The Winter 2018 edition of Tricycle Magazine has an interesting article titled “Meditations Off the Beaten Path” They detail four less common meditation practices that you may want to take for a walk and see if they are beneficial for you.
The first of these is a physical practice to learn to breath from the lower abdomen. In Japanese this is known as Hara. Ken Kushner, the author of this article talks about his struggles to learn deep breathing. His article includes a couple of exercises to practice deep breathing.
The one shared below is called deep inhalation exercise: “Remember that in order to be able to keep the expansion in the lower abdomen when exhaling, you first must be able to expand it when taking a deep inhalation.
- From a standing position, start by inhaling deeply. Inflate your abdomen and then your chest as much as possible.
- Exhale through the nose as much of the air as you can. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles as much as you can. Feel your navel move toward your spine.
- Without inhaling, continue to contract your abdominal muscles (navel to spins) as much as you can. Hold this tension for 5 seconds or until you feel you simply must take a breath in.
- Release the tension in your abdomen as quickly as possible, and allow a deep inhalation. Focus on the sensation of relaxation in your lower abdomen, and allow yourself to inhale through the nose once again. It should feel as though the relaxation effortlessly drives the inhalation. Feel your lower abdomen expand.
- Go back to your normal breathing rhythm. See if you can maintain the sense of relaxation in your lower abdomen as you breathe normally.
- Repeat 1 – 5.”
I have only recently begun using this technique; but I have a couple of observations. First, this method helps me learn to completely expand my lungs and exhale all the air in them. It seems like this should help with my COPD as this is similar to exercises my doctor recommended. Second, this practice will help strengthen the core. This is always good.