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Mindful Moments Introduction
Welcome friends, to the Mindful Moments audio program.
In this program you will find a selection of breathwork and meditations that will help you connect with calm and clarity anytime you choose.
With each track you will experience a distinct physiological shift, as your mind moves into a meditative state, your heart rate lowers, and you enter into a relaxed state of being.
As with any skill, learning to truly relax mentally and physically will require repetition. I suggest you begin integrating these simple practices into your daily routine, by setting a time each day to invest in your peace of mind.
Built upon science, this program is the product of thousands of hours of experience. While these techniques may be new for you, you will feel the impact of practice and experience the benefits almost immediately.
With each session, you will re-train your brain to attune to the alpha and theta states of clarity and calm, and doing so will leave you feeling centered and confident as you go about your day.
While most sessions are best experienced in a quiet and relaxed environment, there are three Tactical Strategies in the last session that are designed to help you regain focus and control in intense or stressful situations.
The Tool of Better Breathing
The Tool of Better Breathing provides a highly effective method to interrupt negative mental and emotional patterns and quickly alter our current experience. Simple breath control is easily the most powerful tool that we have to use to improve our health and wellness and increase our quality of life.
That said, the Tool of Better Breathing is not actually a technical technique. Its power lies in its simplicity. Rather than being a rigid practice, Better Breathing is defined simply as breathing a little bit deeper, a little more often. It’s just that easy.
The benefits begin the moment we focus on the breath, which immediately interrupts our mental patterns and begins to change our physiological, mental, and emotional state. Breathing deeper brings more oxygen into our blood, which positively affects brain activity, inducing a sense of calm clarity. With Better Breathing, these empowering results are usually just a few breath cycles away.
Try it now:
- Become aware of your breath.
- Notice the depth of your current breath.
- Now gently breathe a little deeper.
- Enjoy the stretch of a nice full breath.
- Exhale natural but empty completely.
- Enjoy several more slow deep breaths.
- Pause to appreciate this powerful practice.
Breath control is the most basic building block of self-control. When we learn to control our breathing, we learn to control our heart rate and our emotional state of mind. There is great value in studying the various techniques, but it is much more important to actually just breathe.
Of all the techniques taught in this Mindful Moments collection, the tool of Better Breathing is easily the most impactful. Why? Because it is so simple to use, it acts as a perfect building block to lay the foundation for more advanced techniques. The key is improving the quality of breath, which will fundamentally improve the quality of your health and well-being.
Becoming aware of your breath is the first step toward awakening your inner wisdom. You can easily build a Better Breathing habit by setting a reminder on your phone. Set a chime to remind your mind of the power found in each breath. It would be wise to master this tool and use it often!
The Art of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has enjoyed a surge in population in recent years, almost becoming commonplace in many social circles. The hallmark of mindfulness is nonjudgmental observation. This form of meditation is less breath focused, and more about opening your senses to the world around you. In doing do, you elevate your awareness to what is real right now.
This is the secret to shifting perspective.
- From a comfortable position, commit to stillness for a set period of time.
- Take 3 powerful deep breaths, shrugging the shoulders, then dropping them as you exhale strongly.
- Empty completely then take a full breath in for retention. Close your eyes and hold this breath for a comfortable period of time before slowly releasing.
- Allowing the breath to become natural and smooth, effortless, begin to observe any sensations in the body, softening tension, and sinking deeper into a relaxed, mindful state.
- Here your awareness is fully open, hearing, feeling, smelling, sensing the energy and vibrations of the world around you.
- Simply observe what occurs in your mind, in your body, releasing the need to hold onto any thought or sensation… allow the stream of experience to flow by, as you simply relax and let go.
- If the mind wanders with thought, gently let go, coming back to present with each breath in. The thought is not wrong, it’s just gone.
- Sense deep with your awareness. Expand your presence in this moment. Feel what’s real within you, the calm of inner peace.
- Stay present now, centered in this sacred space. Sensing. Observing. Relaxing. Enjoying this moment just as it is. Accepting the gift of life.
- This is your source of strength, the place you find peace, intuition, inspiration, and joy. This is your infinite resource of calm, clarity, and confidence.
- Observe this inner connection. Come to this place more often. You can always stay here as long as you’d like.
- When you’re ready, take a big breath in and stretch your arms up high. Relax a moment longer. Linger with a smile. You just woke up.
The key to mastering relaxation is realizing you need to relax. Often we hold subtle, subconscious patterns of tension in both the body and the mind. Becoming aware of these patterns, and learning to release them, is the ultimate key to better well-being.
To experience this for yourself, you are now going to very intentionally, even systematically relax every part of your body. To do so, you will want to find a quiet space where you can relax undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.
Take a few moments to set yourself up for success. Perhaps you have a blanket for warmth, a pillow to prop the neck or the knees to support the lower back. When it comes to relaxation, being comfortable is key.
