Slow down. And breathe.
Let's begin Step 3 with a simple practice aimed at slowing you down and reacquainting you with your breath. This exercise only takes a few minutes however is an important daily step in preparing you for change. For grounding and calming you. I’ve mentioned change is a holistic process. The mind, the body, the spirit all need to be working in unison for you to be able to successfully identify the change you need to make and then to clear the pathway for successful implementation of these changes.
Most of us are hardly aware of our breath, yet it sustains every cell in our bodies and supports every life experience we will ever have. It is the most powerful tool we all have at hand for regulating metabolism, inducing calm, quelling anxiety and cleansing blocks to change.
Our breath is essential to life. But if you’re like most people, you’ve likely developed unhealthy breathing habits without being aware of it.
Modern living and stressful experiences often lead to shallow, tense, quick breathing that deprives the body of oxygen and contributes to fatigue, anxiety, weakened immunity, mental sluggishness, premature ageing, and other unnecessary health issues.
By paying attention to your breath, you can change what’s happening in your mind and body. Conscious deep breathing has been for thousands of years to cultivate physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. And recent scientific research shows it increases vitality and longevity, while enhancing your overall health.
Experience deeper states of calm and wellbeing so you can focus and move with ease towards your goals, the key is to develop good breathing habits. Although most of us haven’t been taught to breathe with wellbeing in mind, they’re simple enough for anyone to learn.It’s all about settling you down so you can be calm and focussed. When you easily reach a state of focus then you are better able to clearly see a pathway forward and become aware of the shifts (the AHA moments) as they happen. This simple exercise can be easily implemented into your daily routine in a way that completely suits you. As you practice, conscious awareness of your breath will become second nature and reaching a place of focus and clarity will easily be achieved. Choose the best place and time to practice. It could be first thing in the morning – as you wake. Lying in bed or sitting up in a chair. It could be on the bus or train as you are traveling to work. A 5-minute pause in the middle of the day perhaps. Or in the evening, once the dishes are done, the kids are in bed and the house is quiet. And, It’s best to approach every module from this place. I know it can be tricky to find your centre and your calm. Becoming consciously aware of your breath is a discipline - a work in process – a muscle that you need to exercise every day for it remain open.
So let’s begin the exercise.
Sit with both feet flat on the floor and your hands comfortably resting in your lap. Or if you are lying down – lie flat on your back – with your arms away from your body, palms facing upward. Ensure you are not touching anything around you. And ensure that your spine is gently supported by lying in a place that is comfortable. Now. Close your eyes. All you need to do is listen to the instructions which will bring you to a place of gentle, conscious awareness.
Begin by taking a moment to connect in with the breath. Take one deep breath in through the nose and draw the breath into your abdomen - one, two, three, four. Breathing out through the mouth - one, two, three, four. Releasing all of the air from your abdomen. Breath in - one, two, three, four. Breathing out - one, two, three, four. Breathing in - one, two, three, four. Breathing out - one, two, three, four. Then return the breath to a soft and undulating rhythm. Slowly breathing in, then slowly breathing out. Become conscious and aware of your inward breath. Breathe in - one, two, three, four. Now become aware of your outward breath - one, two, three, four. Maintain soft breath. Try not to force a breath and be careful not to hold on. Just a fluid inward and then outward breath in a soft and gentle rhythm is what you’re looking for with the aim of releasing stress from your mind and blockage from your body.
Now. Breathing in, become aware of the mind - your thoughts. Breathing out - I gently pay respect to the thoughts running through my mind and I let them pass me by – as if they have been carried away on the breeze. Breathing in - I observe my thoughts. Breathing out - I release my thoughts on the breeze. Now, return to quiet. To stillness. The aim is to develop a practice of gentle focus. The keyword here is practice. The mind learns to focus via the discipline of practice. We need the mind to learn the practice of focus to enable clarity of vision and then successful actioning of this vision.
Now. I’d like you to work on your vision. By vision, I mean vision, not with the physical eyes. This is vision with the mind's eye. Vision with the imagination. Remember that all change begins firstly in the imagination. One must see the new reality you are hoping to create first of all in the mind. The mind is the creative engine room – the place where you create for yourself the pictures in the mind of the new life and new conditions you wish to create for yourself. This is accessed via imagination. And imagination is accessed via meditation. Quiet. Stillness. You must first create the conditions for yourself so you are still enough to see. Allow your thoughts to create images in your mind. Be clear with the thoughts you are generating.What are the drivers for these thoughts? In this instance, the thought is designed to generate stillness. So use thought to generate images of stillness in your mind. Once you generate the stillness in your mind then your body and your spirit will follow. All of what you see before you in the world first began with a thought. This thought then turned into a picture or a vision in the mind. Then the vision became circumstance. Then the circumstance became real. Remember you are the driver of all things that are happening in your reality. Once you understand the connection between your thought and your reality – you will begin to harness your power and channel your focus to deliberately creating your world.
Life can get in the way of change – don’t you find. You feel that you’d like to make change, you know deep down in your soul that you NEED to make change – but something or someone or circumstances as a whole are taking you away from the change you know you need to make. To create real and lasting change you need to ensure you are open to making the changes. That’s the first step. It’s a commitment and it’s a mindset. This programme is about ensuring that your mindset is on track so you can actually make real and tangible change.
Now return your awareness back to your body, and the space around you. Slowly open your eyes. And remember to take conscious breath through your day.