This is a meditation for when times get tough. It’s for when your vibrations are low. For when you need comfort during the murky, challenging chapters of life’s journey.
Breathe and Release is a soothing balm for the heart and soul—and, in particular, it offers incredible healing for those who are facing addiction, grief, depression, and PTSD. The practice allows you to release blocked emotions in a safe and gentle manner. By tuning into two very simple tools—the body and the breath—you unlock your inner wisdom and move into greater levels of clarity, connectedness, and calm.
I recommend practicing this meditation if you’re feeling shocked by trauma, dealing with an overwhelming day, or if you’re feeling the urge to run to an outdated pattern (addiction). This is not necessarily a practice you will want to do every day (although it can be). Breathe and Release is a potent medicine to be taken as needed. You will know when you need it. It’s the ace up your sleeve when nothing else seems to work.
You will need a blanket or yoga mat to practice this meditation.
Roll out your mat or spread out your blanket evenly across the floor in your home. Ideally, choose your favorite room for practice: the one that you find the most inspiring or soothing.
Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. By setting up a brief window of time for your practice (rather than a larger one), you invite your subconscious mind to relax, which allows your emotions to more easily flow. If, during the course of the meditation, you spontaneously want to lengthen the time, that’s perfectly fine. However, each time that you begin, hold the intention that you will practice for no more than ten minutes.
Allow your body to find the most relaxing position on the blanket or mat. Each time you practice, the way your body wants to relax will be different. Perhaps sometimes you will sit, cross-legged or kneeling. Perhaps you will lay on your stomach. Perhaps you will stretch out on your back. Perhaps you will curl up into a fetal position. Or perhaps you will discover a yoga pose. Find the perfect posture for that moment.
During your meditation, you may move or shift as needed. Simply set the intention to stay upon your mat or blanket for 5-10 minutes. This is your safe and sacred space. Your welcoming cocoon.
Next, bring your attention to your heart chakra. (This is located at the center of your chest.) Be aware of this area. You may tap it with your fingertips or you may simply bring your curiosity, your loving attention to that area. Feel all of the physical sensations. Does your heart feel tight or relaxed? Hot or cold? Numb or tingling? Painful or tense?
Whenever it feels right to do so, begin to direct your inhale and your exhale to your heart chakra. If it helps, you can visualize that you have a second nose located here, which draws in the inhalation and expels the exhalation.
As you breathe and pay attention to your heart, allow any emotions that want to come forward. If there’s sadness, let there be sadness. If there’s tears, let there be tears. If there’s anger, let there be anger. Allow your blanket or mat to cradle you, as you bravely feel.
As you feel, breathe without any stories.
As you feel whatever is wanting to be felt, avoid the temptation to tell any stories about what you are feeling. Simply feel the emotions. In other words, do not try to intellectually understand or analyze what or why you’re feeling. All that’s needed is to simply feel. That’s all.
On some days, you may quickly feel a calm sense of relief wash over you. On other days, the experience may be more intense. Sometimes you may want to smash your fists against your blanket or growl and howl as you release many primal, raw emotions.
The key is: Don’t censor yourself! Don’t worry about what anyone else might think! Just let loose!
Whether the experience is subtle or intense, simply keep staying on your blanket/mat and keep breathing into your heart.
After 5-10 minutes, place your hands over your heart chakra and thank yourself for taking this sacred time for healing. Shake out your mat/blanket, visualizing that all the outdated (“negative”) energies are dispersing, flying out and far away from you. Continue on with the rest of your day.
Some Tips to keep in mind
Do your best to release any desire for specific results as you practice this meditation. Simply approach your Breathe and Release practice with an open mind. Stay curious. Be willing to let go of what you think “should” happen.
As mentioned, you occasionally may choose to spontaneously extend the duration. If you’re in the midst of a really good cry, for example, you may not want to abruptly stop when your timer buzzes. In my own personal practice, for example, most of the time I simply lay on my mat for ten minutes. But, on other days, I am there for as much as half an hour and end up taking a lovely nap! But, again, please remember this: Begin each meditation session with the intention that you will only practice for five to ten minutes.
Why is this so important? Well, giving yourself permission to do “just a short meditation” is the secret ingredient to disarming the ego, which is the aspect of your psyche that actually loves to suffer. By giving yourself permission to take a super-short meditation session, this relaxes the ego’s defenses and allows the emotions to flow. (Suffering is the result of blocked emotions.) The ego thinks to itself: “What could possibly happen in ten minutes? Probably not much.”
In this sense, we walk into our Breathe and Release meditation with no expectations—thus, paradoxically, we create the perfect environment for the deepest healing to occur.
Finally, it helps to share this meditation with others and create a support system. After practicing, you may want to share your experiences with like-minded friends or encourage others to practice this meditation if they’re struggling. Remember that community is essential for growth. Healing is a group effort! As we enjoy the supportive energies of fellow human beings on a similar spiritual path, we are reminded that we are never alone. We are reminded, through the loving support of others, that we are always protected and guided. This Universe is a pretty awesome place!