Let your preparation become like a ritual, setting things just right for the ultimate indulgence, complete and utter relaxation. Let your breath become slow and deep even as you get setup and begin to settle in.
Listen to the audio.
When you feel ready, slowly wiggle the fingers and toes, waking the body, breathing deep, stretching big. Take your time. Remember what it feels like to be relaxed. Remember the source of your peace and strength. Remember the gift of who you are. Remember your heart and soul.
You are whole and complete, intimately connected to the Source of Life and the Essence of Everything that is.
With the gift of life comes the power of choice, and with that you have unlimited potential. The rest of your life starts now. Enjoy it.
Long Breath Out
The Long Breath Out is a personal breathing technique that draws upon stacks of science and countless hours of personal experience. It is important to understand that our emotions are biochemical reactions that can be regulated by controlling the breath. Accepting this fact with the logical mind, we begin to use the breath to connect with our inner resources.
Anytime an exhalation is extended longer than the breath in, we trigger a relaxation response in the nervous system. This creates a physiological shift from fight-or-flight, to the rest-and-restore mode of our parasympathetic nervous system.
While the science is fascinating, the practical application is really quite simple. Anytime you find yourself tensing up, when fear, anxiety, or worry start creeping in, take a short strong breath in, then pause briefly before slowly exhaling a Long Breath Out.
- Wherever you are, stop what you’re doing and breathe deep.
- Exhale until you are empty; you are in charge of your breath.
- Inhale strongly through the nose for a count of 2 or 3.
- Pause to appreciate your own inner strength.
- Exhale slowly for a long breath out, the longer the better.
- Pull the belly button to the spine to squeeze out all the air.
- Repeat this sequence for 6 cycles, then asses your mental state.
The Long Breath Out, like Better Breathing, is a very powerful tool, precisely because it’s simple to use. When you practice, you may choose to count your breath for good measure. In practical application, the exact count matters a lot less than the extended exhalation.
This technique can easily be combined with the Magic of Mantra, and it is further discussed in the Tactical Strategies session. In this session, the goal is to understand the science and experience the effect. Take a short breath in. Enjoy a long breath out. Practice this often and you will enjoy all the benefits this technique has to offer.
Cyclical Breathing creates an unbroken cycle of continuous breath that can lead you deep into subtle levels of awareness. It requires attention be maintained on the transition between inhalation and exhalation. With steady practice, best results are achieved over a longer period of meditation, extending beyond ten minutes.
The concept of Cyclical Breathing is simple to grasp: Simply allow no pause between each breath in and out. Keep the transition as smooth as possible, and strive to maintain an equal length inhale and exhale throughout your practice.
- Make yourself comfortable, sitting reclined or lying down.
- Let your hands rest around your belly-button.
- Inhale deeply into the lower abdomen, filling the lower belly like a balloon. Feel the belly sink on the breath out.
- Begin a slow and steady cycle of breath for a 3, 4, or 5 count.
- Sensing the fullness of breath, immediately transition to exhalation.
- Sensing the emptiness of breath, immediately transition to inhalation.
- Repeat this pattern rhythmically, keeping each transition as smooth as possible, without pausing or interrupting the cycle.
- Break this cycle when ready by retaining a complete exhalation.
- Maintain a moment of emptiness before filling up and retaining a maximum inhalation.
- Exhale naturally and rest as the breath returns to normal.
When experimenting with Cyclical Breathing, it is best to start slow and build yourself up. Only you can measure the impact of your experience. If there is no discernible effect, you need to extend the length of your practice. If it becomes uncomfortable, you need to shorten the length of your practice.
As with all breathwork, being aware and listening to your body, honoring the need to take a break, and honing your skills over time are your keys for success. Using the breath to access altered states of consciousness is an exciting adventure, and with this program you have received a map that can lead you to untold treasures.
Box Breathing is an effective technique for reducing stress, backed by science, and made popular by the Navy Seals. This is a four-part pattern that pauses after each breath in and out. The length of each breath will depend on lung capacity. Some patterns utilize equal length breath and retention, while other patterns emphasize longer retention and doubling the length of exhalation.
As with all breathwork, you must experiment and learn what works best for your body. In this session, I will guide you through a few common patterns of Box Breathing.
- Sit in a comfortable position, taking a moment to settle in.
- Take a few slow deep breaths. Exhale completely, then begin.
- The 4-4-4-4 Symmetrical Pattern
- Inhale for 4 count.
- Pause for 4 count.
- Exhale for 4 count.
- Pause for 4 count. Repeat for 10-12 cycles.
- The 4-7-8-4 Extend Exhale Pattern
- Inhale for 4 count.
- Pause for 7 count.
- Exhale for 8 count.
- Pause for 4 count. Repeat for 6-8 cycles.
