Knowledge is Power, Only if Applied
At this point in our Intentional Breathing series, we’ve brought light to meditation myths and have said that the power of intentional breathing is a basic, built-in tool for the human struggle.
And, remember this? Intentional breathing basics?
Concentration. Breath in and out through your nose, full nasal.
Reduce Anxiety. In through your nose, out through your mouth.
Energy. In through your mouth, out through your nose.
Sleep, Feel Better. In and out through your mouth, in a comfortable position.
We challenged you, in that first article, to try any one of these intentional breathing basics for three minutes, just to see if it created any kind of change for you.
Most readers who tried wanted to see if it really is easy to get a shift in a bad moment. Most also don’t want to be students of meditation since they are already students of other choices they’ve made. They want to be sure the possibilities of intentional breathing are really part of their own inner technology.
There’s so much study on the subject of meditation it makes one think it’s only for a few. However, the whole point of our series on intentional breathing is that everything you need is in your breath and body.
The study and practice of meditation is a good thing and I’m glad all the research has been done on it, but vast amount of its success hasn’t been experienced by people who write things down. They are too busy breathing what they want.
We shared the simple breathing techniques we describe above. Then in the last article we talked about Warrior Breathing, so you’ve seen a range of what’s possible.
Today we are going to stretch those three minutes to eleven (11) minutes. In the process we’ll provide a simple blueprint that you can adjust as your breath tells you how!
Sometimes it takes practice to decipher the messages in our breath, but trust us. Do this 11-minute routine and in 30 days you’ll tell us what your breath tells you.
Choose a need: Concentrate, Reduce Anxiety, Energy or Sleep, feel better. This is your Intention.
Determine Inhale and Exhale, time (count) and intention of each. This is the Breathing that fills the intention.
Set 21 days or higher. Many go with 30 days on an 11-minute commitment like this, but 21, we hear, helps a new habit take hold, maybe replace an old one.
Remember and Apply what you can about what your breathing shows you about your thinking and the situation you’ve presented to it, for 21 days.
Need: Johnny chooses Energy because between the hot air of the desert and the hot air of the boss and another worker, eight hours at work feels like sixteen. He can take eleven (11) minutes by himself here, on a break. If that meditation stuff works, this is where he needs to see results.
Someone told Johnny that eleven is the number of a Master, so he decided to go eleven minutes. He also grew up thinking sevens (7) are lucky.
Determine Inhale and Exhale: He inhales through his mouth seven seconds and exhales through his nose for seven seconds.
Johnny may not be at this job for 30 days so he’s going for 21 Days.
During these days Johnny was able to see things differently. Slowly he began to see that so long as the boss and his buddy didn’t come after him personally, then their issues were just that, theirs.
He found that so long as was performing his tasks, neither one of these people had the right to determine the quality of his day. In remembering the insights that came during those 11 minutes, he was able to apply something of value.
Johnny did have trouble focusing for that long, having never done this breathing thing before. He took the classic advice, however, given across the planet to beginners: When distracting thoughts come, accept them without judgment, let them go as soon as you can, and continue the breathing count as best you can, without judgements of your abilities, until you finish.
One more short example:
Sarah has issues at home, a divorce in the making with all the dramas playing out: custody, the house, alimony and child support. She feels she has all that under control but cannot allow this to ruin her career. It’s literally the future for her and the kids.
Lately she’s been late, when she’s never late, been mistaken where she doesn’t make mistakes. She needs her focus back. She chooses Concentration, inhale and exhale through the nose and decides to do the 11 minutes for 30 days.
She chooses to do her meditation right after her morning shower, about 45 minutes before she leaves to work. She’ll sit naked on the mat and set the timer. When she’s done, she’ll zip off to work.
She has some friends who are into numerology and they are touting the numbers thirteen (13) and nine (9), for harmony, strength and purification. She decides to inhale for a count of thirteen (13), then exhale for nine (9).
About five days in Sarah remembers something she read about athletes improving performance through visualization. She finds that seeing herself, imagining herself, shine at work helps her put out the distracting thoughts and actually practice focusing.
Sarah’s 30 days did bring some stability to her situation (application), enough she wants to keep intentional breathing going. What she may not realize consciously is that, simple as this is, she is performing a warrior’s meditation we link above.
You know we want to hear from you, questions, suggestions, whatsoever. Our next article to enhance and advance Intentional Breathing will look at the pros and cons of Religion.