My Meditation Practice

Meditation – What Has Been Working

August 20, 2016

Patanjali says that yoga* is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind.

But I have to be honest and say that I am finding fluctuations in my meditation practice, not just my mind. While this blog is an evolving medium, it’s intent is to share just this – the ebb and flow of my practice. What I’m noticing, what I am struggling with, where I’m finding benefits, etc. I have also shared and will continue to share what I find to be working during my actual practice.

This is one of those posts where I share what is working for me now.

My meditation practice is truly just sitting with my breath. Complete and total breath awareness. Nothing else. And this is hard.

In-and-out of my head flow the thoughts (just to describe a few):

My grocery list….
What I have to do once I stand up….
The comment that recently annoyed me….
If I’m hungry or not…
Wow I’m doing it!!!! I’m meditating!!!!
Oops, now I’m not….

And this is how I (usually) practice:

My grocery list….
Back to the breath.
What I have to do once I stand up….
Back to the breath.
What recently annoyed me….
Back to the breath.
If I’m hungry or not…
Back to the breath.
Wow I’m doing it!!!! I’m meditating!!!!
Back to the breath.
Oops, now I’m not….
Back to the breath.

Back to the breath’ is what ebbs and flows right now in this stage of my meditation ‘maturity’.

What does ‘back to the breath’ mean? Is it a breathing pattern? Usually. It’s anything that brings my awareness within the edges of my form.

As of late, ‘back to the breath’ has been the act of focusing on the moment when I feel the back of my lower lungs stretch.

Try it finding this spot. Right now. The lower part of your lungs are below the shoulder blades and just above your navel.

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 9.18.45 AM

If you observe your un-altered breath, you’ll notice that it stays in a certain area of your torso – the area under your sternum.

If you have some experience with, or a regular pranayama practice, you may have a more developed breathing pattern where your navel moves in and out. Try to do this type of three part breathing first.

Once you have the breath moving in and out using your navel (which is engaging more of your diaphragm), try to move the breath so it stretches out the back of your lungs. This take immense internal concentration.

Even if you don’t feel the back of your lungs inflate and deflate, keep picturing it. Keep sending your awareness there. Eventually you will start to turn this mind-body connection on. In time, you will be able to tap into this special inside spot.

I’m sharing this because I’ve found this ‘special inside spot’ to be truly centering in my mediation practice. This ‘back to the breath’ practice is what is working for me now and truth be told, it feels really, really good. So I wanted to share.

Meditate & be well.

*References to yoga on this blog are towards the meditative practice as opposed to the physical asana practice which is often connected with the term.

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