(please see previous article, ABC’s of meditation, ch2, part 2.)
ABC’s of Meditation, CHAPTER THREE
BREATHING EXERCISES FOR STRESS AND DEPRESSION
Let’s face it – some days are going to be a lot more stressful than others. If you do your morning meditation exercise, you will be able to cope much better with those stresses, but sometimes you need to do something right on the spot. The boss wants it yesterday, the kids are sick, the fridge is on the blink; you just don’t know how you are going to survive one more second on this planet!
Wait! Don’t cash it in quite yet! Use this time-honoured, sure-fire quickie meditation technique. It’s fast, you don’t have to be seated, and nobody even has to know you’re meditating. It is your own little secret tranquilizer- natural , of course! Results are usually instantaneous. If you can breathe, you can do it.
From time immemorial, taking a deep breath has been known to calm a person down in times of stress. Breathing is one of the most ancient yogic forms of entering into higher, meditative states, especially by controlling the breath. Some yogis could actually control their breathing to the point of stopping their hearts – with no adverse effects! Yogic breathing can be
extremely effective if it is done quietly, calmly and through the nose, not the mouth. Imagine you have a thread in front of your nose, and when you breathe in and out, it doesn’t move. That’s how quietly you should breathe for these next exercises.
BREATHING EXERCISE # 1
No matter where you are, stop for a second and consciously feel that you are breathing in peace. With each incoming breath feel real peace entering into your being. Say the word ‘peace’ or ‘shanti’ (Sanskrit for peace) and think of what the word means to you. When you exhale, still through the nose, breathe out all your anxieties. Feel as if you are expelling them, and as soon as they exit your body, they are gone forever. Visualize whatever you need to really get rid of them. Whatever works for you is the right thing.
This will all be happening very quickly, and your own higher self will deal with getting rid of all the negativity as long as you really let it go. Now immediately breathe in peace again and feel it calming your entire being down. Feel the peace entering into your system through your nose but spreading to every part of your body. Feel each muscle and each limb relax as peace enters into it. Then again expel any worries or anxieties that have remained in your being.
Take as long as you need to with this exercise until the peace is solidly transmitted to your system and all the stress-causing anxieties have been duly exhaled and expelled. I guarantee that you will FEEL LIKE A NEW PERSON. The great thing about this exercise is that no one even knows you’re doing it. But the people around you will definitely see a big change in you after you’ve done it. And please feel free to share this little secret – your living and working environment will surely improve drastically. I have suggested this to students before their exams, and they have felt it really helped them calm down!