On my way practicing Yoga, I gladly discovered that my body has become more flexible and my quality of sleep has improved. I am taking the mindfulness Yoga class (which is a five-session series) at Duke Counselling and Psychological Services. In the lecture, the instructor talked about how to focus oneself on the present moment through mindful breathing and meditation. Here are two practices which I have found particularly helpful.
1. Ocean breathing.
This practice is aimed to develop deep, mindful breathing and to release the tension in our body and mind. As you breathe, notice the friction at the back of your throat and conciously exaggerate it. Make the sound loud enough for you to hear and let your attention rest on your breath. Use diapharm to breathe, and enjoy the ocean-like feeling. If your mind sways to the past or the future, simply notice these thoughts and let them go. Try to stay in the present moment.
The beauty of ocean breathing is that we can practice it anywhere anytime. I tried walking with ocean breathing and it really made me aware of the stress in me and helped me release it.
2. Pebble Meditation.
This practice helps you to relieve pressure and discover a better self.
Sit in a comfortable position and make sure your spine is erect. Have four pebbles beside you, each as a symbol for flower, mountain, still water and space.
Pick the “flower” pebble and look at it. Discover the flower nature (of beauty and freshness) in you. Close your eyes and breathe. Breathing in, “I think myself as a flower”; exhale, “I feel fresh”.
Pick the “mountain” pebble and look at it. We all need stability in our life to live happily. There are moments when we are overwhelmed by accidents or difficulties, but we need to restore the confidence in ourselves and carry on. Close your eyes and breathe. Inhale, “I think myself as a mountain”; exhale, “I feel stable”.
Hold the “still water” pebble in your palm and look at it. It is so easy to be opinionated and jugugmental of others when we do not really know about their feelings and concerns. Sometimes we also feel dwarfed by the obstacles ahead and become pessimistic. We need to be like still water and be able to see the truth. Close your eyes and breathe. Breathing in, “I think myself as still water”; breathing out, “I reflect things as they are”.
Lastly, we all need to have enough space for ourselves and for others. We need to spend time developing a free and peaceful personality. We need to spend time to nurture relationships. Hold the “space” pebble in your hand and breathe. Inhale, “I see myself as space”; exhale, “I feel free”.
I have found this particularly helpful for relieving tension and restoring confidence. Back from the holiday at Smoky Mountains, it’s time to work harder and smarter.