How the Brain Changes When You Meditate By Jennifer Wolkin By charting new pathways in the brain, mindfulness can change the banter inside our heads from chaotic to calm.  
Rise and Shine Yoga Routines
While you are asleep you are under the care of three energies: magnetic, electric and
pranic (life force). These energies should be adjusted to t
Praana- The Breath of Life
Breath is the place to start The first and last things we do in this physical lifetime are to take a breath. Along with oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, the br
- Breath of Life

Praana- The Breath of Life
Breath is the place to start

The first and last things we do in this physical lifetime are to take a breath. Along with oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, the breath contains prana, the life force. We are regularly taught we can't live without oxygen; it is also true we can't live without prana, the vital force that energizes the mind, body, and consciousness.

Principles to remember:

1. Your rate of breathing and your state of mind are inseparable.
2. The slower your rate of breathing, the more control you have over your mind.
3. The mind follows the breath, and the body follows the mind.
The breath is a fundamental tool for the Kundalini Yoga student. The average rate of breathing for most people is about sixteen times per minute. When the rate of breathing increases, or if it becomes rapid and irregular, the mind also becomes disturbed and erratic.

Try slowing down your breath, Long, deep breathing is a simple yet highly effective pranayam exercise. One cycle is one inhale, one exhale.

Breath Frequency-

8 cycles per minute:

Feel more relaxed.
Relief from stress and increased mental awareness.
Parasympathetic nervous system begins to be influenced.
Elevates healing processes.

4 cycles per minute:

Positive shifts in mental function.
Intense feelings of awareness, increased visual clarity, and heightened body sensitivity.
Pituitary and pineal glands begin to coordinate at an enhanced level, producing a meditative state.

1 cycle per minute:

Optimized cooperation between brain hemispheres.
Dramatic calming of anxiety, fear, and worry.
Openness to feeling one's presence and the presence of Spirit.
Develops intuition.
One Minute Breath

This is an extraordinary method of
controlling and transforming your mental state,
just with your breath!

Normally, we breathe 14 to 16 breaths per minute. And when we are in shock or fear, our breath either stops or the breaths per minute increase, while the breath becomes quite shallow. But as we consciously slow the breaths down and make them very deep, amazing changes for the better occur in our consciousness! "One Minute Breath" is a super exercise for making those changes happen!
How to do it:
Sit straight, tune in:
Close your eyes 9/10 while looking at the tip of your nose.
There is no mantra (repeated words or sounds embodying spiritual power.)
Inhale very slowly for 20 seconds.
Hold the breath in for 20 seconds.
Exhale very slowly for 20 seconds.

(You never hold the breath out.) Then with the next breath, you continue as above, and so on.
The time periods for the breath that are given above are the very optimum for this One Minute Breath exercise. Simply do the best that you can, approaching your limits without stressing yourself out. The object is to put yourself into free-flowing suspension--not to cause yourself panic and pain.
As you practice this over time, you will find that these time periods will increase. But try your best to keep each of these three phases equal, no matter what length of time works for you. But to feel guilty or worthless because it is too difficult to do these full 20 second phases is really counter-productive! So, relax and expand gracefully! You can start by watching a clock as you do this so that you get a sense of the timing.
Then become aware of the rhythm as you focus without using the clock.
Be sure to inhale first from your diaphragm, meaning your belly will move out first, causing that powerful horizontal muscle at the bottom of your fixed ribs--your diaphragm to move down. As it does this, the diaphragm pulls the bottom of the lungs down to expand the lungs. Then continue by fully filling the lungs up to the tops which are under your collar bones.
On the exhale, reverse the process by moving the belly in, causing the diaphragm to push up against the lungs, and then fully empty the lungs.
Make the breath continuous and even, trying not to let it be jerky.
Doing this One Minute Breath for the yogic time patterns of 3 minutes, 11 minutes or 31 minutes creates a great single or daily meditation. Or you can use it for any length of time--long or short--at any time, especially when you need inner guidance, or things get confusing or too emotional, or you just want some peace or stress relief!

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