Showing posts with label Divine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Divine. Show all posts

7 Step Mindfulness Physical Sensations Exercise


Whether it's a chair, the ground, your bed, or the air surrounding you, your body is always in contact with something. This is a fantastic approach to tune in to your current situation. 

You can be aware of these places of touch at any moment, whether in meditation or in your regular life. 

Because the feelings are often easy to detect, this is an excellent practice for beginners. 

“Mindfulness is the acceptance of the present moment with awareness and balance. It doesn't get much more straightforward than that. It is accepting or opening to the present moment, pleasurable or unpleasant, precisely as it is, without clinging to it or rejecting it.” ~ SYLVIA BOORSTEIN


  1. This exercise may be done in any posture, however I recommend doing it while sitting. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your body's posture. Make whatever modest modifications necessary to put your body at peace. 
  2. Begin by observing the areas of the body that are in contact with anything else. Can you feel your feet making touch with the ground? Pay attention to the sensations in your feet. There isn't anything exciting to do. Simply pay attention to how your feet are feeling right now. 
  3. Continue until you can feel your back end making contact with the chair or cushion. Take note of the upper thighs' touch and pressure with the chair. Rest your consciousness here, paying attention to how this feels in your body. 
  4. Bring your focus to your hands, wherever they may be. Feel the locations where your hands are contacting, where you're sitting on your lap, or where your knees are resting. Concentrate on the part of the hand that is making touch with something else. 
  5. Now look for places on your body where you can feel the feeling of the garments. You can run your hand over your body to see whether this sensation is present. The locations where the garment ends and the skin is exposed, such as the arms, neck, and ankles, may be the easiest to feel. 
  6. Finally, pay attention to the feel of air against your skin. You may notice that the temperature of the air on the palm of your hand differs from the temperature on the back of your hand. If you're sitting outside, you could notice the breeze. There is no such thing as right or wrong. Don't be afraid to speak from your personal experience. 
  7. Bring attention to the places of touch throughout the day once you've completed this practice. Feel your body come into touch with the chair whenever you sit down. When you stand up, take note of where your feet are on the ground. 


When you first start exploring body awareness, you may realize that multiple sensations are vying for your attention at the same time. 

Try utilizing a mental note or a short phrase while monitoring a certain part of your body to help keep your attention focused. 

  • Consider the phrase "feet. feet. feet" while tuning in to the feet. 
  • Alternatively, if you believe a command would be more effective (which it often is), try “feel my feet. feel my feet. feel my feet.” 
  • Link your inhales and exhales to the rhythm of the words. Congratulations on your achievement! It's as easy as that. You're chanting mantras.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

6 Step Mindfulness Focused Attention Exercise

The mind is a potent weapon. You learn to train and operate with this instrument in a deliberate, concentrated manner via mindfulness practice. 

This exercise allows you to experiment with your mind's power, teaching you how to gently guide it in various directions. 

You'll also see the auditory and visual thinking patterns of the mind. Bring a sense of wonder and amusement to this exercise, and don't take yourself too seriously. 


  1. You will need to close your eyes for this exercise. Take a time to pay attention to how your body is relaxing. Allow the muscles to relax while keeping the spine as straight as possible. 
  2. Try to recall the room or location where you are seated with your eyes closed. Can you imagine where your body is lying in the room? In your mind's eye, try to see the room. Consider the floor, the walls, and any doors that may be there. See what more you can think of to fill in the blanks in your head. 
  3. Imagine yourself somewhere tranquil as you leave the room. It might be a beach, a forest, or any other location that you consider to be your "happy spot." Visualize the area around you in the same manner. Make an effort to include as many information as possible. 
  4. After you've let go of the vision, think of a song or melody you're familiar with. In your thoughts, try to hear the words or tune. 
  5. Now use your thoughts to alter your perception of the tune. Reduce the volume of the song in your thoughts to make it silent. Increase the volume a little. Investigate what it's like to slow or speed up the tune. 
  6. At the conclusion of this practice, take a minute to acknowledge the strength of your own mind. You can conjure up images, play music, and change the experience in any manner you like with just a little effort! 

What to do if when you realize that your focus is slowly slipping while meditating. 

  • You may find yourself lost in a long stream of thinking for several minutes before you know it. 
  • If you lose concentration during a meditation session, go back to the last item you recall carefully watching, and if that doesn't work, go back to the breath. 
  • You have the option to teach your mind to remain present once you notice it has drifted off. Return to your practice as often as you need to.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

6 Step Mindfulness Exercise to Find the Breath

The body breathes continually, and the breath moves continually. Not only is your breath the ideal place to start, but it's also a constant that you can return to whenever you need a little centering. 

