TED

B.R.E.A.T.H.E: The Neuroscience of Breathing Techniques TED talk

This is an extra long TED talk by Neuroscientist Alan Watkins talking about how to “Be Brilliant Every Single Day”.

In the second half he talks about how breathing techniques work physiologically.  He mentions that there are 12 different ways that the breath can be adjusted, but only talked about the most important three:

  1. Rhythmically
  2. Smoothly
  3. Location of the focus during the breath (in the center of the chest)

To remember this, Dr Watkins uses the acronym B.R.E.A.T.H.E:

  • Breathe
  • Regularly
  • Through the
  • Heart
  • Everyday

He also shows a graph which describes two variances of experience, one being the Sympathetic (flight/fight) neurological pattern and the Parasympathetic (rest/digest) pattern.  His explanation about how where we are on that trajectory is less important than the Negative (cortisol driven) emotional system vs. the Positive (DHEA driven) emotional system trajectory was quite fascinating.

He explains that we can use breathing techniques to bring us to the center of the Negative/Positive Emotional system, but that to be optimal we need to be able to regulate our emotional state and stay in the positive.  This makes sense to me as a meditation instructor because the breathing techniques are so often used in conjunction with deeper emotionally based meditation techniques such as METTA meditation, Tonglen and other methods of training ourselves to emote love and peace.

Download a free Meditation Track from Unwind your Mind here.

Free Guided Meditation Tool | Care2 Healthy Living

 

by Becky Stripe

Have you been wanting to get into meditation but didn’t know where to start? There’s an app for that!

Former monk-turned-meditation-guru Andy Puddicombe wants everyone to learn the power of meditation, and his Headspace project is all about helping people learn how to meditate. His Headspace app for iPhone or Android is a powerful tool for anyone looking to learn the basics of meditation and start a regular practice.

If you’re not familiar with Puddicombe, check out his inspiring TED Talk about the power of taking 10 minutes to meditate each day. Or, as he calls it “doing nothing.”

I just started using the app recently, and I’m already loving it! The basic program is a series of ten ten-minute meditation practices, which you go through in order. Each day builds on the previous day’s practice. After that, there are a couple hundred other meditations that you can try in any order that you like, though the additional programs are not free.

Before you do your first meditation, he also walks you through a short series of videos to help you get in the right headspace for your practice. He emphasizes that meditation is a skill, and that you shouldn’t force it. One of the things I’m digging most about this program is that he frequently reminds you that it’s OK if your mind wanders and it’s OK to have conscious thoughts while you’re meditating. The key is noticing when that happens and observing those things without letting them effect you.

I also love the tone of the program. There is no new-agey music, creepy whispering narrator, or strange sound- or voice-effects. He just calmly walks you through each day’s exercise. If you prefer more of a new-age spin on meditation, this app might not be for you.

To give you an idea of what you can expect, check out Day 1 of the ten-part series on page 2!

via Free Guided Meditation Tool | Care2 Healthy Living.