Introduction to Meditation & Guided Diaphragmatic Breathing

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David Zuniga:           Hi. My name is Dr. David Zuniga. I'm a Post Doctoral Fellow in Clinical Psychology in Austin, Texas. Thank you so much for watching this video. What we'll be doing today is a series of different guided meditations. We'll begin this first meditation with a little bit of a brief intro into what meditation is all about. When I think of meditation, I like to use the technical terms: who, what, where, when, and why. When I explain meditation, who can meditate? The truth is: anybody can meditate. In a sense, it's not anything special or fancy. You've probably meditated without even realizing it. What. What is meditation? There's lots of different kinds of meditation and sometimes people will even debate what do you think is the best kind of meditation. I believe the best kind of meditation is the one that works for you in the moment with whatever it is that's going on in your life. This first meditation that we'll be doing is kind of a mindfulness-based, stress-reduction meditation. It's basically a guided diaphragmatic breathing. We'll be doing deep belly breathing and I'll be guiding you through this practice. Who, what, where. Where can you meditate? The truth is, one of the many great things about meditation is that you can meditate anywhere. You can meditate in your car, in your backyard, at the park, on a couch, lying down. You can use meditation cushions or a yoga cushion, but you don't have to. Do what is skillful for you in the moment. Who, what, where, when. It's another great question in a sense that only you can answer. Find the right time of day for you to meditate. Some people like to start their day off with meditation. Some people like to do it in the middle of the day. Sometimes people like to do it in between appointments or right before something stressful, in the evening, see what fits in with the fabric of your life. Who, what, where, when, why. That's another great question. Sometimes people like to meditate because they're sad or they're lonely or they're anxious, or sometimes, we just want to meditate because we want to relax or we want to slow down or we want to cultivate qualities like equanimity or gratitude. The most important thing is not to put pressure on yourself with your meditation. Dr. George Sheehan once said that we're all an experiment of one. See your meditation as a practice, as an experiment. Try different things out and see what works best for you. Now what we'll be doing is what's called diaphragmatic breathing. This will be a guided meditation. I have a meditation chime that I'll be ringing and I'll be keeping track of the time. This won't be too long of a meditation, just a couple minutes. I will ring the meditation bell to begin and to end. Go ahead, before we begin, and get your body in a comfortable position. Notice your feet and your legs. Notice your hips. Get your hips in a comfortable position. Most people find it most comfortable if they have their spine straight and their neck straight. See what works best for you. Let your shoulders relax. Let your hands and your arms relax. Sometimes people like to close their eyes when they meditate and sometimes they like to keep them open, maybe just kind of falling a few feet in front of you and not getting distracted. Or you might like to look at something special: a picture or a candle or incense. Again, as with everything in meditation, have fun and see what works best for you. Now we're going to do some guided diaphragmatic breathing and I'll ring the meditation bell to begin and end our practice. Thank you so much for joining me. And we'll begin. As we begin this meditation, take a moment to relax and notice your breathing. Breathing in and breathing out. Breathing in and breathing out. Breathing at your own pace, at your own rhythm. Breathing at whatever pace works best for you. What we are doing is breathing in the present moment and not forcing yourself to breath in any particular way, but just breathing in whatever way feels most relaxed. Breathing in and breathing out and maybe noticing the gentle pause that naturally occurs between each breath as your body, in its own natural rhythm, waits for the next breath. Breathing in and breathing out. Seeing if you can allow yourself to gently relax. If thoughts or emotions or sounds distract you, that's okay. Distractions are a normal part of life. What we are doing is slowing down and paying attention in a gentle, compassionate way. As you are breathing, if your mind becomes distracted, just bring it back to your breathing. As you are meditating, see if you can allow this to be a nurturing time, a relaxed time, a time to give yourself some positive energy and attention. Breathing in and breathing out, remembering that by slowing down and taking some care of ourselves, we are better able to care for others. Breathing in, breathing out, letting any thoughts or emotions or distractions be like clouds in the sky. The clouds, the thoughts, come and go. We notice them and we let go of them. Breathing in, breathing out, sitting in a state of stillness and relaxation and slowly allowing ourselves to breathe deeper, in a more gentle way. Giving ourselves positive energy and attention and noticing the present moment for whatever it is. As we near the end of our meditation, congratulate yourself for giving yourself a little positive energy and attention. Remember that this state of stillness, this state of deep relaxation, is available to you anywhere at anytime, simply by paying attention to your breath. As we near the end of our meditation, you may want to shake out your hands, or gently shake out your feet, roll out your neck or your shoulders. When I ring the bell, we'll re-enter. Thank you so much for your meditation practice. If you find this helpful, please try the other meditation videos that we list here on the site and also if you're interested in more free resources on mindfulness or psychology or wellness, please feel free to visit my website, which is www.drdavidzuniga, all one word, www.drdavidzuniga.com. Thank you so much for your meditation. Be well.

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1 Jeff Smith = "Here is a brief bio of George Sheehan. Below is an excellent video of Sheehan speaking before the Boston Marathon some years ago. (It's excellent in content, but the video appears to have been digitized VHS.)"
2 David Zuniga PhD MDIV MA = "Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing. Dr. Sheehan was a legend. I think he really captured the spiritual, contemplative side of running. Peace, David"
3 Jeff Smith = "I had never heard of Dr. Sheehan before, but am glad you mentioned him in your video. After watching the video of him speaking I bought one of his books as a gift for my wife, who has really gotten into long-distance running. I was impressed by how he has such a down-to-earth delivery and yet he so easily references religion, philosophy and literature. My day was more enriched by your video, so thank you for sharing it here."
4 David Zuniga PhD MDIV MA = "Thanks for your kind words Jeff and all you do for Deily. Great to be in dialogue with you. Dr. Sheehan has written many great books. Glad you like the guided meditation video. I've used guided meditation a lot and many people really benefit from it. The only challenge of guided meditation is it has to be guided! And it can take a while for people to learn these techniques themselves. So I worked with a great documentary filmmaker (http://about.me/gil.garcia) to create these videos and wanted to share them with Deily-my favorite on-line community. Peace, David"
5 Cary W = "Meditation in a nutshell: "Breathing in and breathing out and maybe noticing the gentle pause that naturally occurs between each breath as your body, in its own natural rhythm, waits for the next breath. Breathing in and breathing out. Seeing if you can allow yourself to gently relax. If thoughts or emotions or sounds distract you, that's okay. Distractions are a normal part of life. What we are doing is slowing down and paying attention in a gentle, compassionate way. As you are breathing, if your mind becomes distracted, just bring it back to your breathing.""
6 Cary W = "The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind and body so that one can be more present in this moment of life in all its vibrancy.  The calmer and lower the level of energy, the more potent is your life force.  From this quiet, undisturbed or undistracted state, true prayer emerges and the entrance to heaven's gates opens to ones awareness."
7 Cary W = "The attitude of gentle, compassionate patience within oneself is the goal of silent breathing meditation.  As we offer ourselves such love, we are able to then extend it to our immediate environment, both internally (mind) as well as externally.  We nurture peace, then we extend and expand that peace to everything and everyone else."