Breathing a Path to Your Haven

During the third session of Mike Scanlon’s Mindfulness Expertise Series we practiced three types of meditation: mindfulness of breath; mindful walking and three stage breathing space. Mike asked attendees to make sure that before any meditations, we must look dignified! At first I thought this was a rather random request but Mike explained that adopting a dignified posture can help to stop the amygdalae (the fear centres within the brain) transmitting pesky worrying thoughts. If you are looking dignified, calm and relaxed, this can help to stop the worries from creeping into your thoughts. In addition to assuming a dignified posture, focusing on your breath can help to achieve contentment and therefore help you to arrive at your haven.

I found the mindfulness of breath meditation relaxing and focusing on my breathing definitely helps to stop my mind wandering. For me, the mindful walking exercise was similar to the body scan but on the move! Although we were walking on the spot, it was interesting to notice how I walk and it reminded me that I need to use a foam roller to alleviate my tight calves! The three stage breathing space is so called because the approach can be likened to an hourglass with a wide top, narrow middle and wide base. This meditation starts by asking yourself an open question of what exactly is going in your life at the moment. Next we narrowed our focus to concentrate on our breathing before expanding our awareness to our body posture and facial expression.

Mike ended the session with an interesting piece of writing by Portia Nelson called, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery which I would recommend reading. I’m aiming to watch out for those holes and breathe my way to my haven.

 

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