Meditation can help reduce stress, chronic pain as well as chronic disease states.
Is it kittens and sunshine once you start practicing? Nope. Your disease is still complicated as much as life always is but you’re not going to give up on breathing now are you? No you’re not because you know how valuable every breath is because you’re the one battling disease(s) that make it a wonderful gift.
Where to begin to shine some light within?
Start with mindfulness using John Kabat Zinn Mindfulness CD or MP3 available on Amazon or with a smartphone apps.
How to begin:
Begin with mindfulness meditation once per day for 5-15 minutes and then build up to 15 min twice per day as you feel ready. You can also try hemisync music for a deeper meditation as well as yoga breathing to calm the system down.
Yoga Breathing: Practice breath work to calm the body down.
Water Breath / Balanced Breathing: 4-6 breathes per minute.
When you breathe 4-6 breaths per minute, it has an adaptogenic effect on your nervous system. If you’re up, it will bring you down; if you’re down, it will bring you up. You can practice Water Breath standing, seated, lying down, and even while driving. Like drinking a glass of water, it’s always safe, always appropriate, and always healthful.
When to use:
Practice any time, day or night.
Use before high-stress meetings or presentations.
Use if you’re feeling sluggish midday.
Use during all yoga practices and low-intensity exercise.
How to Practice:
Inhale through your nose 1-2-3-4. Exhale through your nose 4-3-2-1. Repeat for at least 10.
Whiskey Breath / Down-Regulating Breath: < 4 breathes per minute
When you reduce your breath below 4 breathes per minutes, it triggers a strong parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system response, reduces your heart rate, reduces activity in skeletal muscles, and improves digestion.
This type of breathing is great after meals, in the evening, and most-commonly, right before bed. This practice should be done seated or lying down, and never while driving or doing anything standing or active. It’s extremely common for students to fall asleep while using Whiskey Breath, so it should be used with care, only when appropriate.
When to use:
Can be used (with care) to reduce intense stress or anxiety.
After eating, this breathing pattern can aid in digestion.
How to Practice:
Sit down or lie down in bed
Inhale through your nose 1-2-3-4 Hold: 1-2-3-4
Exhale through your nose 4-3-2-1 Hold: 4-3-2-1
Repeat for at least 10 rounds; approx 10 min.
Practice only while seated or lying down; never while driving.
Smart phone apps to begin a meditative practice:
Headspace – Free for the first 10 days. – Life on the go? Turn spare moments of time into meditation to lead to a better day.
Insight Meditation Timer- Free – Great all-around app to use for guided meditations of many different types and lengths or just to use as a tool to time and track your meditation practice.
Calm – Free – Start your journey to a calmer mind with our meditation programs. Learn the basics with 7 Days of Calm or start your mornings with the Daily Calm.
Walking Meditations – $1.99 – Get your walk AND meditation done together. A good way to start out for individuals who feel they “just can’t sit still” to begin a meditative practice.