Meditation and mindfulness are the new, old buzz words.
Everyone is meditating or trying to meditate or taking meditation classes or watching meditation videos.
I say, GOOD FOR YOU!
I've been meditating for 27 years and teaching for 24 years.
I have tried all sorts of styles and techniques.
When I get away from meditation I'm less calm, and allow less to roll off of my back.
What works for YOU, works for you.
Here are some recommendations.
I use these exercises on the road, and have taught them in class. They feature various techniques .
Take what works, and leave the rest.
It's YOU on meditation.
*Always remember that meditation is NOT a substitute for medical care or medical advise. It is one of many tools for your health and well-being. Please see your doctor if you are experiencing any emotional or physical challenges that remain with you or come on very suddenly.*
Meditation has a myriad of reactions in the body and mind.
You may feel relaxed, fall asleep, laugh, cry or simply feel content. It is all normal and there is no need to judge your experience.
Those who are participating in meditation techniques are part of a growing population tired of feeling tired or stressed.
You don't have to believe anything or NOT believe anything. Apply what works for YOUR life.
Meditation is a terrific way to relax. Who doesn’t want to relax? Or need to relax? By relax I mean doing something more than watching tv, having a drink(s) or scarfing down big plates of nachos.
The term "Mindfulness" is also used often in business and in professional sports.
YES! Your favorite athletes are most likely practicing mindfulness.
Whether you use the word meditation, mindfulness or relaxation it’s all about the journey. You can call it paddling up the Mississippi for all I care. As long as you are taking the time to DO IT is all that matters!
The technique I developed focuses mainly on breathing.
That sounds pretty simple, right?
And it is.
If you are alive you are breathing.
What do you expect to get from doing these techniques or what would you LIKE to get out of doing these exercises?
If you've been curious, and have never done anything like this before, you might feel a little awkward at first.
I don't insist you sit in lotus position (just sitting upright and comfortably works) or repeat a phrase or word, or put your hands in certain mudras (hand positions). This is about focus and as long as you stay AWAKE you will get a lot of benefit.
There are some breathing exercises that may seem weird but they all have a point.
Just go with it.
We are in this together, and no one is watching.
You may ask “How long do I need to do these exercises?
That is an indication that your brain is resisting.
That’s hard, right?
You need to go with it and release control. Do one exercise until you feel you are ready to go on to the next exercise.
If you work with customers, and sometimes challenging or irate customers, certain types of breathing will get you through tough situations and help you keep your cool.
If you travel (and we all know travel can be REALLY stressful) keeping a cool head will go a long way with the flight attendants, the check-in staff and the counter staff at the gate. Plus, it might even get you a decent upgrade!!
One artist I worked with came to see me in a terrible panic about his upcoming concert. He knew that I did breath and relaxation work. I gave him simple counting breath and body relaxations exercises.
His anxiety was greatly decreased by the time he left my office.
We all come in contact with all kinds of people, all the time. Knowing what calms you down translates calm to others. When you are calm, those you encounter may become calmer, too.
When you do some of the exercises below you may feel a bit light-headed and that is perfectly normal.
If you feel dizzy, stop what you are doing and return to your natural breathing.
We are getting a lot more oxygen into our bodies and our cells with these breathing exercises.
Our bodies aren't used to that unless we have been practicing for a while. We talk quickly, take shallow breaths, run around during the day, not to mention that the body is used to quick inhalations.
Keep this in mind.
When you are consciously breathing your mind cannot run amok. It's very hard to focus on two opposing things at once. Your mind will try to pull you away from what you are doing. It will struggle, argue, tell you that you are bored and you aren’t getting anything from this.
BUT if you continue, you WILL feel a difference.
Make sure you put your phasers to stun. (Turn off your phones for non-Star Trek fans)
Place yourself in a comfortable position making sure you can stay awake and engaged.
Read through the exercises FIRST then do your best to duplicate them with your eyes closed. Move from exercise to exercise at your own pace. Asking yourself "does that exercise feel complete?" before you move on.
