Meditation is proven to relax the mind by removing unnecessary worry, and it also de-stresses the body and helps to bring you back into the moment. There are various breathing techniques taught throughout meditation, with some more advanced than others.
This is the aim of all meditation practices: to retrain your body to breathe through the abdominal muscles rather than with anxiety-causing shallow breaths. Take a deep breath through the nose, feeling aware that the belly is filling with air. Wait a few moments before exhaling. Notice how your body feels during the moment. When you breathe through the abdominals, you take in far more oxygen, which move throughout the whole of your body. Regular abdominal breathing will make you feel calmer and focused.
Meditation is very good at bringing the mind back into the present moment, and one technique that can assist with this is breath awareness. If you are new to meditation, you may notice that you can’t quieten the mind, so don’t judge whatever thoughts or feelings are in your mind and body. Let them be and focus only on your breath. The more you practise this breath awareness, the more easily you will discover the peaceful moments.
This breathing technique works on the premise that throughout the day our breathing changes dominance through the nostrils. One of the nostrils always takes in more air, and the more you practise the alternate-nostril breathing, the more you’ll come to discover that this is true. Using the thumb, cover the right nostril, breathe in for a count of four seconds, and then cover the left nostril with the index finger and exhale slowly. Then keep your index finger over the left nostril, breathe in through the right nostril for a count of four, and then cover the right nostril with the thumb and exhale slowly. Continue this for eight cycles. You shouldn’t feel breathless. Some meditation practitioners like to practise this technique with a longer inhalation and exhalation of up to 14 seconds, but this may lead to anxiety and defeats the object of using alternate nostril breathing for relaxation. Alternate-nostril breathing helps to balance both sides of the brain.
Breath of Fire
This is an advanced technique and popularly used for Kundalini meditation. While in the lotus position, or sitting comfortably on your meditation stool, take in a deep breath and quickly exhale repeatedly through your nostrils so that you feel the contractions in your abdominal area. When continued, the short, sharp exhalations will sound like a stream train. Beginners can try up to ten rapid exhalations before relaxing. It is important that you ground yourself before carrying out this meditation technique, as it may cause light-headedness. There are many online videos displaying this particular technique if you are curious about experimenting.
Meditation is a popular practice throughout the world. Its focus is on breath work, bringing the mind and thoughts into the moment to eliminate worries about the past and future and relaxing the body. There are many popular techniques, including the beginner breath awareness and the more advanced alternate-nostril breathing and breath of fire.