You will softly locate the breath in the body in this initial practice. Nothing has to be figured out, no issues need to be solved, and nothing extraordinary has to be done. 

Return to your firsthand sense of body breathing on a regular basis. You're teaching your mind to focus on a single event without being distracted. 


  1. Find a body posture that is comfortable for you. Sitting is frequently advised since it keeps the body alert and energetic. You can also try standing or resting flat on your back. You can use a yoga mat, a meditation cushion, or a chair to sit on. For a few minutes of silence, choose anything that feels comfortable and sustained. 
  2. Allow the eyes to shut gently. Try lightly staring at the floor or ceiling if you're more at ease with your eyes open (depending on your position). Allow the eyes to settle in one place and relax. The goal is to keep your practice as distraction-free as possible. 
  3. Bring your attention to your stomach. See if you can feel the natural rising and falling by relaxing the muscles there. Assume the body is breathing on its own. Observe the movement from the navel to the obliques with each inhalation. Like thus, take a few deep breathes. 
  4. Raise your awareness to your chest. Pay attention to the expansion of the lungs and the lifting of the chest when you inhale. Feel the constriction and movement as you exhale. Try following the sensation of your breath from the start of your inhale to the finish of your exhale. 
  5. Pay close attention to the nostrils now. Here, the sensation of breathing may be more mild. Take a deep breath and see what comes up for you. As you breathe in, you may feel a tiny tickling at the tip of your nose. On the walk out, you may notice that your breath is somewhat warmer. 
  6. In one of these three areas, focus your attention on your body's breathing. Refocus on the immediate feeling of the breath when the mind wanders. For a minute or two, keep an eye on your breath. Bring this awareness into your daily life when you finish this term of practice. To assist the mind stay present, stay in touch with your body's breath. 

Our Mind, The Wanderer

The mind's natural instinct is to wander. Even the most experienced meditators suffer from wandering thoughts! The brain was created to analyze data; it's simply doing its job. 

Instead of perceiving this as a problem, consider it a chance to improve your awareness. 

Bring forgiveness, curiosity, and patience to these times, and bring your attention back to the breath anytime it wanders.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

11 Mindfulness Terms to Know

  1. TONE OF FEELING: The sensation of something being pleasant, bad, or neutral. Hearing a bird chirp, for example, may have a nice feeling tone, whilst scratching may have an awful feeling tone. 
  2. GROWING EDGES: Areas in which we have room to expand. We are frequently faced with challenging situations in which we must battle, but we also have a strong chance to learn. 
  3. HOOKED IN and UNHOOKED: When we become completely immersed in a situation, we lose control over how we act. Unhooking is the process of letting go of an experience and regaining consciousness. 
  4. LOVING-KINDNESS: The act of caring for the well-being of others and the quality of doing so. Loving-kindness is an act of extending one's heart to others and greeting them with kindness. 
  5. MANTRA/PHRASE: Phrases and mantras are utilized as an object of consciousness in various techniques. A phrase, often known as a mantra, is a brief line that is used to nurture an intention and to keep focused on a goal. 
  6. MEDITATION: Meditation is simply the act of setting aside time to cultivate a mental or emotional quality, usually in quiet. Meditation may be done while walking, cleaning dishes, or eating, however it is most commonly done in a seated position. 
  7. MONKEY MIND: A mental condition in which the mind jumps from branch to branch, much like a monkey does. 
  8. NOTING: The act of mentally expressing what we are feeling. Noting is the act of silently uttering something in one's brain in order to perceive something clearly without being engrossed in it. 
  9. PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM: The component of the central nervous system involved for downregulation, such as decreasing the heart rate, relaxing muscles, and boosting gland activity.
  10. PRESENT TIME EXPERIENCE: Whatever is going on in our lives right now. What arises into our experience on a moment-by-moment basis is what we call the present-time experience. It is always changing, full of many sensations, and always present.
  11. SENSE-DOORS: Smell, taste, hearing, touch/feeling, sight, and cognition are the six basic senses that may be accessible in our mindfulness practice. We observe phenomena originating and passing via the sense-doors.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

7 Keys to Creating and Establishing a Mindfulness Practice

To create mindfulness in your life, you don't need anything unique or "additional." 

The hardest thing is generally getting started, but as you figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle, it gets simpler. 

Pay attention to what feels easy, fluid, and "correct" while you practice, as well as what produces friction and resistance. 

To help you start a mindfulness practice, use the activities in this article, the advice for getting started, and your own intuition. 

