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This is better than seeing me stretching.

This is better than seeing me stretching.

Beneficial Breathing Meditation.

A stretching demonstration in a shop window.

A stretching demonstration in a shop window.

After doing my morning exercises a mix of Pilates, Tai- Chi and yoga. I do not do this routine as regularly as I should. Why fight the inevitable. I try to be accepting of the prevailing circumstances. Balance and flexibility are not only a physical concern.

You will have to put up with me for this one.

You will have to put up with me for this one.

I usually finish off in the lotus position then meditate on the breath. Actually the whole exercise session is meditating on the breath as the breath is an important part of exercise. Expansion  and contraction, inhaling and exhaling in co-ordination with the movements. Relaxing into a stretch, using the breath helps further the range of movement.

A panting by Elioth Gruner Spring frost, to get over the last photo.

A panting by Elioth Gruner Spring frost, to get over the last photo.

Focusing on the breath for a few minutes settles me down. Breathing is the most basic and important thing in life, it simply is life. Sportsmen especially swimmers know the importance of coordinating the breath with actions. Speakers and performers know a few deep breaths calms the nerves before going on stage.

Ox herding sculpture, taken in a watt in Bangkok.

Ox herding sculpture, taken in a watt in Bangkok.

Concentrating on the breath is a perfect focus for meditation practice. When the mind is calmed by focusing on counting each breath, you can progress to other methods of meditation. There are many ways to practice breathing meditation.

One of the ox herding pictures on a temple in Korea.

One of the 10 ox herding pictures on a temple in Korea.

One may think, ‘one, inhaling with love’ and on the exhale, ‘out with hate.’ ‘Two in with good,’ then ‘out with bad, continuing in this way to six. Then repeat these steps. Using any positive word on the ins and a negative for out. You will find your mind wanders, when this happens do the same as you would if disturbed when reading a book.

Reading an E-book in a quiet place.

Reading an E-book in a quiet place.

We can develop our own method of meditation once the basic breath method is mastered. You will know  this when the invasive thoughts die-down. Like a radio tuned in properly there will be no static  or what is called the monkey-mind stops its monkey business. Like the ox in the ‘ten ox herding pictures’ the beast is trained it will no longer stray. The mind is still and concentration is not difficult.

This picture shows the trained ox will not stray.

This picture shows the trained ox will not stray.

Some days you are focused, other days are difficult the mind wanders and you lose count. Do not let this upset you just return to your chosen focus. If things are too disturbing it is like with reading a book, either put it away till later or move to where there is less distraction. When the mind is calm and under control. Advanced meditations can be practiced to further your understanding of the true nature of things. This is the ultimate goal of Buddhist meditation to reach a state of perfect understanding.

The monkey mind up to mischief.

The monkey mind up to mischief.

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