Although we are seeing signs of the COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions lifting a little in coming weeks, many of us are still feeling the effects of being a bit cooped up, almost like we need an extra intake of clean, fresh, virus-free air and space that will have us feeling lighter, less anxious or tense, and preferably with minimum effort and time taken, in the process.
For the past twenty or so years, I have been meditating and helping others to benefit from this practice as well. Especially at this time, I really think it helps.
Anyone can learn and be able to feel the difference in their body and their mind, in a very short period of time.
The following, is a simple roll-out to try, which will take no more than 8 minutes and is suitable for adults or children.
It can be done at any time during the day. However, I think it is best first thing in the early morning or before retiring at night.
To start, firstly read through both steps in order to understand how to combine them, in this simple but effective breathing and mindful sequence.
Ensure you are warm. Find a quiet place, somewhere private and pleasant inside near a window OR, outside in the garden or similar.
- If you choose to be upright, have something nearby for support, should you need to reach out for balance. If choosing to sit, support your back so that it is straight which will also maximise your lung capacity for the duration. And if your preference is to lie down, keep your back straight, and place a cushion under your knees to protect your back. Place feet about 30cm apart for all of these positions.
- Commence by inhaling fully and slowly through your nose, letting your diaphragm expand as it fills with fresh air, then hold onto this breath for approximately 5 seconds before exhaling, letting the air slowly release through your mouth in a continual blowing action, as your diaphragm deflates. Hold for another 5 seconds without inhaling, before resuming a normal rate of breathing.
- Wait for approximately one minute before repeating this entire breathing exercise twice more, inserting the one-minute relaxation after each round. If you are able, gently close your eyes to improve your focus and concentration throughout this whole sequence.
- You may notice between each round, that your breathing becomes less rapid or shallow, more at ease, and also that your body and mind are slowing down.
- If you have time, continue to be still, allowing yourself a few minutes before gently opening your eyes very gradually to adjust to your surroundings and the light.
- On each breath – in, imagine you are inhaling into your body mind and soul, a state of ‘health and wellbeing’ or ‘inner peace’ or ‘strength’ or ‘lightness’.
- On each breath – out, imagine you are exhaling from your body mind and spirit ‘stale, stifled air’, or ‘releasing burdens and worries’ or ‘letting go of bad thoughts’.
- During the minute of relaxation between each round, allow yourself to focus on the experience of your body and your mind repairing, with all the organs, muscles, joints, and vessels, pumping, circulating, filtering, replenishing without effort, simply through the gift of letting yourself receive, and being still.
- In the few minutes at the conclusion of this exercise, gently count backwards from 7 to 1 before opening your eyes, grounding yourself to resume your day