I've heard a lot of various methods to get started in my years of teaching, and they're all slightly different—personalized to the individual. 

Here are a few tips to help you get started on the path to mindfulness:



    I struggled to practice meditation when I first started; it seemed like a chore. 

    But as I practiced more frequently, it became second nature to me. I even began to look forward to my daily minutes of mindfulness. My confidence and interest in mindfulness developed as the advantages of my practice began to manifest in my daily life, and meditation became more simpler and more fun. 

    • All you have to do is show up and put forth a little effort to practice mindfulness. 
    • The important components you'll work on as you develop your mindfulness practice are listed below. These will form a framework to base and build on your mindfulness practice. 


    It may seem tough to find time to meditate with your hectic schedule. This is a typical difficulty in my experience dealing with people from all over the world, but you can surely find time to practice.

    •  Making mindfulness a priority is the key. 
    • Setting aside dedicated practice time, getting up a few minutes earlier than normal, or setting a calendar reminder to practice in the afternoon are all helpful.
    •  You don't have to commit to 30 minutes of practice each day right away; start with 5 minutes. 


    You may have difficulty locating an appropriate practice location. Keep in mind that this may be done almost anyplace. 

    Let go of the notion that there are “good” and “bad” places. 

    • You may also designate a spot in your house to meditation—find a place that is somewhat peaceful and calming. 
    • If your workplace or work environment is too cluttered, consider practicing in your car first. 
    • If you're comfortable, you can also use public locations like beaches, parks, and peaceful highways. 


    You wouldn't be here unless you have a certain goal in mind. 

    What motivates you to seek out a more mindful way of life? 

    • Whatever your response, it is beneficial to remind yourself of this underlying aim on a regular basis, connecting with what motivates you. 
    • The mind may try to persuade you not to meditate or that you don't have enough time. 
    • Fighting these impulses is sometimes fruitless. Instead, bring your attention back to your main goal. Keep in mind what is important to you. 


    The exercises will allow you to explore mindfulness in a variety of ways in your life. 

    • Try to utilize one mindfulness exercise at least once a day, always having your mindfulness objective in mind. 
    • Consistent practice aids in efficient mind training. 
    • When you practice every day, you soon develop the habit. 

    It's similar to going to the gym: if you just attend once a month, you're unlikely to see immediate effects. If you go twice a week, though, all of those small small moments of exercise add up, and you become stronger. 

    Mindfulness is a long-term commitment; as you practice, your mental muscle grows stronger. 


    • Support from friends and family may go a long way toward promoting new behaviors. 
    • Once a day, invite a friend or family member to practice with you. 
    • This will offer you a sense of accountability to someone other than yourself, which is always beneficial. 
    • You'll also have the chance to communicate with someone else about your experience, which will benefit you both as you progress through practice together. 


    Get yourself a journal to keep track of your mindfulness practice. 

    Take a few brief notes when you've finished practicing for the day. 

    • What was the outcome of your practice? 
    • Is there anything fresh or fascinating that has come up? 
    • What are your thoughts? 

    Writing down your mindfulness experience may help you grasp it better, ingrain your newfound insight into your mind, and offer you something to reflect on. I still go back and look at my first meditation diary again and again, and I like seeing how far I've come.

    You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

    8 Research based Benefits of Mindfulness

    Mindfulness has been researched in clinical settings with the use of brain imaging equipment and intensive psychological assessment. 

    Despite the fact that mindfulness research is still in its early stages, researchers are finding tangible proof of the anecdotal claims that meditators have made for generations. 

    Many studies show that just a few weeks of practice may lead to changes in behavior and brain activity, with individuals sustaining the favorable benefits for up to a year after completing a mindfulness-based training program. 

    Understanding the study may help you understand why you're undertaking this exercise in the first place, as well as provide you a peek of some of the potential advantages. 


      In 2010, a group of academics reviewed previous data and concluded that mindfulness was useful in reducing anxiety and stress. 

      This was true whether or not the subjects had previously been diagnosed with anxiety or stress problems. 


      Mindfulness, according to research from the University of California, Santa Barbara, helps people stay focused and utilize newly learned knowledge more successfully. 

      Participants reported much reduced mind wandering after just two weeks of mindfulness practice, which is a promising outcome. 


      Mindfulness has been shown to have several bodily advantages. 

      Regular meditation has been shown in studies to improve digestion, enhance the immune system, lower blood pressure, speed up the healing process, and reduce inflammation. 

      It's not only about taking care of your mind when it comes to mindfulness! 


