How many times have you sat down to meditate?
Determined to sit still for 10 minutes only to end up fidgeting and having a running battle with your thoughts?
If this sounds like you, don’t worry.
Trying to meditate does calm the mind, but calming the mind is the step before meditation, which we call concentration.
So, in today’s post, I’ll show you a simple yoga breathing exercise you can use, to help you avoid this mistake; so that you can concentrate and calm your busy mind.
If you are a newbie at meditation and this sounds confusing, again, don’t worry.
Learning to meditate, is like learning to ride a bike or learning to swim.
Once you get on the bike or in the water and you learn certain skills and do them in the correct order, your mind and body adapt and with practice, you become a competent swimmer or biker!
And so, it is with meditation.
Learning to calm your mind and relax your body are all part of the 7 steps you need to take to help you meditate. Making a mistake in any of these areas makes it harder for you to relax and be calm and presence for your practice. Once you have gone through these 7 steps, it becomes a lot easier for you to experience the state of being “calm, still and at peace” which people feel when they meditate.
What Happens to Your Mind When You Meditate?
When you meditate, the purpose isn’t too clear your mind of thoughts, rather it is to allow your mind to stay focused on a point of concentration, for example, the breath.
When your mind wanders away from this point of concentration, and you notice it has wandered and you bring it back to your point of focus/concentration, that is the practice of meditation
Your Mind is a Bundle of Thoughts
That feeling of having a busy mind is perfectly normal.
Did you know, that the average person has around 50,000 thoughts per day!
And considering there are 1400 minutes per day, that means (if my maths is correct!) we have at least 35 thoughts a minute!
No wonder you struggle to stay focused and have a busy mind!
Your mind is full of thoughts.
Solution: Practice Simple Yoga Breathing Exercises
The ancient art of yoga offers you many tools to help you prepare your mind and body to meditate.
Yoga breathing exercises, which form a key role in your yoga practice, known as Pranayama, are ideal practices to bring a sense of calm and quiet to your mind.
Next time you feel like giving up meditating because your mind is on over-drive, rather than forcing yourself to relax or even giving up, take a break, be gentle with yourself and practice this simple Yoga Breathing Exercise.
- Sit comfortably, with a nice straight spine and your feet facing forward and firmly resting on the floor.
- Close your eyes and take a long steady breath in through your nose and slowly breathe out through your nose.
- Do this for 3 more times as it helps to calm and steady your mind.
- Next breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three and slowly breathe out for a count of six. This counts as one breathing cycle.
- Repeat this sequence of breathing in for 3 and out for 6 for 3 – 7 breathing cycles.
- Slowly open your eyes and be aware of how calm and relaxed you feel.
Learning to meditate takes time and practice. When your mind is full of thoughts and you find it hard to focus and concentrate, it is easy to give up your practice. Rather than give up, practice the simple yoga breathing exercise explained above. You will instantly relax and be ready to start your meditation practice with a calm and still mind.
Give it a go and let me know how you got on.
And if you are interested in finding out more about yoga and how yoga breathing exercises can help you relax and calm your mind, check out my new Yoga for Beginners Book, which offers you lots of yoga exercises and meditation techniques to live a calm and peaceful life. You can purchase your copy of Yoga For Beginners here.