In an era defined by never ending digital alerts, tight deadlines and stressful environments, you may often not prioritize spending time with yourself, thinking you don't have the 'time' for it. But what if you have an app with yourself which can make you feel calm and relaxed with both meditation and breathwork so that you can perform better in your work. Continue reading this blog till the end to know about it.
But aren't they same? Focusing on the breath to keep yourself well aware of the present moment. Well, it's not that black and white. Let's understand the differences between the two practices and what you should opt for.
Meditation, in its essence, is not just about sitting silently with closed eyes, it's more than that. It's an intimate journey into the self that offers you a space to know yourself, to know who you are by connecting with their inner thoughts, feelings, and the vast universe of consciousness. If you are wondering how to do meditation, remember it’s about the experience rather than the method.
Purpose of meditation:
Meditation stems from the act of mindfulness—being fully present in the moment without judgement or reaction towards it. Sounds pretty easy and simple? Trust us, the implications are profound. Many new practitioners often ask, "How do I do meditation?" The answer, intriguingly, lies in not "doing" but "being." It's not about achieving a specific state but rather experiencing and embracing whatever arises during the meditation practice.
The core purpose of meditation can not be restricted to a particular thing. Why? From being more self aware to cultivating inner peace and rewiring your brain towards being in the present moment without being distracted by the thoughts of past or future, meditation serves as a bridge between our external realities and inner experiences.
Core principles underlying meditation techniques:
A lot of people are under the impression that meditation mainly involves focusing on the breath. But there are a myriad of meditation techniques—ranging from focused attention and mantra chanting to body scans and guided visualizations, each with its own set of characteristic principles. These principles include concentration, observation, acceptance, and a non-reactive take on the situation. Whether you are focusing on your breath or observing your thoughts, the main goal is to remain an impartial observer, neither being attached to nor resisting any experience.
The myriad benefits of meditation are now not just anecdotal but backed by a growing body of scientific research. Embracing this practice can lead to transformations that touch various aspects of our lives.
Regular meditation can lead to lowered blood pressure, improved sleep patterns, and even enhanced immune function. Meditation triggers the relaxation response triggered which can help in reducing inflammation and promoting overall well-being, including deep breathing benefits.
Emotional and psychological benefits:
On a mental plane, meditation has been linked with reduced levels of anxiety, enhanced mood, better emotional regulation, and increased feelings of compassion. It offers tools to deal with the tumultuous tides of our emotions, allowing for greater clarity and stability.
Psychologically, the practice helps you understand why you're feeling what you're feeling, helping break cycles of negative thinking. It gives you the ability to handle stress, navigate life's challenges in an easy way, and foster a sense of contentment and self-awareness.
For those who really want to experience the benefits of meditation and are eager enough to embark on this journey, the path might seem daunting at first, without a sense of direction. However, with the right meditation guide and persistence, it becomes an enriching experience.
Steps to start:
Advice for beginners:
Be patient with yourself. Like any other skill, meditation requires practice and consistency.
There's no one size fits all approach with regards to meditation. And so, there's no "right" or "wrong" way to meditate. What matters is your experience and the intention you bring to the practice.
Being a beginner, you might find it difficult to meditate on your own. That's where Level Supermind comes to the rescue to guide you with which meditation to begin with, the posture, benefits and the right time to do it, in your preferred language.
With a clear understanding, an appreciation for its benefits, and a guide to begin, meditation becomes accessible and achievable for anyone willing to explore its depths.
Breathing is a natural, breathing activity that you engage in every moment of your life. Yet, when channeled with intention and specific techniques, this simple act transforms into a potent tool for wellness known as breathwork.
At its core, breathwork refers to a set of breathing practices or relaxation exercises aimed at improving mental clarity, handling emotions better, or achieving specific therapeutic or spiritual goals. It is distinct from our natural, automatic breathing as it involves conscious control and modification of breath patterns.
Emphasizing the intentionality in breathwork practices:
What sets breathwork apart is the focused intention behind each inhale and exhale. This intention could range from healing emotional trauma to improving physical stamina or even changing your state of mind. When you focus your attention on the breath and control how you breathe, you can affect the part of your body that works automatically (like your heartbeat and digestion). This helps connect your thinking mind with your automatic body functions.
The world of breathwork offers a diverse palette of techniques, each with its unique rhythm, purpose, and benefits. Let's delve into some of the widely-practiced methods.
