Every Breath is a Prayer.
One of the first steps to meditate is to use a full breath. There’s so much to the breath, really. In Heart Rhythm Meditation we start with the posture, then we make our breath conscious. This is the physical part of the breath. Air moves in and out our nostrils.
But when we breathe in there’s much more that comes with the air. There’s light, sound, and energy. Breath is the divine current which allows us to exchange energy with the world around us and with others.
5 1/2 minute guided meditation on the Full Breath
The First Intervention in Your Normal Breathing
One of the first steps to meditate is to breathe, consciously, deeply and slowly. Your breath slows down, and gets deeper, and quieter, a more refined breath. Now, start to work your abdominal muscles to exhale more completely. Squeeze out another 3 seconds of breath at the end of your next regular exhale. Then release and let your belly fill up like a balloon as new air and energy rush in. Continue to emphasize the exhale for the next few breath cycles. The more you exhale, the more you can inhale
If you want to breath more breath in, you need to first breathe more air out. That makes room in your lungs to take more in. Most of us breathe shallowly and there’s lots of leftover, stale air which remains in the bottom of our lungs. By breathing out fully and completely we expel the stale, retained air and make room for more fresh air and energy. This leads to the full breath.
The Second Intervention in Your Normal Breathing
Now you can start to extend your inhales and make them deeper and longer, and similar in length to the exhale. Don’t force the breath. Let it occur naturally and then add the full exhale and the full inhale to the end of the regular breath pattern. Now your breath becomes full and rhythmic.
Have the feeling that your whole body, your physical being, is breathing, inhaling and exhaling. Feel yourself soaking up the energy that comes through the breath. We are expanding ourselves internally, opening ourselves up towards the energy.
The Inhalation is like a rising fountain of energy; the exhalation is like a descending waterfall.
–Puran Bair, Living from the Heart
To inhale is to inspire, to bring in spirit!
With this full breath practice you can increase the amount of breath you take in by double or more over time. The benefits of the full breath are relaxation, improved heart rate variability, slower, more regular heart-rate, increased lung function, higher oxygen level in the blood, improved circulation and reduced fatigue.
This can have the effect of lowering your blood pressure as well. It’s like getting the benefits of exercise without leaving your chair!
One other thing you can add to the full breath is a holding of the breath at the top of the inhale for a few seconds or longer if you can comfortably do so. By holding at the top of the inhale you can feel the energy inside you and feel yourself expanding. Never try to hold after an exhale. After a while you can drop the holding of the breath and just breathe rhythmically, without any pauses.
The full breath is one of the important first steps to meditate. Practice this full breathfor 5 or 10 minutes and enjoy the feelings you receive from this.