How Do We Use Breath to Focus the Mind?
Enjoy this excerpt from Quieting the Monkey Mind: How to Meditate with Music.
We can live without food and water for days or even weeks, but we cannot live without breath for more than a few minutes. Consider the importance of this for a moment as we honor the value and preciousness of the very air we breathe. The ancient yogis of India called it prana or Universal Energy. Some may call it the Life Force or the Holy Spirit, but whatever we call it, we know life depends on it. As we come to understand how to work with this universal energy, we learn that by controlling the breath we also control the mind.The spiritual science of pranayama is about learning how to control the breath. In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, the word prana means breath or energy and the word yama means control. By understanding how to control the breath/energy, we learn how to relax the body and control the subtle nuances of our minds. Obviously one of the best ways to calm the mind is through controlling the breath. The breath of life is a gift to treasure.
Typically, we breathe using only a third of our lung capacity. This could mean we are living about 30% of our potential, shortening our years, and compromising our health. Often when we are anxious, angry, or afraid, we may find we are holding our breath. It is ironic that during these times of stress when we need to breathe deeply more than ever, we have cut off much of our oxygen supply. So now is a very good time to learn some helpful breathing techniques that will benefit us in our meditation as well as in our daily life. (Chapter 4 includes breathing meditations and exercises)
“Life is breathing light into every moment. Take a deep breath and savor your field of vibration filling the universe with love. It feels so good to know there is no limit to love lightening up the world and releasing the constraints of our closed hearts.”
Slow Down the Breath Through Toning
Notice that when you add a sound to your exhalation, the breath naturally slows down. This is an example of ‘toning’ which we get to later in the book. A basic rule of thumb with conscious breathing is to have a shorter inhalation and a much longer exhalation. This focus on the breath will help to slow down the parade of thoughts that is continually marching through your inner mind.
We hope you enjoyed this short excerpt from Dudley and Dean Evenson’s new book Quieting the Monkey Mind: How to Meditate with Music. Celebrate its release with us – February 20, 2018. Thanks for supporting this wonderful guidebook by ordering today on amazon.