      According to Harvard Health, studies demonstrate that mindfulness can aid in falling and staying asleep. A meditation practice, regardless of when you perform it, is likely to help with this. 


      Researchers revealed in a 1982 study that meditation might help people solve issues more creatively. 

      Cultivating mental calm allows you to think in fresh ways, see challenges from various perspectives, and work more efficiently toward a solution. 

      This can also help you deal with stress in the family, at work, and in everyday life as a side effect. 


      Loneliness has been linked to bad health consequences. After just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation, participants in a research at the University of California, Los Angeles reported feeling less lonely. 

      This was true whether the people were alone or in the company of a group of friends. Furthermore, individuals who only exercised mindfulness found that they felt more connected and content. 

      After a prolonged research of loneliness in the UK, British Prime Minister Theresa May even named a Minister for Loneliness in January 2018. 


      This is something that many of us battle with. Mindfulness practice has been demonstrated to improve self-esteem in people from all walks of life. 

      It can help you enhance your body image, feeling of self-worth, and overall satisfaction with who you are. 


      Although mindfulness is not a replacement for adequate medical treatment, it is a valuable tool for regulating mood disorders and difficulties. 

      If you're dealing with depression, anxiety, or mood swings, mindfulness may be able to assist you.

      Mindfulness has been shown to assist people with and without mood disorders calm their emotions.

      You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

      9 Key Defining Aspects of a Mindfulness Practice

      You've come here because you've decided to start looking into mindfulness. It's a significant step that ought to be acknowledged and applauded. Take a moment to congratulate yourself. 

      Let's take a look at the many latent behaviors you'll be developing as you begin to grasp mindfulness practice:


        • This is the most well-known and fundamental mindfulness meditation technique, yet it takes practice to master. 
        • As you practice, you may need to bring your thoughts back to the present moment several times. 
        • You'll find yourself more naturally able to relax in present-time awareness as you continue to train your mind to remain present. 

        2. CLEARLY SEEING. 

        • This part of mindfulness may also be thought of as a recognition of what you're going through. 
        • You are able to recognize pain when it occurs. 
        • When anxiety is there, you may identify it as such. 


        • You are acquiring the knowledge to clearly understand what you are feeling in the current moment. 
        • You could observe that your mind categorizes anything (a sensation, a concept, etc.) as good or terrible, correct or incorrect, positive or negative. 
        • You may let go of such value judgements through mindfulness practice. 
        • You may remind yourself that you don't have to trust every judgment that comes your way. 
        • Accept anything you find in your thoughts, including any sentiments of "liking" or "disliking" it. 


        • Equanimity is the trait of being calm and composed, particularly when confronted with tough or unpleasant situations. 
        • Regardless of how simple or challenging the experience is, the amount of energy and effort you put into it can stay constant. 
        • You'll learn to go through challenging situations with balance and stability if you do it this way. 


        • There are many different kinds of experiences in life, and you may find yourself welcoming some in while excluding others. 
        • “Everything belongs,” says English monk Ajahn Sumedho to his students. 
        • You don't have to omit any idea, emotion, or experience when practicing mindfulness. 
        • Pay attention to whatever comes up and create room for the unpleasant. 


        • Approach new information with a sense of wonder and a desire to comprehend it. 
        • You can slip into "autopilot" when you have a better awareness of the world around you, believing that you know exactly how things function and what you're doing.
        • Work to build beginner's mind, viewing experiences and circumstances as if it's your first time, to promote a good mindfulness practice. 
        • Keep your mind open to fresh ideas and be aware of when it begins to close. 


        The majority of individuals come to mindfulness and meditation with a specific objective in mind. They want to learn to manage their anxiety, deal with daily challenges, or work through their anger. 

        • It's fine to set goals, but remember to be patient; being too fixated on a single conclusion will stymie your development. 
        • Patience necessitates a small amount of faith in the exercise, your teacher, and yourself. 
        • Keep your goal in mind, and keep in mind that change takes time


        It's not about punishing yourself with mindfulness! 

        • Kindness is an important component of practice, and it begins with being nice to oneself. 
        • You might become reactive and unable to see clearly if you lack kindness. 
        • When practicing, be kind with yourself and your experience. 
        • Act as though your mind is an ally rather than a foe.  


        • To begin practicing mindfulness, you don't need to have a clear mind, be totally calm, or be a master of compassion. 
        • Begin wherever you are, and give yourself credit for showing up in the first place. This is a workout, not a competition. 
        • You are not being evaluated, and if you are having difficulties, it does not indicate that something is wrong with you or your thinking. 
        • Be honest to yourself and give yourself room to grow.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Mindfulness Meditation - Natural Exhalation

        Breathing and breathing control are central to many meditative and yogic activities (such as pranayama, as mentioned earlier). You inhale from one nostril, catch your breath, and exhale through the other nostril with one technique (holding your finger over the first nostril to direct the flow of breath). Another technique is to shorten your breath and breathe in and out quickly.

