to use any variation of 1-4-2 beats.
The most commonly used breath in my personal and class practices, the dirga breath.
Inhaling and exhaling through the nose, on the inhale bring the breath deep into the belly. Fill up that buddha belly fully and completely! The completely expel the breath, navel towards the spine. Take your time, this isn't a race. See if you can make your exhales longer than your inhales. A good way to focus on belly breaths is to place the hands on the belly, fingertips just touching over the belly button. As you inhale, feel the fingertips spread apart. On the exhale, feel the come back to touching.
Next, fill the buddha belly, and keep it full, as you expand the breath up and out into the lungs and ribcage. Exhale ribs first, and then belly.
Final step is to inhale, fill the belly, then the ribs, and finally bring the breath up into the chest. On the exhale, release the chest, ribs, and last but not least, the belly.
Hope these help! And don't forget to give yourself permission to rest! If you did like this post, you can get more like it on the reg by following my social media channels @BlyssedOutYoga on Instagram and Facebook and/or join my newsletter.