Breathe in Joy, Exhale the Stress Away – A Guide to Meditation

A healthy life of fulfillment requires a fine balance of fun and discipline. Everything is 90% mental and 10% physical, Meditation gives you the upper hand to achieve your goals. With Mindfulness and Awareness of actions, you are more likely to choose actions that promote a healthy lifestyle. Meditation builds willpower, just like strength training builds muscles. Building your biggest muscle of all helps you make good decisions with diet, exercise and your overall lifestyle.

In a world that expects results overnight with magik supplements, and or cutting edge surgical procedures, it is easy to lose sight of what is the most critical factor in change. Overnight cures and remedies are lost just as fast as they came in. True change requires a daily conscious effort toward a goal. Being human automatically makes you a creature of habit. It takes 7 days to learn a new skill, and up to three months to build a habit. That same time frame applies when you are trying to break old habits, or make lifestyle changes. Often times, life brings the most adverse obstacles when you are trying to break bad habits. When you set your mind to the task, visualize it, and work towards it, anything is achievable.

“Results are nothing; the energies which produce them and which again spring from them are everything.” ― Wilhelm von Humboldt

In essence, Meditation practice enables you to gain the ultimate Mindfulness to understand what is going on with your psyche. Your subconscious mind subsists of all of your daily actions, thoughts, habits, predispositions, as well as a plethora of different memories attached with emotion. Being human also makes you susceptible feelings, which in most cases alter behavior. Awareness of these thoughts as they arise gives you the upperhand in channeling energy from emotions. Practice teaches how to access an inexhaustible energy that come from root emotions of feelings, joy, anger, sadness, and fear. Once you learn how to transfigure and channel the energies from these emotions, anything is possible.


Meditation Allows you to Know Yourself

Willpower is true strength, and plays a major role in long-term success of any endeavor. As urges and impulses come up it is critical to be able to self govern and make the right choice. Essentially, the ability to control emotional responses from thoughts and impressions allow you to make smarter choices when the heat is on. Key benefits of Meditation are the development of Mindfulness, and Awareness of internal and external stimuli. First off, the most important benefit of meditation is giving the practitioner a better ability to self regulate actions. 

In light of research, the major reason adherence to intervention programs subside is due to a lack of neuropsychological control. By the same token, when it comes to lifestyle change, the ability to self govern over the mind is the most critical skill to develop. Meditation exercises make it easier to choose a healthier activity when there is an occurrence, or a stressful situation. 

“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

To say the least, the subconscious mind is a jungle. On average, adults think anywhere from 50 – 80,000 thoughts per day.  In addition, most thoughts and impressions repeat throughout the day, after all “Bad Habits Die Hard”. Thoughts stem all the way from childhood, and include any habits picked up along the way. Activities and or thoughts that are repeated often are more likely to rewind and replay. Generally speaking, if there is going to be permanence to any new thoughts and or activities it takes a perpetual effort of daily reinforcement.


Meditation Teaches You How to Ride the Waves of Life

To help you visualize this, imagine that you are a sailboat on a turbulent ocean. In this scenario emotions are the wind, life is the turbulent ocean, and the sky is the intuition that guides you through life. Skills learned from Meditation are the sails on your boat. Essentially, you learn how to sail the boat to guide you the destination you have in mind. 

When storms arise, you will need to learn how to lower your mast and prep the ship or else your masts will break, or even worse, your ship will capsize. Capsizing is an everyday occurrence, you see it happen with preventable conditions like obesity which is the leading cause of chronic disease. In today’s day and age, three out of five people have metabolic syndrome.

If you do not want to end becoming a victim of your own doing, you must learn how to ‘ride the wave’. Eventually you will learn how to sail through storms, and learn how to navigate the stars. It takes time, and practice to gain these inherent skills so be patient. Achieving what may seem to be difficult becomes easier by the day.  Not only will you become less anxious, you will also learn how to seize the now. Slowly but surely you will gain focus, alertness, calmness, and build willpower. In any event, becoming present and aware of thought allows for better self governance.


Meditation Allows you to Make Better Decisions

Training the biggest muscle of all, the mind is more important than exercise. Developing self awareness, self regulation, and self transcendence through mental training has many benefits. Being human means you have thoughts, emotions, predispositions, and habits. Feelings and emotion carry certain energies, which lead to action or inaction. It is up to you to learn how to channel energies that stem from emotion.

Becoming aware of the emotions that cause reaction to triggering events is the first step. Through mind training, you gain a neuropsychological response to events, allowing you to control and redirect emotion. A good example of this would be to choose exercise over binge eating after an occurrence. Developing mindfulness through mind training allows for a self dialogue to become open with the control centers of the mind. In essence the conscious mind begins to hear the action thoughts of the subconscious allowing for self governance. 

Ninety per cent of thought force is wasted by the ordinary human being, and therefore he is constantly committing blunders; the trained man or mind never makes a mistake. – Swami Vivekananda

Control over negative emotions that arise when a triggering event arises in life will help you achieve goals. Practice teaches you to know your your nature. By knowing who and what you really are down to your core being, you equip yourself with knowledge and tools to make better decisions during stressful situations. Meditation gives you the ability to choose an activity that benefits you, instead of choosing an activity that is self destructive. All things considered, learning to channel and redirect the energies from emotion allows you to make sound choices and maintain lifestyle choices. 


