Alternate nostril breathing

Greetings dear ones;
The meditations I have chosen to share with you have a strong emphasis on breathing a certain way. This is intentional. When I first began exploring meditation, I struggled with settling in. My mind raced and my body fidgeted so much that I could barely sit still let alone focus my attention! I found that selecting a style of meditation that involves a physical component helped me tremendously. Perhaps it will help you too!

One Minute Meditation with Bellows Breath
Sit with your back tall and your body well anchored, feet can be on the floor or you can sit cross legged. Close your eyes. Inhale deeply and exhale completely. Now begin the short, sharp exhales by drawing the belly in toward the spine 30 times. The inhale happens naturally. After the ‘bellows’ breathing, simply enjoy long, deep inhales and complete exhales until the minute is up. If you find that you feel lightheaded at all, simply reduce the number of Bellows Breaths by starting with 15 and work your way up. This is common and simply means your beautiful brain isn’t used to that much oxygen! With patience and continued practice, your brain will adjust and reward you with clear, calm thoughts. This particular practice has been known to stop anxiety attacks in their tracks.
Please note – If you are pregnant or have high blood pressure this meditation is not recommended for you. But the next one is! 😊

Alternate Nostril Breath and Meditation
Begin seated and stable, with a tall spine, chin parallel with the floor. Lift the right hand, palm toward the face and fold your pointer and middle fingers in, leaving the thumb, ring finger and pinky extended. Take a big belly breath in, gently close the right nostril with the thumb. Exhale through the left nostril, and inhale through the left nostril, slowly and deeply. Now close off both nostrils using the ring finger and thumb, pause briefly and exhale through the right nostril while releasing the thumb. Inhale through the right nostril, pause while gently closing the nostrils, exhale left, having released the ring finger. Inhale left, close the nostrils, pause and exhale right.
The process described above is one complete round of breath. As you experiment with this style of breath/meditation you can choose to start off with 3-5 rounds of breath or set a timer. Either way, start small and get comfy with it and then increase. Alternate nostril breath and meditation does SO for your mind and body; it balances the brain, soothes the central nervous system, brings calm and clarity to the mind and body, and blesses the body’s hormonal systems. Pretty powerful stuff!

My prayer is that some or all of this has blessed you in some way. Please feel free to reach out and ask me questions or offer comments if you wish. Many thanks to Fr. Rick for the opportunity to be of service to my brothers and sisters of St. Mark’s!
God’s peace,
Christine Marston
Certified Holistic Health Coach
Member of St. Mark’s for 10 years!