Unplug & Breathe

Typically, we have some time in the winter season to slow down. It is a time when our ancestors would be forced by seasonal weather to go inside. So why not follow the essential instinct of our beings and experience a little winter retreat ourselves? It may be a morning or evening to sit quietly and reflect. It may be a getaway to a cabin. Perhaps just taking 10 minutes to sit in your own home. After all, there is something to be said about the mesmerizing experience of gazing into a fire on a winter’s night.

We may find that our lives have become so busy and full of activities and newsfeeds and texting that we scarcely take the time to sit in contemplation. Many of us do not even really know how to be quiet and find the stillness within. Here is a simple breathing practice that can begin to bring our awareness to an more interior place. You can do this in just a few minutes at your desk, while standing in line at the store, or in a more expanded time that you have set aside for yourself.

Follow the breath practice: Sit or lie down and allow your awareness to be drawn inward. Relaxing the body, beginning with your toes and moving slowly up your legs, trunk, chest, neck shoulders, head, etc. becoming aware of any tension you may be feeling. As you move your awareness through your body, relax the muscles. After relaxing the body, bring your awareness to your breath. The marvelous thing about the breath is that we don’t have to make it happen. So follow the natural inhale and exhale with your mind’s attention. Follow the breath as you inhale down the throat and into the lungs and diaphram. Then follow the breath back up on the exhale as the air leaves your nostril.

By simply closing your eyes and following the breath as it moves through you, your body and mind have the opportunity to relax for a few moments. You may even try an emptying the mind exercise while doing this follow the breath practice. As your mind wanders to thoughts, bring your focus back to the breath. Our minds are so active and busy, you may have to do this multiple times with each breath!