        There are several distinctions between mindfulness practices. In one mindfulness exercise, you consciously lengthen your breath and remain conscious that you are doing so. Some mindfulness methods, like the one popularized

        by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, also include breathing in and out while repeating a sentence, such as "Breathing in, I quiet the breath, breathing out, I smile." Each mindfulness technique has a slightly different effect. In the act of introducing mindfulness to the breath, certain people purposefully relax it.

        This book's mindfulness exercise focuses on the uncontrolled, completely normal breath. This exercise does not cause you to lengthen, shorten, catch, or deepen your breath in any way. This recommendation is made for two major reasons.

        To begin with, allowing the breath to be normal is better than attempting to control it.

        Your mind and body will become exhausted if you meditate for a long time—ten to twenty minutes or more—and spend the whole time trying to regulate your breathing. Allowing your breath to flow naturally is quick and easy to maintain.

        Second, and most critically, ordinary breathing helps one to be present in the present moment. Being conscious of situations just as they happen is one of the fundamental tenets of mindfulness practice. We learn not to attempt to regulate our life experiences, but to let them unfold naturally. While we do not actually become silent, this cultivates a quiet embrace of life. However, if your breath is shallow, keep it that way.

        Take a moment to note how shallow the breathing is. Allow your breath to be as long as it needs to be. And so on. Rather than influence, we develop skills in observation and acceptance.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Mindfulness Meditation Anchored in Breath

        The meditation anchor works in a similar manner to a ship anchor. A ship can be at sea for days, being rocked and turned by the waves, but when a sailor drops an anchor, the boat remains put, not pitching about or running aground.

        We use an anchor in meditation to protect our minds from being knocked about by a sea of feelings, stimuli, experiences, sounds, and emotions.

        We use the breath as our anchor in the mindfulness exercise learned in this book, but other anchors, such as sounds or body stimuli, may also be used. Other meditation techniques include focusing on an image, a candle flame, a certain body part, or a mantra (a repeating word).

        There are a number of apparent reasons to use our breath as a source of stability. To begin with, it is still with us. One thing we can count on when we are alive is that we will be breathing. Second, it is fairly open and easy to feel for the majority of people. 

        The majority of novice meditators will easily add mindfulness to their own breathing. Third, the breath is normally neutral—we don't have strong emotions about it. 

        Breath is a great meditation object because it is neither enjoyable nor bad, because if we choose an anchor that evokes intense negative or positive emotions, we will spend more of our time manipulating our feelings rather than being present with the breath.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Meditating with a Clear Mind

        It is beneficial to start with a narrow emphasis when establishing a regular mindfulness routine. It can be intimidating to meditate without a goal, particularly for beginners. 

        You'd be confused if you wanted to be conscious of anything that comes into your head. 

        You'd start to think what you should be aware of. Right now, give it a shot. Be conscious of the surroundings. Stop and take notice—be present in the moment and pay attention to what is going on. What went wrong? Probably quite a bit. 

        You may have heard or seen something in the room or outside. You may have experienced physical stimuli and noticed emotions or emotions on the inside. Much of the time, our brains are awash with a myriad of sensations, causing them to drift all over the world. 

        Our minds are compared to chattering monkeys hopping from tree branch to tree branch in some Hindu and Buddhist meditation scriptures, which they refer to as "monkey mind." It is feasible, though not fast, to be broadly conscious without a central focal point. And, in the long term, it can be exhausting or even frustrating. 

        Some meditation traditions teach mindfulness in this way, implying that we should simply sit, open our minds, and be conscious. 

        This strategy has a lot of influence for some people. However, for the majority of students we meet, particularly those who are just getting started, it is beneficial to have a clear approach to concentrate on, at least at first. The mindfulness tradition has created a concept known as "the anchor" to help with this.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Mindfulness Breathing Regulated by Consciousness

        For the reasons above, it is critical that you observe your natural breath in your everyday meditation practice; however, it is also critical that you consider and know when to use conscientious breath control. 

        Your breath and your physiological states of well-being are inextricably linked, as described in the science section. 

        Shallow, choppy breathing could suggest nervousness—or that you've just run five miles! You might be angry if your breath is fast. You can feel very comfortable if it is quite soft and subtle.

        Breath is a clear indicator of how you're feeling.

