Awareness Of the Breath
Often when I’m teaching someone who is new to Meditation, they will say: “I can’t meditate – I can’t quiet my mind.”
That’s when I love to suggest that thinking of it as AWARENESS PRACTICE and simply focusing on the breath can be so helpful. Meditation is not something mysterious and mystical. It is simply a technique and a tool to train our minds to stay in the present moment. Sitting quietly and focusing on the sensations of the breath can help to quiet the thoughts and calm and body and mind. Even noticing the breath throughout the day can bring us back to center and release anxiety.
Awareness of the Body Sensations A very effective way to improve our well being is to practice noticing when you feel tension and congestion in your body. Basically catching yourself in habits of physical tension and responding mindfully. I have been practicing noticing tension in my shoulders. I seem to accumulate tension there and catch myself often tightening those muscles throughout the day. Every time I catch myself holding tension there – I get up and jiggle, breathe, stretch – especially with arms over my head – and remind my body to relax.
Awareness of the Environment We are all surrounded by the sounds of traffic, machinery, television and other people. Perhaps you also add music in your home, car or in your headphones. Do you ever simply enjoy sitting in silence? One of the most wonderful benefits of Meditation is turning our attention inward to unplug from the external world. This is very calming and allows us to listen within – to our own intuition and wisdom. Is your living space comfortable and calming? I’ve been on another round of clearing clutter from my home – sorting, tossing and donating feels so satisfying and leaves me with only those things that I truly love and enjoy. Being more intentional with what I allow into my space helps me to appreciate the beauty and creativity I’m bringing into my environment.
Awareness of Self & Others Another way to practice Mindfulness, is to pay conscious attention to how you interact with other people. Notice who you enjoy being around. Notice who drains your energy and who is fun to be with. Make conscious choices about where you put your energy and time. Allow time for your own self-care and rest. I say Yes-And. Yes – I take good care of myself – And – I enjoy time with friends and family.
Tapping for Caregivers
Set Up Statements:“Even though I have all these responsibilities and it’s exhausting, I love and accept myself and all my feelings.”Even though I feel frustrated and overwhelmed and part of me is holding onto these feelings, for whatever reason, conscious or unconscious, I choose to relax and take care of myself with love and acceptance.”
Reminder Statements: All this responsibility *** So much to do and so little time *** All this pressure *** So many details *** It feels like it’s all up to me *** I feel exhausted *** So many decisions *** It’s just too much.
When You Begin to Feel Relief
Set Up Statement:“Even though I feel calmer and more relaxed, part of me might still be holding on to the stress, for whatever reason, conscious or unconscious. I choose to remember my needs and I love, accept and forgive myself and I am safe.
“Reminder Statements: “This remaining stress and overwhelm *** I’d really like to let it go *** This remaining frustration *** It’s time to release it now *** The truth is – I’m doing the best I can *** This remaining sadness and regret *** It’s safe to relax and let go *** Any remaining pressure *** That I’m putting on myself *** I am beginning to release and let go.” Continue to tap until you feel relief from the intense feelings. Take a few deep breaths whenever you feel fatigue and anxiety. Continue this practice each day as you continue to practice taking good care of yourself as well as your loved ones.
Complete your practice with Happy Tapping:“I’m healing and releasing the past *** I’m grateful for the healing *** My body is my teacher *** I’m feeling so much clearer now *** Making healthy choices *** I’m giving my body love and support *** I’m grateful for my strong, flexible, healthy body *** Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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- Create a comfortable and pleasant place to meditate.
- Set aside a specific time to meditate – best times are dawn, dusk,noon and midnight – but most importantly – be consistent about when you meditate.
- Find a comfortable sitting position in a chair, on a cushion or on a meditation bench, so that your spine is long and open.
- Relaxation – do some yoga postures or stretching exercises.
- Say a prayer and ask for guidance and support for your practice.
- Close your eyes and place your hands palms up on your thighs.
- Inhale and hold your breath, tensing the entire body; then throw the breath out and relax. Do this three times.
- Sing a chant, such as “All is well now, all is well.”
- Practice a measured breathing technique and finally breathe normally.
- Practice a concentration technique, such as Hong-Sau: As your breath flows in, mentally repeat the sound “Hong”; as your breath flows out, mentally repeat the sound “Sau.” Let the natural flow of breath indicate the pace. Hong-Sau means “I am Spirit.”
- Let go of all technique and simply relax in the presence.
- Come out of meditation slowly, perhaps ending with a prayer of gratitude.
- The right vagus nerve passes anterior to the subclavian artery and posterior to the sternoclavicular joint, entering the thorax.
- The left vagus nerve passes inferiorly between the left common carotid and left subclavian arteries, posterior to the sternoclavicular joint, entering the thorax.
- Pharyngeal branches – Provides motor innervation to the majority of the muscles of the pharynx and soft palate.
- Superior laryngeal nerve – Splits into internal and external branches. The external laryngeal nerve innervates the cricothyroid muscle of the larynx. The internal laryngeal provides sensory innervation to the laryngopharynx and superior part of the larynx.
- Recurrent laryngeal nerve (right side only) – Hooks underneath the right subclavian artery, then ascends towards to the larynx. It innervates the majority of the intrinsic muscles of the larynx.
- Left recurrent laryngeal nerve – it hooks under the arch of the aorta, ascending to innervate the majority of the intrinsic muscles of the larynx.
- Cardiac branches – these innervate regulate heart rate and provide visceral sensation to the organ.
- Laryngopharynx – via the internal laryngeal nerve.
- Superior aspect of larynx (above vocal folds) – via the internal laryngeal nerve.
- Heart – via cardiac branches of the vagus nerve.
- Gastro-intestinal tract (up to the splenic flexure) – via the terminal branches of the vagus nerve.
- Superior, middle and inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscles
- Posterior crico-arytenoid
- Lateral crico-arytenoid
- Transverse and oblique arytenoids
- Bring to mind a person you have difficulty liking or accepting.
- Bring to mind a circumstance in the world – war or injustice.
- Bring to mind the suffering of refugees or the homeless.