When we talk about the process of meditation and the benefits it brings associated, we have to think that there are many ways to get into those states of relaxation and expansion of consciousness and that the technique for get into this is almost as important as practice.
In any learning process about how to meditate, one of the first things we have to learn is to breathe properly. Breathing not only supplies us with oxygen, but also provides us with prana or chi, the vital energy that keeps our energy and physical systems running which are the “mortal” representation of the subtle energies that our soul receives from the universe. Breathing is the only function of the autonomic nervous system that can be controlled and regulated by consciousness, therefore it functions as a link between the psychic and physical dimension of the human being. It is a bridge of connection between mind and body.
The power of breathing
Deep breaths, consciously done, serve both to calm nerves before a presentation, an interview or chat in public. It put us into a state of relaxation and mental calm after a day of work. Take a deep breath, fill the lungs with air then release as much air as you can several times. It cleans our body of foul air that builds up and never comes out when we breathe superficially, and leaves us with a feeling of inner freshness that’s really nice. Doing all this while maintaining the focus on the breathing process causes to the mind to get busy in the present moment between inhalation and exhalation achieving, even for brief moments, the necessary peace of mind to enter into expanded states of consciousness. Thus, breathing and focusing on that breathing, whatever technique you choose, helps to control the processes of the body, to calm the mind, to enhance concentration, to focus the mind and of course, helps to relax.
Vagus nerve stimulation
To calm the mind quickly and help us to get into deeper states, we should start moving from a BETA brain activity state to an ALFA brain activity state, to do so, we have to work on the one who is known as the “vagus” nerve. The pneumogastric nerve, known as “vagus,” starts in the cranial box and descends through the neck and chest to the abdomen, is the nerve that confers sensitivity to the respiratory mucous membranes (pharynx, larynx, esophagus, trachea, lungs and bronchi), transmits the rhythm, strength and frequency of breathing. It is the vagus nerve that communicates the diaphragm with the brain, between psyche and soma or soma and psyche and transmits nervousness or calm, anger or calm.
When this nerve is stimulated, the effects of relaxation and mental tranquility occur more effectively and profoundly so then to be able to continue with meditation with the format or purpose that we have marked.
Breathing technique and vagus nerve stimulation
The breathing method I explain to stimulate and activate the vagus nerve is very simple. Inhaling through the nose, using abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing. When this type of breathing is performed deeply, air is carried to the lower part of the rib cage. Breathing should be done slowly and thoroughly making a proper use of the diaphragm. What we do is this: we will calmly inhale by mentally counting up to 4, keep the air in the lungs counting up to 6, and exhale it again counting up to 4, but when we exhale it, we will do as when we throw vaho into our sunglasses to clean them, I mean, slightly contracting the lips, so that when exhaling, the vagus nerve is stimulated.
This simple procedure regularly practiced, not only naturally establishes abdominal breathing but manages to stimulate the vagus nerve, allowing us to enjoy and reap the benefits of mental relaxation and meditation process let’s do next.