At Level I, you practiced lying on the bed, at night, to get sleep and on waking up, to tune your mind and body and get ready for the day.
In this Level II, you take ‘Focusing on breathing’ with you when you leave the bed and the bedroom. You don’t have to allot time for its practice throughout the day. When the daytime practice also becomes a habit, you will be calm and confident throughout the day. Your concentration at work and response to unwanted thoughts will dramatically improve.
These practices are not presented in any significant order. Practice each of them for a few days and see how you feel in mind and body. Following are suggestions, not rigid rules. Feel free to adapt them to suit your liking.
Home: Routine physical activities like walking, cooking, cleaning and gardening are great opportunities, as they occur throughout the day. Use any mode of your choice – the ‘counting mode’ or ‘feeling mode’ when brushing teeth, getting dressed, toasting the bread and doing the laundry (1).
Between activities: When we are busy doing something, the mind is focused on the task. It wanders very little. When we transition from one activity to the next, the mind has nothing to focus on and stressful thoughts rush into the mind. These mini or micro gaps between the activities are ideal for practicing one of the modes. Develop the habit of focusing on breathing even when the break is for a few seconds. Feeling one breath takes less than 5 seconds.
Walking: Whenever you walk, use the ‘counting mode’. When breathing in, feel the coolness inside nose. When breathing out, every time a foot touches the ground, match it with the number being counted. More at (5).
Waiting: We feel restless waiting for anything – waiting for breakfast, lunch or dinner while it is getting ready, webpage to load, standing in a line and sitting at the doctor or dentist’s office. These are great opportunities for mini meditations on breathing. Practice any mode without being noticed by others, like the ‘tip mode’ or ‘segment mode’ while keeping the hands in your lap. When your hands will be visible to others, you can practice the ‘counting mode’ or ‘feeling mode’.
Traveling in Car / Bus / Train/ Airplane: Practice any combination of modes to avoid boredom and relieve fatigue and stress. If the situation permits, take a nap using the segment mode. You will arrive at the destination refreshed, not exhausted.
Driving: Every stoppage or slowing down during driving need not trigger impatience or frustration. These inevitable situations are opportunities for relaxation. Suggestions are at (4).
Workplace: When you walk in the parking lot, hallway or work area, practice walking as described in this page. When you lose concentration, your mind wanders or any part of body feels tense or you feel stressed, take a 1- 2 minute ‘breathing break’ and practice one of the modes.
Pain: If the pain is acute, practice the ‘911 mode’ eight to ten times (2). Alternate 911 with other modes, till the pain eases. For relieving chronic pains, see (3).
Playing games: Practice any of the modes when waiting for your turn, feeling frustrated or angry at losing. Avoid the negative thoughts and quickly get back your focus on the game.
Exercise: While on the treadmill, practice any mode of your choice (1). When doing weights or resistance training, breathe out using the 911 mode during the strenuous movement. When bending and twisting, exhale slowly, till the lungs are emptied, matching it with the movement. Breathe in deeply, during the easier return movements. For quick and strenuous movements, exhale quickly with a ‘haa’.
Under stress: When angry, anxious, panicky or in pain, use the ‘911 mode’ till you feel some relief. Alternate it with other modes till the crisis eases (2).
After a few months of practicing in the daytime, your mind will develop the habit of automatically focusing on breathing whenever it is idle or stressed. You will experience remarkable relief from stress, opening a new chapter in your life.
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Parent page: Relaxation to Meditation