Autumnal leaves greeting us for The Weekly Meditation Atelier in Pézenas. The leaves are slowly shifting to reds, browns and yellows.
We began our practice with a breathing technique that can be added to our mindfulness tool kit, if practiced regularly it can be something we access when under stress to support us respond more wisely that we might. It works to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding. It basically undoes the work of sympathetic division after a stressful situation. The parasympathetic nervous system decreases respiration and heart rate and increases digestion.
Begin by drawing your attention to the breath, simply following the in breath and out breath.
Then move your focus to breathing in for 4 counts, holding for 2 counts, breathing out for 4 counts and holding for 2. Repeat for 2 minutes.
From here you are can extend this sequence to breathing in for 4, holding for the count of 2 and breathing out to the count of 5, holding for 2 and repeating.
You can rest with this rhythm or extend to breathing out for 6 counts, then 7, and then 8 if this is within your range.
Remember to listen to YOUR body, this is not a competition. The aim of this technique is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system using the outbreath, this is activated at 4 counts of the outbreath and staying at this count is absolutely ok.
This week we did a movement and sensory practice, unfortunately I don’t have a recording of this practice but you are welcome to try this practice in place of the session held today. We closed with a purple leaf Sheng puerh tea you can read more about here.
The meditation practice was closed with a poem about kindness.