As you can tell, Box Breathing requires a lot more mental effort and concentration that many other techniques. Please keep in mind, the science that makes this technique effective is easily activated through many simpler techniques as well.
To increase your concentration, consider using a metronome or the Magic of Mantra to give your mind some structure during this exercise. Find a pattern that feels best for you, and enjoy experimenting with the benefits that Box Breathing has to offer.
The Magic of Mantra
Mantra is a very powerful meditation tool that has been used in Eastern lineages for thousands of years. There are many different traditional mantras, but they all share a common function. By repeating a simple word, syllable, or sound, mantra rapidly induces a meditative state of mind, facilitating brain-entrainment and altering states of consciousness.
For the purpose of this Mindful Moments program, to keep things simple and practical, we will examine and experiment with the Magic of Mantra from a contemporary perspective. Here I will offer word suggestions, and also invite you to create your own mantras with words that are meaningful and empowering to you.
The Magic of Mantra can be activated with most breathing techniques by rhythmically repeating your mantra in sync with each breath cycle. Once you have become accustomed to using this tool, you will find limitless ways to integrate it into daily life.
- Adding Mantra to Cyclical Breathing –
- Cyclical breathing links equal length breaths in and out, without pause, to create a continuous stream of uninterrupted breath.
- Using two symmetrical mantra, each breath cycle will be counted off by rhythmic repetition of your chosen mantra.
- Example pattern: In– Hale- Peace- Now- Ex- Hale- Peace- Now
- Repeat this pattern for 10-12 cycles or longer.
- Adding Mantra to Box Breathing –
- Box Breathing is an inhale/pause/exhale/pause cycle of breath that uses various counts at each step to create different patterns.
- Using different mantra for inhale, exhale, and retention will generate distinctly different experiences for each practitioner.
- Example pattern:
- Inhale 4 Count: I-Am-Pow-Er
- Pause 4 Count: Full-Of-Pow-Er
- Exhale 4 Count: I-Em-Pow-Er
- Pause 4 Count: Love-Em-Pow-Ers
- Box Breathing does not have to be symmetrical. One popular pattern is the 4-7-8, which is known to induce calm. It is important to experiment and experience what works best for you!
- Adding Mantra to the Long Breath Out
- The Long Breath Out breathing pattern is scientifically proven to create a physiological shift toward a calm and serene state.
- The key to this technique is exhaling twice as long as the inhale. The exact length of each cycle will depend on your lung capacity.
- Inhale 2 Count: I-Am
- Pause 3 Count: feel the heartbeat 3 times
- Exhale 4 Count: Feeling-Peace-Letting-Go
The Magic of Mantra is a powerful mental tool that can be personalized and used in many different ways. Mantra can also be used along with other tools, such as mala beads, or tapping exercises. The more frequently you employ the Magic of Mantra, the greater your benefits will be, as you slowly rewrite the script of your mind and unleash the power within.
Tactical Strategies are practical tools that you can use anytime you need to immediately regain a calm sense of control. Fear, anxiety, and worry are most often triggered by events that are out of your control, and feeling out of control is a scary thing.
In these moments, remember that emotional reaction is perfectly normal, and that you have a choice. You are more powerful than you can even imagine. To manage your emotional state, connect with your breath and employ the following strategies:
- Reset Breath – in the event you find yourself feeling out of control, the instant you sense yourself tense and you feel the rise of stress or anxiety, anger or frustration, immediately take a Reset Breath:
- Inhale a short powerful breath in through the nose, and hold for two seconds as you mentally state RESET.
- Exhale slowly as you mentally state I HAVE CHOICE.
- Repeat this sequence for 3-5 breaths as needed. If you are able to take a break, use additional strategies.
- Long Breath Out – understand that emotions are biochemical reactions that can be regulated by controlling the breath. Let your logical mind accept this fact as a source of inner strength and power.
- Exhale until you are empty. You are in charge.
- Inhale slowly to the count of 3. Exhale slowly to the count of 6.
- Repeat this sequence for 6 cycles, then asses your mental state.
- Box Breath – this is considered an advanced technique because it requires greater mental effort. It is a great tool to improve concentration, and it is best used when you can step out of a situation and commit to breaking the cycle of emotional reaction.
- Exhale until you are empty. You are in charge.
- Inhale for 4 seconds; Pause for 4; Exhale for 4; Pause for 4.
- Repeat this pattern 4 cycles, followed by Full Breath Retention.
Using these strategies will interrupt the stress cycle and shift your body chemistry. You are quite literally, and logically, biochemically hacking your emotional state. Doing so reconnects you with unlimited inner resources and transform your challenge into an opportunity to evaluate, elevate, and learn to let go.
Do not forfeit your chance to take charge. Connect with the breath and take control of your inner world. Practice this often and you will master the game of life. While there are no guarantees, you are now well equipped to enjoy the journey.