How To Meditate Off The Mat: Practice Mindful Breathing
At any given moment throughout the day, you can find me closing my eyes, filling my lungs and letting it out a big breath until my cheeks settle back to their regular size. Like when I’m just about to finish a new blog post and my computer crashes. Or when I sit down to watch my favorite show on Netflix and find out the WiFi is out. Or when I step on a lone lego piece the kids left in the hall and give a nice deep exhale that sounds like “fuuuhhhhhhhh”. But, in all seriousness, understanding the power of my breath, and learning how to harness it through mindful breathing, has helped me overcome a lot of difficult situations in my life.
Mindful breathing is a tool I’ve been carrying with me for a long time now.
It’s the one thing I always have at my disposal when life starts throwing me curveballs. It’s really easy for me to get worked up and anxious, and sometimes it can be debilitating. So, in those moments, I try to regain my footing, find my center and breathe myself back into the moment.
I’ve seen meditation become very mainstream lately. And by that, I mean almost everyone has heard of it/knows what it is/has tried it. That’s huge! The more people who practice, the more elevated the collective consciousness becomes.
However, with it becoming mainstream, it also becomes “trendy”. As a result, there’s a very “holier than thou” vibe that’s coming along with this. Which is literally the opposite of what you’re supposed to achieve from the practice. A scene is developing around yoga and meditation that kind of defeats the purpose. And that scene can be intimidating. People look in and think “I can’t make it to a yoga class every day” “I can’t hire a breath coach” “I can’t even pronounce Shavasana”.
Mindful breathing is one of the most potent natural medicines around and its power is easily accessible to ALL of us.
It is so incredible when you think about it. We use only 10% of our brains. And through mindful meditation, we can access an entire realm of possibility. It just takes practice.
The truth is, you don’t need a yoga studio or prayer beads or even a mat to practice yoga and meditation. All you need is a pair of lungs.
Yoga, the word itself, comes from the Sanskrit word Yuj which means to yoke or come together. By uniting the body and mind we can tap into our power. We can transcend. You could be flowing through poses (asanas) on some tropical island at a fancy yoga retreat or stuck in traffic, closing your eyes for a few seconds to focus on your breath. Both scenarios involve the same practice. You’re uniting the mind and body through the breath. You’re bringing yourself back to that center.
I was introduced to mindful breath meditation when I was 15 years old. My English teacher sophomore year was a studied Buddhist and meditation practitioner. He hosted a private club after school, aptly named “The Meditation Club”, and he taught us what meditation was and how to use it. 10+ years later, I’m still using those same tools.
Do you meditate? Practice mindful breathing? Do headstands on the beach? I want to know about it! Let me know in the comments what YOUR practice looks like.
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