        • You may need to control your breathing at times during your yoga session or everyday life in order to calm yourself down, feel more responsive to yourself, or relax a little more profoundly. 
        • Elongating your breath is beneficial in all of these situations. 
        • You should pause for a second to breathe more slowly while still maintaining control of your breathing.
        • So, when you meditate, use your normal breath much of the time, but note that mindfully softening, deepening, or elongating your breath can be beneficial from time to time. 
        • You can do this practice at any time during the day, particularly when you are feeling challenged. 

        Jenny, a 45-year-old software developer, said the following story:

        I was really disappointed when I left my boss's office. She told me that some employees might be laid off, and that I could be one of them. They'd have to see it through through the next cycle, but there's no promise. My breathing was tight and shallow as I walked down the corridor. My heart was pounding furiously. So I came to a complete halt in the middle of the hall and took a few deep breaths, relaxing through the tightness in my chest. I was starting to feel much more comfortable after just a few seconds. I reminded myself that I had no idea what would happen next.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Mindfulness - Relationship Between Breath, Lungs and Heart Health

        Yoga, Figure, Vacations, Relaxation

        Breathing is regulated both automatically and voluntarily. The average person breathes 12 to 15 times a minute, using a pint of air per time. The automatic or spontaneous breathing system is activated by the respiratory core of your brain (the medulla of the brain stem), which activates your chest muscles to shift pressure and push air into and out of your lungs. 

        When you catch your breath, sing, or voice, higher brain centers change the automatic pathway, giving you voluntary control of your breathing. Breathing is difficult to pay attention to since it is involuntary, and as you can find in this novel, it takes time to pay attention to your breathing or other habitual or automatic responses. Learning to be careful of one's breath is a perfect way to get a better understanding of and power over one's breathing.

        Gas Mask, Poison, Protection, Breathing

        Mindfulness has been studied to see how it affects breathing and cardiac health. Changing the breathing rate, for example, affects pulmonary sinus arrhythmia, which occurs when our hearts pound faster when we breathe in than when we breathe out. This discrepancy is a symbol of good health, and it diminishes as people age and develop those illnesses (diabetes, cardiovascular disease). A research conducted at McGill University in Canada using a body-scan meditation (similar to the one described at the end of this chapter) showed that mindfulness, like exercise, causes increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia.

        Mindfulness seems to help with heart health as well. Over the course of ten months, two types of people at risk for heart disease were observed at Duke University. The first group received a package that included a fitness consultant and mindfulness and stress-reduction instruction, while the second group received a written summary on their health evaluations then went back to their primary care providers for follow-up care as normal. After ten months, those who had completed the mindfulness program had significantly lower heart disease risk scores, were more active, and had lost more weight.

        Another line of inquiry has been into the impact of respiratory techniques on breathing-related issues such as asthma. Twenty-two asthma patients were taught pranayama breathing, a traditional breathing technique seen in some types of yoga and meditation that deals with prana, or life energy, in a limited but well-controlled study of breath training on asthma sufferers. The exhale is stretched to twice the duration of the inhale in one kind of pranayama breathing. (At this stage, you might note how long the exhales and inhales are in relation to one another and try to make the exhale twice as long as the inhale.) 

        In half of the participants, the researchers used a breathing system to achieve this two-to-one exhale-to-inhale ratio, while the other half received a placebo device. Participants in the study used their "breathing aids" for fifteen minutes twice a day for four weeks. 

        Woman, Breath, Life, Red, Hair, Lip

        The study found that the community doing pranayama breathing had increased lung function, decreased asthma symptom levels, and used less drugs to control their asthma. The improvements were similar to those seen in people with moderate asthma who were given treatment (low-dose inhaled corticosteroids).

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Pen, Colored Pencil, Learn, Patience

        Blood Pressure and Mindfulness

        Blood Pressure Monitor, Health

        According to a study of clinical research on the impact of mind-body activities (including mindfulness) on metabolism, these practices may lower blood pressure. These practices have consequences that are also identical to other treatments, such as doing regular blood pressure tests. 

        Mindfulness meditation and regular blood pressure tests, for example, were both effective in lowering blood pressure, while Transcendental Meditation and wellness education were both effective in lowering blood pressure, weight, heart rate, and cholesterol levels. This means that if we raise our everyday sensitivity or exposure to blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels, regardless of how we do so, they will rise. 

        Happiness, Joy, Pure Air, Freedom

        While mindfulness may help you become more conscious of your body's physiology, it might not often be more efficient than other types of behavioral modification, such as regularly monitoring your blood pressure or knowing more about weight management.