Deep breathing exercises
One of the most foundational techniques, deep breathing involves taking slow, full breaths into the diaphragm, expanding the belly rather than the chest. This method balances your nervous system, reduces stress, promotes relaxation and improves your body's natural defense system.
Pursed lip breathing
As the name suggests, this technique involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling slowly through pursed lips. Often recommended for individuals with respiratory issues, it helps ingetting more oxygen and improve the efficiency of their lungs.
Also known as square breathing, this technique involves four equal parts: inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and pausing before the next breath. Popularized by Navy SEALs for stress management, box breathing can improve focus, calm the mind, and help you manage stress in a better way.
The 478 breathing method
Pioneered by Dr. Andrew Weil, this technique entails inhaling for a count of 4, holding the breath for 7 counts, and exhaling for 8 counts. Regular practice can lead to reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and enhanced emotional balance.
Breathing exercises for anxiety
For those dealing with anxious thoughts, specific breathwork techniques, like diaphragmatic breathing or coherent breathing, can offer immediate relief by lowering levels of stress hormone, cortisol and activating the body's relaxation response.
Breathing inhale-exhale ratio and its relevance:
The ratio between inhale and exhale durations plays a crucial role in determining the effects of a breathwork technique. For instance, keeping the exhale lengthier as compared to the inhale can be particularly calming and grounding.
Breathwork is more than just a relaxation tool; it positively affects multiple layers of your being, even those that are not visible on the surface level.
Regular breathwork can lead to improved respiratory function, better oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange, enhanced cardiovascular health, and even improved digestive function.
Beyond the physical realm, intentional breathing can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can enhance concentration, promote better sleep, and aid in processing your emotions in a better way and releasing tension.
Understanding our breath's rhythm:
An average person takes about 12 to 20 breaths per minute, translating to 17,280 to 28,800 breaths in a day. This number can vary based on factors like age, fitness level, and emotional state. Recognizing the rhythm of our breath can be a starting point for many on their breathwork journey, offering insights into your current emotional and physical state.
Breathwork aids your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and not just that, it gives you spiritual depth which ultimately drives you towards your personal growth.
Breathwork and meditation are often used interchangeably or perceived in a similar manner. Why? It's because using breath as an anchor point is one of the most common techniques used in meditation. Additionally, by focusing on the breath, you can cultivate mindfulness, presence, and inner tranquility. To go beyond the realm, let's understand the basic differences between the two approaches:
Approach: In breathwork, the primary object is focusing on the breath which involves conscious control or manipulation of your breathing pattern using specific techniques like box breathing, 478 breathing, pursed lip breathing. Whereas meditation involves being mindfully aware and observing thoughts and feelings without judgement, often using breath as an anchor without any manipulation.
Benefits: The primary benefit offered through breathwork in reduced stress hormone levels (cortisol) in the body along with improved respiratory fucntion and lung efficiency. On the other hand, meditation provides a myriad of benefits from reducing stress, balancing your emotions, improving immunity to overall well being.
Breathing in meditation: Breath is often considered as the point of focus in meditation with the focus being on natural breath without actually controlling or manipulating it. Also, the inhale-exhale ratio isn't a central concern in meditation, unlike breathwork. Breathwork involves intentional modulation of breathing patterns.
Meditation can provide the mental clarity and focus required to engage deeply with breathwork. Conversely, breathwork can prepare the body and mind for meditation by inducing relaxation and internal balance. By integrating both practices, individuals can access a broader spectrum of well-being benefits.
While breathwork and meditation are profound tools for holistic health, the wellness landscape offers numerous other techniques to foster relaxation and mental balance. Techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, and autogenic training are all part of the broader spectrum of relaxation exercises.
Both meditation and breathwork have found their places in the wellness domain, offering pathways to internal harmony and well-being. While they may be different in their approaches, they share a common thread: the quest for self-awareness, energy balance, and holistic health. Recognizing their unique characteristics can help you tap on their benefits for your overall well being.
Both the practices meditation and breathwork help you reduce stress and anxiety and balance your emotions in a better way, so it becomes important to incorporate these practices into your daily routine.
Breathwork: With 4-0-6-0, 4-7-8, 4-2-4-0, box breathing and numerous other breathing exercises, you can decrease tension in your mind and body and be relaxed enough, allowing you to start your day in the morning, get back to work with a refreshed mind or enjoy restful sleep in just 2 minutes.
Meditation: Available in 7 different languages based on different techniques like mantras, chakra balancing, sound meditation, nature meditation, silent meditations and more, you can begin your meditation journey, tailored according to your preferences.