Welcome to Day 7
This group of three days in our 21 day journey, is about the impact of the way we breathe on us and our horses. Today’s meditation is designed to lighten our spirit, deepen our Quiet Mind and improve our breathing, by releasing something that is in the way of that all happening naturally and easily.
Breath the giver of life
I am surprised on reflection, to have uncovered so very many misconceptions in my journey both as a horse person and a holistic health practitioner and it turns out that breathing and our need for oxygen is another one of those misconceptions.
How hard can it be? We just breathe and bring oxygen into our system – right? It turns out that there is quite a bit more to it than that.
Oxygen is the giver of life – our cells use oxygen for muscle, brain and organ operation as well as for specific healing and that without enough oxygen, our ability to heal can become severely compromised. What I didn’t know is the importance of carbon dioxide as the vehicle that makes it possible for the oxygen to get around the body and be absorbed by our cells.
In the 1950s Konstantin Buteyko, a doctor in the Russian space program, discovered that overbreathing causes carbon dioxide levels in our bodies to fall, and that low carbon dioxide levels cause chronic illness – a wide range of chronic conditions including the inflammation that causes metabolism and weight problems, to asthma, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, migraine, depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia and skin and respiratory problems.
Overbreathing is basically caused by physical or emotional stress, by toxins in our environment, some foods and food chemicals, inactivity, over heating and even by copying the overbreathing of others. One way of identifying if we are overbreathing is if we are breathing through our mouth. Snoring is another indication of over-breathing.
Dr Buteyko also found that if carbon dioxide levels are restored to normal, the damage can be reversed and good health regained – brain function is improved with fogginess cleared, hormones can come back into balance, energy levels rise (I had a great almost instant example of that when I was out walking yesterday), metabolism can come back into balance and bodies can heal more like the way they are designed to.
We can improve our health by fixing stress – which we are doing some work on in this Quiet Mind program – by paying attention to the life energy in our food, improving our posture and getting happy movement into our bodies, eliminating as many toxins as we can from our life and environment. And we can increase the positive effect of all those things by breathing in a way that restores the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance.
The breathing that we have been doing in our meditations, is the right kind of breathing that restores healthy breathing function and oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in our bodies. And with just a bit more attention to that, we can increase the positive effects on our mind and bodies and take those positive effects out to our horses.
So… that’s what we’re going to be doing in this three day group of meditation and horse exercises. We’ll increase our focus on the breath as a path to a Quiet Mind and an improved sense of well being and set our intention to release whatever is getting in the way of this happening.
For anyone with a chronic health condition who wants to learn a bit more, Claire at Equine Breathing has some excellent articles for both horses and people and there are Buteyko breathing practitioners all over the world now.
Keys to Success
1. Deciding to be kind to ourselves today and every day is always a big key to success.
2. Just deciding to do something is a very powerful thing to do. Set your intention to increase your health and general well being by restoring a healthy oxygen/carbon dioxide balance and then…
3. During the meditation, use your soft, smiling ahhh… eyes that ALLOW whatever you need to know to float to the surface of your mind. I promise you there is ALWAYS a “feel good” feeling at the bottom of every insight, a sense of lightness of spirit. There is all kinds of support available, so contact me if you need to.
4. Trying too hard is the single biggest thing that gets in the way of many things, including a Quiet Mind. In my experience, we release the need for that over-try in layers over time, so just decide to notice any tension in your eyes that says you’re trying too hard today. Smile, sigh with your soft smiling ahhh… eyes and open yourself to the flow of the meditation.
5. Allowing the pause at the end of the outward breath. Don’t TRY and put the pause in there at the bottom of your outward breath – just notice how it ever so gently starts to appear and then later extends into a longer pause – all by itself.
6. Soaking up – taking the time to appreciate every step of progress you make in feeling a new level of feeling good and lightness of spirit is the way to anchor that into your new normal. Notice how feeling good feels, take the time in the meditation to really sink into feeling good – to allow your gentle attention to wander over your body and feel every bit of how good it feels. THAT is the way to re-program your brain and your muscle memory and create a life that is filled with those good feelings.