Meditation Prerequisites 

  • Principles of Meditation
    • Make a sacred space, or a space to practice. This area has to be clean and free of clutter. If you meditate in clutter, the mind will follow suit. 
    • Create two times per day that you can practice for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to take care of all obligations before hand so as not to cause unnecessary distraction.
    • Again, time set aside for Meditation has to be distraction free. Take care of your obligations before hand. Turn off all electronics, this includes your cellphone, laptop.
    • Be sure to tell your friends, family that you have an obligation during those times and that they need to be free of distraction.
    • You may need a mat, blankets, pillows, or a chair. You will be most comfortable for these time periods. 
    • It is easiest to practice as soon as you wake up, and are about to go sleep. This gives you an extra hour of rest everyday.

Proper Breathing is Critical, and Needs Regulation at All Times

You can practice Diaphragmatic breathing anywhere, driving, standing, sitting, etc… Breathing is an essential part of life. As a matter of fact, breathing properly can help you ward off disease as well as increase your bodies metabolic function. Learn how to breath properly so that you are ready for practice.

All breathing unless you are physically exerting yourself should be done through the nose. Relax the mouth shut, This does not mean you should squeeze the jaw shut. Place the tongue at the roof of the mouth, under the ridges. Relax the face, make sure the face is holding no tension. This is a critical step because the vagus nerve in the forehead is directly connects to the rest of the body. If there is tension in the face, this will interrupt proper breathing, as well as tense up other parts of the body inhibiting proper blood and oxygen flow.

Before you continue, practice breathing first. Proper breathing comes from the lower abdomen. Imagine slowly inflating a balloon at the base of your spine, inside of your lower belly. As you inhale, the balloon fills up with air, shifting your internal organs around. Continue to inhale slowly until your upper chest is full of air. Now begin to exhale slowly, imagine the balloon deflating and as it shrinks it wraps around the base of your spine. Squeeze all the air out using your abdomen. Proper breathing will also help to tone and firm your belly. 😉


Meditation Guide 

Practice

  • Set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes
  • Get comfortable! Arrange your blankets, pillows, cushions so that you can be comfortable.
  • Although traditional preference is lotus position, if you are new, the most important thing is that you are comfortable. You can lay down on your back, belly, side, whichever way will help you get through 30 minutes the easiest. As you become more established in your practice, it is important to begin sitting meditation.
  • Establish rhythmic breathing, this  will help you relax, and out of your head. It helps to count your breath in and out. Also feel how your body shifts 
  • Set a Mantra – This step is not necessary, however it can help you achieve goals. Mantras come in the form of words, a goal, or even a prayer. If you do not believe in setting a mantra, this is even better. Get to know your mind and the way you think. 
Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success. -Swami Sivananda
  • You may begin after you have calmed down and established rhythmic breathing. 
  • Become an observer, try not to hold attachment to thoughts, feelings, or predispositions that arise. When they come up, tell yourself, “oh hey,  that is a thought,” then move on to the next one. Focusing on one thought stops meditation. If do become distracted, start over and begin rhythmic breathing.
  • Allow the mind to wander, then bring it back with the breath.
  • If you have chosen to set a mantra, now would be the time to bring it in. As you breath in, imagine the mantra in mind coming into fruition, and as you exhale, imagine the opposite of the mantra coming to pass.
  • Once the timer has passed start to wind down again by counting the breath in and out. Recap any moments you had during practice, and get back to your day.

Tips on an Appropriate Mantra for Meditation

When you feel ready, you can set an intention to your breathe, this is a mantra. Identify a certain stress in your current life you want to try to work on. However, you can also choose to try and improve an existing trait you possess. 

Eventually practice teaches you how to be grateful for everything that you have. As you develop gratitude, and loving kindness toward yourself, you will learn to accept yourself for all of your good traits as well as mistakes. Always remember that choosing to improve yourself in Mind, Body, or Spirit is selfless.

Do your best to pick a selfless mantra, versus something that can be selfish. Improving yourself means you cause a positive butterfly effect in your surrounding community. This means it will benefit everyone that you come into contact with.


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Ninos Ibraham

Ninos Ibraham has over 10000 hours of training in QiGong, Yoga, Bodybuilding, Weightlifting, Nutrition, Body Mechanics, The Human Movement System, Eastern Psychology. Ninos Used to weigh in at almost 400lbs over a decade ago. With research into nutrition, human movement science, martial arts and yoga, Ninos had an amazing 200 lb weight loss in 9 months. What makes it more amazing is that Ninos did this without the aide of doctors, personal trainers, surgical procedures, and magic weight loss pills. Ninos has been a plant based vegan athlete 95 % of the time over the last 11 years.

4 thoughts on “Breathe in Joy, Exhale the Stress Away – A Guide to Meditation

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