Breathing and serenity
8 September 2018
It’s one of the most important things we do, the inhalation and exhalation of air into and out of our lungs—for starters, it’s one way of signalling that we are still alive!
Most of the time we do it sub-consciously, day in day out; night in, night out. Silently, easily—unless, of course, we have a sore throat or a blocked nose due to having a cold or the flu, and then we will become more aware of our breathing.
Yet breathing is one of the key tenets to help find peacefulness and serenity; to help calm yourself after a stressful episode, or to relax when things have been making you angry or getting you down.
How? Well it’s quite simple really, and this exercise can be done when sitting cross legged, and perhaps thinking about starting to meditate—or standing in a quiet spot and getting ready to relax your body.
Once you are sitting comfortably cross legged, with your elbows resting on your knees, forefingers and thumbs on each hand clasped together, arms slightly splayed, slowly close your eyes. Straighten your back and, for a few seconds, breathe deeply; in and out…., in and out.
Now, hold your stomach in for a few seconds and begin to focus on your breaths; focus quite intently on the way you inhale and exhale…. to the exclusion of everything else; try to block any background noise or distractions from your mind. Be aware as your stomach moves in and out and, again, concentrate on such movement; listen to your breathing and nothing else; enjoy the quiet and peacefulness all around you. You can breathe in and out through your mouth or in through your mouth, out through your nose.
After a minute or so, and provided you keep your focus on your breathing and your eyes firmly closed, you will find that your mind will be more calm. All thoughts of anything but monitoring your breathing will evaporate—and you will become aware of being serene and peaceful. Your worries or anger will dissipate; your stress levels drop.
It really doesn’t take too long to get to this state and you can maintain it as long as you wish—and as long as you focus on your breathing!
As mentioned, it’s also possible to enjoy the serenity which comes with focussing on your breathing when standing up—so why not try both sitting and then standing and see which way suits you best?
Most of us find that, on a day to day basis, life is stressful enough and, so, any opportunity to escape, even if it’s only for a few minutes per day, should be taken.
By simply focussing on your breathing and, thereby, relaxing your mind, you can enjoy the peacefulness and serenity of mind that we all need now and then!