Meditation Day 7
As always, there’s a written version below.
(Having trouble playing the audio? Click here)
The mantra sung by Deva Premal and Miten in this meditation is the Gayatri Mantra, which is one of my favorites if I’m feeling overwhelmed or even if I just need a boost. It means “Let us worship the God of all things, who can so well guide our understanding, like an eye suspended in the vault of heaven”. Increase the volume if you want to chant along with Deva and Miten.
You may notice the mantra stretching your breath just a little, increasing the carbon dioxide in your system, which is why I chose it. Here are the words of the mantra for those who may like to join in And yeah I don’t speak that language either – intention is everything!
Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Written Version of our Day 7 Meditation
Today we’re going to find better breathing and a Quieter Mind by releasing a tension that’s in the way.
So… paying gentle attention to your outward breath.
And notice the way that the lower part of your ribs just squish the air out of your lungs. You’re not doing that on purpose, just smile with your eyes and notice how that happens naturally.
Notice how you feel just a tiny bit taller as you are paying attention to that outward breath, you’re kind of sinking deeper into the chair and yet at the same time, feeling just a tiny bit taller, just an impression of stretch, of tallness.
Don’t do this on purpose, just notice the way that it gently happens all by itself. Smiling ahhh eyes, feeling an ever so gentle stretch through your body as you get deeper into the chair.
As you gently pay attention to that outward breath, notice the little pause starting to come at the bottom of the breath where, for just a moment, you don’t need to breathe at all.
Notice the way the bottom of your ribs move to allow the inward breath to flow so easily and smoothly. Keeping your attention on the outward breath, noticing the little pause coming at the bottom of that outward breath – just happening, all by itself.
EVERYTHING about a Quiet Mind is about ALLOWING things to happen rather than trying to get them to happen – allowing the understanding to flow. So let’s decide to release something that is in the way of allowing your Quiet Mind to flow easily… whenever… you need it, so that you can feel into a new layer of your soft ahhh… eyes that smilingly ALLOW things to happen, as you pay gentle attention to your out breath.
You can do that right now – decide that you want to understand and release something that is in the way of allowing your Quiet Mind to flow easily.
Then allow your smiling ahhh… eyes and gentle awareness to wander around your body and allow whatever you’re feeling to flow.
Notice what your body feels like, how it feels more relaxed and yet more strong, feel for your heart beat if that feels good for you, notice any energy moving around your body, notice any feelings in your body, allow them all to flow gently.
Notice any thoughts or ideas or images that float across your mind as your eyes are softly smiling ahhh. Just allow everything to flow all the way to the gold of the understanding at the bottom of it.
Sit with the beautiful voice of Deva Premal for a few minutes – at the end of the music we’ll sit in silence for longer today, to allow more time for that understanding to flow and even more importantly, to allow time to soak up and appreciate how good you feel when that understanding flows.
Allowing your attention to be gently aware of everything that is happening inside your body, notice everything about your breath, feeling for your heartbeat if that feels good for you, noticing the movement of energy or any feelings – allowing the thoughts and ideas and images all to flow to the understanding about what will make your Quiet Mind and soft, allowing, ahhh eyes easier and deeper.
…Listen to the beautiful voice and music of Deva Premal and Miten…
Allow your attention to wander over your body and soak up and appreciate what it feels like to have those beautiful, soft, smiling ahhh… eyes that allow everything to flow whenever you are practicing a Quiet Mind.
So still paying gentle attention to that outward breath, feel down to your feet and how they feel on the floor or the ground, flex your toes and really wriggle your feet and feel the ground with them and take this appreciation and relaxation and Quieter Mind out into the rest of your day.
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Tomorrow we’ll expand and deepen the experience of your Quiet Mind by adding the power of your horse to your meditation – and mannn… that is a big one.