You may do these exercises with your eyes open or closed. I find I get more from them with my eyes closed.
Here we go!!!
1) Put your attention in your feet. Relax your feet. Moving up relax your legs, relax your hips, relax your torso, relax your chest, relax your shoulders, relax your arms, relax your hands, relax your neck, relax your jaw. Breath through this for a few minutes.
2) Breath naturally in and out through the nose. REALLY focus on the breath. Stay here for a few minutes.
3) Put your hands on your rib cage. When you breathe, in you expand your ribcage, when you breathe out you release your ribcage. Repeat.
4) Breath in the through the nose and out through the mouth. SLOWLY. Repeat.
5) Ocean breath – breathe in through the nose. Open the mouth and breathe out from the back of throat. It sounds a bit like water rushing out to sea and then coming back to shoe,. or like air rushing through a cave. Repeat.
You can take a break here or continue.
6) Take deep breaths through your nose for a slow count of 5. Then exhale through your mouth for a slow count of 5. Repeat.
7) Breath to the beat: Inhale through the nose for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4, breathe out through the mouth for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4. Repeat.
8) Cannon Ball Breath or Cooling Breath – form your mouth in an small O. Draw air in through your mouth slowly then release keeping the lips pursed. Repeat.
You can take a break here or continue.
OR do the next exercises at another time.
These breath exercises originated in Qigong. They have been shown to be effective in different parts of the brain where particular emotions reside.
Do each exercise for a few minutes OR one at a time to relieve impatience, worry, sadness or depression, fear and anger.
All these breath exercises start with inhaling through the nose. Each breath is released SLOWLY.
9) To Release Impatience – Inhale through the nose, open your mouth and exhale as if you were going to say HAWWWW. Release the breath without vocalization.
10) To Release Worry - Inhale through the nose and form the word WHO. Release the breath as if saying WHO without sound.
11) To Release Sadness or Depression – Inhale through the nose and exhale forming SSSSSSSS - like steam escaping through the mouth.
12) To Release Fear – Inhale through the nose and exhale as if blowing out a candle with a long exhale. Note: this is different than #10.
13) To Release Anger – Inhale through the nose and release the breath while similulating SHHHHHHH through the mouth.
Return to your natural breath.
Open your eyes slowly.
Come back into the room.
I hope you can use some, many or all of these exercises in long, medium or short sessions.
They can be done anywhere inside or outside but do not do them while driving or operating machinery.
Take them on the road for a calmer and more peaceful journey!
As always thanks for reading.
See you next time!
KaZ has been in many facets of entertainment, plus the co-owner of two restaurants, a fitness center, a television production company and the owner of a cinema. She did a stint in politics (she won't be doing that again anytime soon), and in veterinary medicine, She now focuses on writing.
In addition to the above, KaZ is an award-winning vocalist, a former dancer, stunt actor, circus artist, & professional water skier. She has worked as a theater artistic director & writer.
KaZ has been a published writer in magazines & books since the age of 15. She has written plays that have been produced in New York, Florida & New Orleans. She has a featured chapter in the book How To Survive A Move. (Up-to-date she has moved 45 times!) KaZ wrote an article for Organic Wine Journal, and also an article featured at the Ground Zero Memorial.
KaZ co-wrote 2 television informational series & 3 television pilots.
One of the pilots, a sit-com, was produced as a reality pilot. KaZ has revisited it and it's now a one season cable series.
“(And ) Then This Happened.” is based on life, love, and everything in between in the mid-life years. Loosely based on her life and the life of two of her best girlfriends.
KaZ's many high pressure pursuits led her to meditation.
She began studying meditation in '91. Her initial training focused on Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan and his teachers. She is a certified Master Meditation and Qigong Instructor.
Most recently KaZ taught in a juvenile justice facility, and lectured on mental health in juvenile justice.
With writing being her first love, look for KaZ's upcoming children's books
from the mind of two grandmothers.
Plus, a play based on letters from her two great uncles during WWII.