        The sooner we get to incorporate mindfulness—or other health-enhancing practices—the healthier. We all know that the seeds of high blood pressure and heart failure are sown early in life. A quick breathing technique was taught to half of the students in a new survey of ninety-two middle school students, while the other half got lectures about how to keep their blood pressure stable (through diet, exercise, and so on).

        Vipassana, Yoga, Meditation

        The students did not have elevated blood pressure, and the study's aim was to see how well they could keep their blood pressure in the normal range.

        The software had a good impact in a comparatively brief amount of time—ten minutes a day at school and ten minutes at home for three months. And opposed to students who were given the training curriculum, the youth who were given the basic breath breathing exercise showed better blood pressure and heart rate.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Mindfulness - Mind's Window through Breath

        Yoga, Buddha, Deity, Shiva, Water

        We used to compete to see who could keep their breath the longest when swimming underwater or driving through the Pennsylvania tunnels when I was a kid. As my own breath capability ranged from day to day, I will sometimes win and sometimes lose to my two sisters. The magician and illusionist David Blaine entered the Guinness Book of World Records in by holding his breath for the longest time ever officially recorded, minutes and seconds. When we're jogging, spinning, even swimming, or when we're exposed to natural elements like smoky air or poor oxygen at high elevations, we breathe differently. Internal contaminants, such as tension, can also damage us, beyond the fact that external pollutants can directly impact our oxygen availability.

        Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature

        Breathing changes when introduced to stressful conditions, such as an injury or a predator. The respiratory system is, in particular, closely related to emotions. The increased activation in emotional areas of the brain causes our breathing rate to rise when we are nervous. We're all familiar with the accelerating physiological signs of fear, such as a rise in heart rate, blood pressure, stomach squeezing, and sweating, which indicate the sympathetic nervous system's release of stress hormones (chemicals like noradrenaline and adrenaline) that prepare the body for "fight or flight." b Slow, steady breathing is used in many mind-body practices to counteract the body's fight-or-flight reaction. Slow breathing (often deep abdominal breathing) can indicate to the body that the parasympathetic nervous system is involved, which is associated with calm, rest, and repair. Many chronic diseases, according to A. D. "Bud" Craig, a neuroscientist at the University of Arizona, occur when these two processes are out of control and the fight-or-flight reflex is abnormally involved.

        Mindfulness can be a way to improve the parasympathetic nervous system's ability to return the body to a homeostatic state.

        The mind-body link is bidirectional, with the mind influencing the body and the body influencing the mind. When you sense an emotion, the body always responds before you feel it, which we'll look into in more depth later. People who were asked to keep a cup of hot liquid for less than a minute were much more likely to identify people as kinder, warmer, and happier than those who were asked to hold a cup of cold liquid. When you're feeling cozy, you're more likely to behave warmly toward others. The body's ability to connect a physiological condition with a conscious mental state is most likely the reason it can take control of our mental and emotional states. Right before a willful gesture, such as shaking the finger, science has demonstrated that there are signs in the brain indicating that the brain has detected and contributed to this act seconds before we are aware of it.

        Mindfulness is a technique for examining the connections between internal and external factors and their effects on the body, mood, and mental states. Breath becomes a key door of inquiry to assist you in identifying any cause-and-effect relationships (habits) you might have developed. Mindfulness does not prescribe a certain method of breathing (as the pranayama breath analysis demonstrated), but rather facilitates the investigation of breathing itself—how it moves and improves, and what induces these changes.

        Woman, Female, Model, Beauty, Fantasy

        A mindfulness coach once taught me about how he overcame his social anxiety by seeing how his chest clenched and his breath shortened during the day. For two years, he meticulously documented the physiological condition of his stomach and pulse every two or three minutes! He would breathe softly and deeply for a second or two while his stomach was tense and his breath was shallow to relieve it. His social tension steadily faded over time as a result of his vigilant practice.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Why Is Breath Such an Essential Part of Mindfulness?

        Face, Soul, Head, Smoke, Light, Sad

        There are five reasons why breathing may be a key component of mindfulness meditation. 

        1. For starters, breath is still there, open, and accessible to all, making it an ideal meditation object. 
        2. Second, understanding that we breathe represents our self-awareness, so air is inextricably tied to self-consciousness. 
        3. Third, air is a scientifically observable visible indicator of happiness. 
        4. Fourth, our limited capacity to change our breathing tells us that, though we are change agents, we are still a part of a mechanism outside our grasp. 
        5. Finally, since breathing is so natural, it acts as a built-in "trainer" of consciousness, providing continuous practice in concentrating it, losing attention, and regaining it.

