Finding Support Through Your Breath Part 2


In this continuation of the first video on meditation and yoga, Jillian Szafranski, the yoga therapist at Reasons EDC, begins with a brief overview prior to diving into deeper content. Following the first video, viewers should begin to experience more unity between mind and body, and feel prepped for meditation. Szafranski continues to emphasize the fact that many of us need to find movement with our meditation, contrary to the common belief that we must be still. She reiterates that 2-5 minutes is plenty for meditation and that we shouldn’t have such high expectations as we are easily distracted by nature.

Following her recap, she thoroughly explains and demonstrates five different options for meditation, prefacing her descriptions by pointing out that we need to find what works for us personally.

First, she demonstrates the Four Second Box Breath. In this technique, take a four-second inhale, hold it for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold empty lungs for four seconds. This method works because while you count your breath, it encourages your mind to focus on the present moment.

Another option is Matching Breath Extensions. The goal of this method is to lengthen inhales and exhales to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. For this option, inhale for five seconds and exhale for five seconds. Continue adding a second per inhale and exhale until you get to about 8 or 9 seconds or whatever feels right in your body. As with the “four second box breath” method, focus your mind on counting as you inhale and exhale.

Attention and Distraction Meditation incorporates our natural difficulty with staying focused.  First, ground down by realigning your spine and deepening your breath for about 20 seconds. Next, open your eyes and give yourself permission to be distracted by something you see. Once you notice your mind wander, try to refocus your attention to your meditation. Doing so will train yourself to be more receptive to come back to relaxation.

You can also try Intention-Setting Meditation. To begin, think of something that you wish to integrate in your life as you inhale, such as joy, patience or compassion. As you exhale, focus on something you wish to let go of, such as anger or anxiety. You can continue to focus on the same words as you continue your inhales and exhales or switch it up each time.

Finally, Jillian guides us through Loving Kindness Meditation. To start, offer love and kindness to yourself first by repeating the phrase “may I be well” out loud or in your mind. As you offer this loving phrase to yourself, notice any physical changes in your body. Next, repeat “may I be healthy and strong” as you inhale and exhale. The final two phrases to repeat in this type of meditation are “may I forgive myself” and “may I forgive others.” If one or more of the phrases used in this method resonates with you, you can choose to repeat them again.

For more information on this two-part series on basic breath and meditation, please visit www.reasonsedc.com

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