Mindfulness Exercises

March 25, 2024 - 08:42 PM - 158 views
By: Sean Fargo - Founder, Mindfulness Exercises
Mindful breathing catalyzes physical alterations within our bodies, enhancing our overall well-being.

It not only significantly lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels—key indicators of stress—but also imbues practitioners with a profound sense of tranquility and resilience.

People who incorporate mindfulness breathing into their daily routine frequently experience diminished stress levels, bolstered resilience, and heightened self-regulation.

This practice isn't just for adults; it's equally beneficial for children, offering a foundation for emotional well-being from an early age.

Check out our 10 Top Mindful Breathing Techniques:

1. Three Mindful Breaths for Presence (meditation script)
Mindful breathing does not require long periods of sitting; in fact, we can benefit from committing wholeheartedly to short practices that enhance our ability to concentrate on one point. In this case, that single point is the breath. This meditation can be completed in just seven minutes, making it a great starting point for beginners or anyone who could use a mid-day reset.

2. Affectionate Breathing (audio meditation)
This affectionate breathing exercise by Kristin Neff weaves breath awareness with a practice of self-compassion and kindness. As we breathe, we consciously harness feelings of love and kindness for ourselves that will help to relax both body and mind. In this practice, we are guided to expand this sense of self-affection to encompass a sense of kindness for not only ourselves but for others as well.

3. Belly Breathing for Calm (mindfulness worksheet)
Breathing into the belly is a powerful way to activate the body’s innate relaxation response. As we breathe into the belly, the ‘rest and digest’ system comes online, mitigating the ‘fight or flight’ system’s dominance. We find ourselves in a more peaceful state of being. Use this worksheet to learn the practice so you can come back to it anytime you find the breath is shallow or the mind is racing.

4. Whole Body Breathing for Presence (meditation script)
This simple breathing meditation roots us in the body, and the present moment, by bringing our attention to breath as a sensation throughout the whole body. According to neuroscientist and meditation teacher Rick Hanson, when we sense the body as a whole, we activate areas of the brain that tend to support mindful presence. Follow the breath to discover a deep connection to the here and now.

5. Soft Belly Breathing for Calm (meditation script)
When the belly is soft, our breathing becomes fuller and longer. More oxygen is exchanged, and the vagus nerve is activated. This triggers a parasympathetic nervous system response which helps guide us out of fight, flight or freeze mode. In this meditation, we bring attention to the belly as we take slow, patient breaths. The process can help us feel more at ease.

6.
Anchor to Breath for Focus (meditation script)
Many of us struggle with a wandering mind, both in and out of meditation. Gently anchoring the mind to the breath can help hold steady the distractible mind. Any time we observe the mind has wandered from the anchor, breath, we simply return. Practice the technique or teach someone else with this meditation script.

7. Deep breathing for relaxation (meditation script)
Deep Breathing practices can influence the autonomic nervous system to help guide us to a deeper state of relaxation. This guided meditation script presents some of the benefits of deep breathing techniques, followed by a beginner-friendly 2-minute diaphragmatic breathing practice.

8. A Calming Exhale Breath (mindfulness worksheet)
Breathing through the nose, breathing deep into the belly, and taking more time to breathe out than to breathe in are three examples of calming mindful breathing techniques. In this mindfulness worksheet and guided meditation, we focus on breathing out versus in. Use it to teach someone how to find calm by gently extending the length of their exhale.

9. Breath Awareness for Sleep (meditation script)
In this guided meditation script, we come home to the body by following the breath inward. Here, we’re invited to rest the mind in a place of stillness and calm. By practicing mindfulness of the breath and a slow breathing technique, we encourage the mind to rest and the body to drift off to sleep.

10. Breathing to Release Stress (mindfulness worksheet)
This worksheet takes our mindfulness practice a step further by asking us to reflect deeply upon the presence of stress in the physical body. It helps us to clear stagnant energy and tension from the body, using the breath as a healing thread to bring about deep release. It incorporates an element of visualization, a powerful tool we can use to help heal the body and expand the mind.

I hope these mindful breathing practices support your presence and your mindfulness teachings!

With heartfelt gratitude,

Sean Fargo
- Founder, Mindfulness Exercises

- Former Buddhist Monk
- Instructor for the mindfulness program developed at Google
- Mindfulness Teacher for the E.P.A., Kaiser Permanente, Tesla, Facebook, Ernst & Young, Solano Prison, Spirit Rock Family Program, etc.

See also

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