        Brain, Turn On, Education, Read, Book

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.

        Mindfulness - No Two Breaths Are the Same

        The way we breathe is influenced by our DNA. Breathing is automatic for most of us, but it is not for a select few. The automated breathing system does not improve in an unusual hereditary disorder known as central congenital hypoventilation syndrome. Scientists have learnt a lot about how mutations affect our breathing by researching diseases like this one, including the fact that it is rare. 

        This unusual mutation tends to induce a malfunction of the brain to regulate breathing; in mice, the mutation causes death within the first few hours of life, while an infant may live with artificial life support in humans. 

        Furthermore, it seems that various mutations cause varying degrees of severity, and that these genes are affected by the environment (at least in mice—human studies are lacking on this point). Mice raised in hot environments with the same gene mutation as mice raised in cold environments, for example, are less affected by this condition. 

        This emphasizes the fact that the genetic blueprint we inherit is not set in stone; our upbringing will have a significant impact on the effect our genes have on us. Our bodies, like our breathing, are formed and reshaped by our genetic and environmental interactions throughout our lives.

        Lance Armstrong is noted for his very powerful lungs; during training, he can absorb milliliters per kilogram of weight per minute of oxygen in a single breath, while the average non-athlete can only consume half that amount. Our DNA blueprints form some to percent of our lung efficiency, with the climate accounting for the remainder, according to the Framingham Heart Study, which enrolled over ten thousand people. 

        However, the same research found that how people adapt as they age—whether their lung ability weakens or strengthens—is primarily affected by their climate (to a large extent). This means that our lifestyle decisions and how we live—whether we exercise every day, smoke tobacco, or live in polluted areas—have a significant impact on our lung wellbeing as we mature.

        Is it possible that mindfulness has an impact on our gene expression?

        One of the most interesting recent developments in the field of mindfulness is the answer to that question: We have the ability to control our own genes, turning them on or off in speech, by altering our mental states, and paying attention to breath is one of the most effective ways to do so.

        Many causes have been shown to affect gene expression, but evidence supporting the theory that a deliberately directed mental state is one of them has only recently been discovered. A analysis conducted by Boston University researchers demonstrates how potent such an effect can be. In the research, the patterns of gene expression of nineteen long-term practitioners of meditation (or mind-body activities that evoke the calming response) were compared to nineteen nonmeditators. 

        There were many variations between the two classes, with over a thousand genes indicating higher activity in the long-term practitioners than in the novices, and over a thousand genes showing lower activity. 

        When nonmeditators' gene expression patterns were compared before and after they were taught a basic stimulation response strategy (developed by Harvard's Herbert Benson), about 1500 genes showed discrepancies. Since putting all of the data together, a select group of fifteen genes was identified as the most likely to be affected by the relaxing response, with many of them being involved in the body's stress response, cellular metabolism, and oxidative stress.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.


        You know you're alive when you take a deep breath. 

        Breathe, and the entire universe breathes in unison with you.

        - ANNABEL LAITY 

        Every breath we take is a reflection of our relationship with the universe. Via the mixing of oxygen and carbon dioxide, our breath binds our individual lives with those of others and with the earth. However, once our breathing is impaired, we hardly know that we are breathing.

        The way you breathe will tell a lot about you: It might indicate what you ate for lunch or how you're feeling—calm, anxious, excited, or sad. Antonio Damasio, a leading neuroscientist who studies emotion, claims that breath (along with heart rate and a few other physical indicators) will accurately determine one of four emotions—fear, indignation, pleasure, or sadness—by 65 percent. 

        Before you even realize it, your breath (and cardiorespiratory activity) will represent your mood. When you scent something bad, your breath shortens, while pleasant odors encourage slow breathing (which may explain why most people feel safe in a garden). 

        All of these reactions occur before you can determine if the smells are positive or unpleasant. The way we breathe will reveal a lot about ourselves and others.


        In mindfulness, yoga, and most other mind-body activities, breathing is a primary focus. The term "spiritual," which is often synonymous with mind-body rituals, comes from the Latin spiritualis, which means "to breathe." Breath is a measure of one's wellbeing and happiness. 

        The Greeks considered the heart and lungs to be the most essential faculties of life, since they embodied the center of vitality. In Chinese medicine, qi (or chi) is a measurement of the body's life force, which is determined by examining the heartbeat and breathing. 

        This life force is referred to as prana in Indian philosophy. Breath is a fundamental vital sign of health in Western medicine, as shown by the use of stethoscopes in nearly any health test.

        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.