Process of Going Inwards
We recently did a post on stress reduction and want to add a specific meditation that you can do at home to achieve that end. This one is similar to how many yoga teachers guide their students into their practice at the start of class. It’s a good one for eliminating distractions, coming to the moment, and making your breathing the focus of your attention.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted and where you have room to lay down on your back. If you have a mat that’s ideal but as long as your body can feel comfortable the space will work fine for you. You want to make your body and neck straight, so that there is as little arch in your lower back and neck as possible, and have your arms laid out at your sides with your palms facing up. Let your legs be about shoulder distance apart, with the outsides of your feet falling comfortably to either side. Then close your eyes. The yin yang aspect of this specific pose with the meditation we are describing while the meditation is about eliminating external distractions in order to focus on what is going on inside of you, your body language is open and accepting.
Once you have closed your eyes, you can start the process of going inwards through the simple act of concentrating on the quality of your breathing. At first you don’t want to try to modify it in any way, except to make sure you are breathing through your nose rather than your mouth. Simply recognize what’s there, feeling your breath as it goes in and out through your nasal cavities. Notice your lungs expanding and contracting, and which parts of your body need you to send more breath to. Make your breathing the most interesting thing in the world to you.
Try to let go of all the external distractions, all your plans, all your worries and concerns, the past and the future. For this small period of time none of it matters in the slightest. It will all be right there waiting for you when you get back, so just leave your distractions behind and focus on your breathing as it is in the moment.
Then start to modify the quality of your breath, turning it into ujjayi breathing, translated in English as victorious breathing. To do this bring your tongue against the roof of your mouth and constrict your throat somewhat, as if you were trying to fog up a window or sound like Darth Vader.
Continue to cultivate this breath through the rest of your meditation, going deeper and deeper into yourself, so that nothing else exists, allowing the outside world to dissipate. When distracting thoughts and feelings do arise don’t chide yourself for them, just gently remind yourself to come back to focusing all your attention on your breathing. After ten minutes or so you will find yourself relaxed and refreshed, ready to face life’s challenges.